Physical therapists need objective measures that can be used reliably with a variety of subject groups to document upper quadrant function. Two aspects of upper quadrant motion, shoulder protraction and thoracolumbar rotation, are assessed routinely in clinical practice, but no standard measurement techniques have been reported. We hypothesized that there would be significant differences, by age and state of health, for both shoulder protraction and thoracolumbar rotation. The purposes of this study were: 1) to develop measurement approaches for shoulder protraction and thoracolumbar rotation; 2) to determine if there are significant differences in these motions for four subject groups: healthy young, healthy elders, functionally limited elders, and people with Parkinson's disease; and 3) to describe between-rater and within-rater reliability for these measures. Fifty-five subjects participated in this investigation. All subjects were rated by a physical therapist and two research assistants. Using an analysis of variance followed by Scheffe's post hoc analysis, significant differences were demonstrated between the groups. Between-rater and within-rater reliability ranged from ICCs of 0.54 to 0.95. Clinicians can use these measures to quantify aspects of upper quadrant function treated routinely in physical therapy practice. These measures also have applicability for researchers.