Subscapularis Muscle 101 Anatomy
& Exercises: The Rotator Cuff

Learn about the subscapularis muscle. Find out about its functional anatomy, the best exercises to train it and oh so much more.

This is one of four highly important muscles that make up the rotator cuff.

The rotator cuff, which contains four different and small back muscles, is a small and delicate structure that enables the upper arm to rotate and move in any and all directions...

...Specifically, the subscapularis is responsible inwardly rotating the shoulder and upper arm; and it also plays a key role in overall shoulder stability.

Located at the bottom of the page, there is a glossary of easy-to-understand definitions for the not-so-obvious terms within this lat muscle guide.

Click on the links in the table of contents (TOC) to instantly jump to a different section of the page.

Subscapularis Muscle Anatomy

Subscapularis Muscle


  • Origin
    • Subscapular Fossa of the Anterior Scapula
  • Insertion
    • Lesser Tubercle of the Proximal Anterior Humerus
  • Function
    • Internal Shoulder Rotation
    • Anterior Shoulder Stability
    • Posterior Shoulder Stability

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Subscapularis Muscle Exercises

Exercises. Below is a list of the exercises that most directly workout this rotator cuff muscle.

  • Cable Internal Shoulder Rotations (Seated or Standing)
  • Dumbbell Internal Shoulder Rotations (Lying)
  • Machine Internal Shoulder Rotations

Muscles that perform similar functions include the following:

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  • Anterior Shoulder Stability. Maintaining the secureness and balance of the front shoulder.
  • Internal Shoulder Rotation. Turning the upper arm toward the inside.
  • Posterior Shoulder Stability. Maintaining the secureness and balance of the rear shoulder.


  • Anterior. Front.
  • Humerus. Upper arm bone.
  • Lesser Tubercle.
  • Posterior. Back, or rear.
  • Proximal. Located closest to the origin.
  • Rotator Cuff. A complex shoulder structure comprised of muscles and tendons, which enables omnidirectional rotary movement (movement in all directions) via the ball-and-socket shoulder joint.
  • Scapula. Shoulder blade.
  • Subscapular Fossa. The concave surface on the front side of the scapula.

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