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Types of body movements: want to learn more about it?

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Types of body movements

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will learn how to:

  1. Name the main bones of the human body.
  2. Identify the two major subdivisions of the skeleton.
  3. Describe the five main classifications of types of bones, based on bone shape.
  4. List the main functions of the skeletal system.

Watch video

Our musculoskeletal system functions to propel our bodies within space and allows us to interact with the world around us. These movements occur at our synovial joints, as a result of muscles acting on our skeleton. Specific terms are given to each movement to help clearly communicate the way in which a joint is moving.

Watch the following video to learn about the various types of movements occurring in the human body.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the video on body movement check your knowledge by taking the following quiz.

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Browse atlas


Key points about types of body movements
Terminology of movements
Flexion / extension
Lateral (external) rotation / internal (medial) rotation
Abduction / adduction
Pronation / supination
Elevation / depression
Protraction / retraction
Plantarflexion / dorsiflexion
Eversion / inversion
Opposition / reposition
Lateral flexion
Movement at the major joints Shoulder: Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, external rotation, circumduction
 Flexion, extension
Proximal radioulnar joint:
 Pronation, supination
 Flexion, extension, adduction, abduction
 Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal rotation, external rotation, circumduction
 Flexion, extension (small degree of internal / external rotation when knee is flexed)
 Dorsiflexion, plantarflexion
Subtalar joint:
 Inversion, eversion
 Flexion, extension, rotation, lateral flexion, rotation (greatest at the atlantoaxial joint)
: Elevation, depression, protraction, retraction
Scapula: Protraction, retraction, elevation, depression, upward rotation, downward rotation

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Continue your learning

Now that you have a good understanding of the movements of the human body, it's time to take a look at some of the joints which facilitate these movements!

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