We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

In Fitness, what is a Prime Mover?

By D. Messmer
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A prime mover is the muscle or muscle group that is most responsible for a particular motion of a joint. For some joints, there are only a pair of prime mover muscles, but others can have multiple prime movers, depending on the motion. In fitness, this is an important concept because, when performing an exercise, it is important to know the prime mover muscle of that exercise, because it will be the one getting the most intense workout.

Joints that involve rotation tend to have a higher number of prime mover muscles than those with fewer forms of articulation. For instance, in the knee, which bends only in a single direction, there are two prime movers. The quadriceps is the prime mover of knee extension, and the hamstring is responsible for knee flexion. Exercises whose motion depends primarily on the bending of the knee, then, will use one of these two muscle groups as its primary mover muscle group. That muscle group will therefore receive the greatest benefit from these exercise.

The shoulder joint is an example of a joint that has a lot more prime mover muscles than the knee, because the shoulder can rotate in so many different directions. Depending on the motion of the shoulder, the primary mover might be the deltoids, the latissimus dorsi, the pectorals or the teres minor. Also, because of the relative complexity of the shoulder joint, different motions might have the same prime mover. The deltoids, for instance, are the primary mover muscles of both shoulder abduction and shoulder flexion.

This has ramifications for weightlifting and fitness because it affects the number of ways that an athlete can work out a specific muscle. If an athlete wants to strengthen the muscles that move the knee, he or she needs to target only two muscle groups. However, if an athlete wants to improve the strength of his shoulders, he or she will have to perform a variety of exercises in order to individually target each relevant muscle group. For this reason, athletes often will use compound exercises to work out more complex joints, because these types of exercises can target several muscle groups at once.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.