At the end ranges of motion, the glenohumeral capsule limits translation of the humeral head in multiple directions. Since the 6-degree of freedom kinematics of clinical tests are commonly utilized to diagnose shoulder injuries, the objective of this study was to determine the magnitude and repeatability of glenohumeral joint kinematics during a simulated simple anteroposterior translation test in the anterior and posterior directions. A magnetic tracking system was used to determine the kinematics of the humerus with respect to the scapula in eight cadaveric shoulders. At 60 degrees of glenohumeral abduction and 0 degrees of flexion/extension, a clinician applied anterior and posterior loads to the humerus at 0 degrees, 30 degrees, and 60 degrees of external rotation until a manual maximum (simulating a simple translation test) was achieved. Prior to each test, the reference position of the humerus shifted posteriorly 1.8+/-2.0 and 4.1+/-3.8 mm at 30 degrees and 60 degrees of external rotation, respectively. Anterior translation decreased significantly (p < 0.05) from 18.2+/-5.3 mm at 0 degrees of external rotation to 15.5+/-5.1 and 9.9+/-5.5 mm at 30 degrees and 60 degrees, respectively. However, no significant differences were detected between the posterior translations of 13.4+/-6.4, 17.1+/-5.0, and 15.8+/-6.0 mm at 0 degrees, 30 degrees, and 60 degrees of external rotation, respectively. Coupled translations (perpendicular to the direction of loading) at 0 degrees (6.1+/-4.0 and 3.8+/-2.9 mm), 30 degrees (4.7+/-2.7 and 5.9+/-3.1 mm), and 60 degrees (2.3+/-2.3 and 5.0+/-3.5 mm) of external rotation were in the inferior direction in both the anterior and posterior directions, respectively. Based on the data obtained, performing a simulated simple translation test should result in coupled inferior translations and anterior translations that are a function of external rotation. The low standard deviations demonstrate that the observed translations should be repeatable. Furthermore, capsular stretching or injury to the anterior-inferior region of the capsule should be detectable during clinical examination if excessive coupled translations exist or no posterior shift of the reference position with external rotation is noted.