There space over 600 muscles in the human being body. Discovering the muscular device often entails memorizing details around each muscle, prefer where a muscle attaches come bones and how a muscle helps relocate a joint. In textbooks and lectures this details about muscles are explained using specialized vocabulary the is hard to understand. Right here is one example: The triceps brachii has actually three bellies through varying beginnings (scapula and also humerus) and one insertion (ulna). That is a prime mover the elbow extension. The anconeus acts as a synergist in elbow extension.

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What go all that textbook slang mean? The triceps brachii has 4 places whereby it attaches to the scapula, humerus, and also ulna. This muscle plays a huge role (that’s what prime mover means) in prolonging the elbow joint from a bent to a straight position.

Keep reading to discover what all the other muscle slang means!

1. Muscles attach to Bones at Locations called Origins and Insertions


A skeleton muscle attaches to bone (or sometimes other muscles or tissues) at two or much more places. If the location is a bone that remains immobile because that an action, the attachments is referred to as an origin. If the place is ~ above the bone that moves throughout the action, the attachment is dubbed an insertion. The triceps brachii wake up to have 4 points of attachment: one insertion on the ulna and also three origins (two ~ above the humerus and one top top the scapula).

2. Muscles Act ~ above Synovial Joints to move the Body

The muscles surrounding synovial joints room responsible for relocating the human body in space. This muscle action are regularly paired, favor flexion and also extension or abduction and also adduction. Below the common terms are listed and defined, v animations to assist you photo the muscles and joints in motion.

Flexion and also extension room usually movements forward and backward from the body, such together nodding the head.

Flexion: decreasing the angle between two bones (bending).

Extension: increasing the angle in between two skeleton (straightening a bend).

The triceps brachii and anconeus space muscles that extend the elbow. The biceps brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis flex the elbow.


Abduction and also adduction are usually side-to-side movements, together as relocating the arm laterally as soon as doing jumping jacks.

Abduction: relocating away from the body’s midline.

Adduction: moving toward the body’s midline.

The gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, tensor fasciae latae, and sartorius room muscles the abduct the hip. The pectineus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, and gracilis adduct the hip.


Pronation and also supination

Describing the rotation the the forearm back and forth needs special terms. Spread out your fingers out and also look at the palms of your hands and the fingers and also then turn your palms come look at your nails. Currently look at your palms again. That’s forearm supination and pronation.

Pronation: rotating the forearm therefore the palm is facing backward or down.

Supination: rotating the forearm so the palm is facing forward or up.


Elevation and also depression space up-and-down movements, such as chewing or shrugging her shoulders. Once you move the mandible down to open the mouth, it is mandible depression. Relocate the mandible earlier up, it is mandible elevation.

Elevation: moving a body part up.

Depression: moving a body component down.


Protraction and also retraction

By relocating your jaw earlier and forth in a jutting motion, you are protracting and also retracting her mandible.

Protraction: moving a bone forward without transforming the angle.

Retraction: moving a bone behind without an altering the angle.


Inversion and also eversion

You invert your foot once you turn it inward to watch what is grounding under her shoe. You evert her foot to placed the single of your shoe ago on the floor.

Inversion: transforming the sole of the foot inward.

Eversion: turning the single of the foot outward.

Dorsiflexion and also plantar flexion friend dorsiflex your feet come walk on your heels, and also plantar flex them come tiptoe.

Dorsiflexion: bringing your foot upward towards your shin.

Plantar flexion: depressing her foot.

3. Muscle Actions have actually Prime Movers, Synergists, Stabilizers, and Antagonists


While countless muscles may be associated in any given action, muscle duty terminology allows you to easily understand the various roles different muscles beat in each movement.

Prime movers and also antagonist

The prime mover, sometimes called the agonist, is the muscle that provides the primary pressure driving the action. An antagonist muscle is in opposition come a element mover in that it gives some resistance and/or reverses a given movement. Prime movers and also antagonists are frequently paired increase on opposite sides of a joint, v their prime mover/antagonist roles reversing as the movement transforms direction.

Synergists. One or much more synergists space often involved in an action. Synergists room muscles that assist the element mover in that is role.

Stabilizers. Stabilizers plot to store bones immobile when needed. Your ago muscles, for example, space stabilizers when they are maintaining your posture sturdy.

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External Sources

Muscle Premium by visible Body offers a comprehensive reference that musculoskeletal structures and also function, plus typical injuries and also conditions.

Types the Muscle Contractions. This presentation explains in more detail 3 means that skeleton muscles generate force. University of California, san Diego: national Skeletal Muscle research Center. Http://

This table, from a food at Marquette University concentrated on rehabilitation engineering, includes descriptions of simple movements and also explanations of key muscle biomechanics and also movement terminology. Biomechanics & motion Science. Jack M. Winters, Ph.D, Marquette Univeristy. Http://