General Anatomy of Skeletal Muscles

Most skeletal muscles are attached to a different bone at each end, so either the muscle or its tendon spans at least one joint. When the muscle contracts, it moves one bone relative to the other. The muscle attachment at the relatively stationary end is called its origin, or head. Its attachment at the more mobile end is called its insertion. Many muscles are narrow at the origin and insertion and have a thicker middle region called the belly (fig. 10.2).

The strength of a muscle and the direction in which it pulls are determined partly by the orientation of its fascicles, illustrating the complementarity of form and function. Differences in fascicle orientation are the basis for classifying muscles into five types (fig. 10.3):

1. Fusiform8 muscles are thick in the middle and tapered at each end. Their contractions are moderately strong. The biceps brachii of the arm and gastrocnemius of the calf are examples of this type.

7 retinae = retainer, bracelet + cul = little sfusi = spindle + form = shape

  1. Parallel muscles are long, straplike muscles of uniform width and parallel fascicles. They can span a great distance and shorten more than other muscle types, but they are weaker than fusiform muscles. Examples include the rectus abdominis of the abdomen, sartorius of the thigh, and zygomaticus major of the face.
  2. Convergent muscles are fan-shaped—broad at the origin and converging toward a narrower insertion. These muscles are relatively strong because all of their fascicles exert their tension on a relatively small insertion. The pectoralis major in the chest is a muscle of this type.
  3. Pennate9 muscles are feather-shaped. Their fascicles insert obliquely on a tendon that runs the length of the muscle, like the shaft of a feather. There are three types of pennate muscles: unipennate, in which all fascicles approach the tendon from one side (for example, the palmar interosseous muscles of the hand and semimembranosus of the thigh); bipennate, in which fascicles approach the tendon from both sides (for example, the rectus femoris of the thigh); and multipennate, shaped like a bunch of feathers with their quills converging on a single point (for example, the deltoid of the shoulder).
  4. Circular muscles (sphincters) form rings around body openings. These include the orbicularis oris of the lips and orbicularis oculi of the eyelids.

7 retinae = retainer, bracelet + cul = little sfusi = spindle + form = shape

Antagonist Muscles Pairs

Figure 10.2 Synergistic and Antagonistic Muscle Pairs. The biceps brachii and brachialis muscles are synergists in elbow flexion. The triceps brachii is an antagonist of those two muscles and is the prime mover in elbow extension.

Figure 10.2 Synergistic and Antagonistic Muscle Pairs. The biceps brachii and brachialis muscles are synergists in elbow flexion. The triceps brachii is an antagonist of those two muscles and is the prime mover in elbow extension.

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