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Muscular system

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Identify the three types of muscle and its locations.
  2. Name the four major groups of skeletal muscles based on body regions.
  3. Discover the main skeletal muscles for each body region.

Watch videos

The muscular system encompasses all the muscles of the body. It makes up about 40% of total body weight and serves many functions such as mobility, thermogenesis and digestion. Based on which type of muscle tissue they contain, muscles are classified into three types:

  • Skeletal muscle, together with bones comprise the musculoskeletal system that provides voluntary movement.
  • Cardiac muscle, that composes the muscular layer (myocardium) of the heart.
  • Smooth muscle, that composes the muscular layer of blood vessels and hollow organs.

Muscle types are further grouped based on their histological appearance, in which skeletal and cardiac muscle are grouped as striated, and smooth muscle as non-striated. Find out more about each muscle type, their features, location and function by watching the video below.

If you’re curious and want to know more about how muscles are named, watch the following video; it will help you to easier identify and memorize all the 600+ muscles in the body.

To improve your understanding of muscular system terminology, take a closer look at some commonly used roots, prefixes and suffixes related to the muscular system in the video below.

Take a quiz

After watching the video, you should have gained some basic knowledge about the muscular system. Put that knowledge to the test with our quiz about the muscular system below!

To challenge yourself further, customize your own quiz on a broader array of topics.

Download the following PDF worksheets and learn the main muscles of the upper and lower limbs.


Browse atlas

Now it's time to take a closer look at the main muscle subgroups of the body by browsing our atlas gallery below.

Here you can look at some of the most notable individual muscles of the body.


Key points about the muscular system
Types of muscles and their location Skeletal muscle: All muscles attached to the skeleton
Smooth muscle:
 Muscular layer of blood vessels, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, reproductive tract, respiratory tract, arrector pili muscle of hair, ciliary muscle, and sphincter pupillae muscle of iris
Cardiac muscle:
 Muscular layer of heart (myocardium)
Main skeletal muscles of the body Muscles of the head and neck: Orbicularis oculi, orbicularis oris, masseter, sternocleidomastoid and platysma muscle
Muscles of the trunk:
Pectoralis major, intercostal muscles, serratus anterior, rectus abdominis, trapezius, erector spinae, latissimus dorsi muscles
Muscles of the upper limb:
 Deltoid, biceps brachii, triceps brachii, brachioradialis, flexor digitorum superficialis, extensor digitorum and dorsal interossei muscles of hand
Muscles of the lower limb:
 Gluteus maximus, tensor fasciae latae, quadriceps femoris, biceps femoris, adductor magnus, tibialis anterior, extensor digitorum longus, triceps surae, dorsal interossei muscles of foot

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