What are the different types of muscles

Muscles - functions, structure and diseases

How muscles work

Muscles are contractile organs. The term "contractile" refers to their ability to to be able to contract and relax again. Many muscles resemble a mouse when they are contracted. Her name can be traced back to this (Latin musculus = little mouse). This interplay of contraction and relaxation enables both consciously controlled movements as well as unconscious functions inside the body. This enables, among other things, movements of the skeleton or the running of internal body functions.

The entirety of the muscles is called the musculature. She lets herself in smooth musculature and striated muscles organize. The latter is further differentiated between the cardiac muscles and the skeletal muscles. Only the muscles of the skeleton can be controlled consciously.


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Many muscles resemble a mouse when they are contracted. Her name can be traced back to this: the Latin name for little mouse is muscle.

The following video shows how a muscle bundle is built up:


Triggers the contraction of a muscle Nerve impulses. These trigger a series of interactions between the filaments. As a result, the myosin and actin filaments slide into each other in the longitudinal direction, which shortens the respective sarcomeres and contracts the associated muscle fibers.

Different types of muscles

muscle fibers are also known as muscle fiber cells or myocytes. You make that cellular base unit the striated skeletal muscles and occur within a skeletal muscle in bundles 0.1 millimeter to 1 millimeter in diameter. Their length depends on the length of the muscle.

The smallest functional unit of the muscle fibers is formed by the Sarcomeres. These consist of myosin and actin fibers that are held together by the largest protein found in the human body (titin). In the middle of a sarcomere, the thick myosin fibers, which are arranged parallel to one another, predominate. Myosin is one of the Motor proteins and converts the chemical energy taken in with food into movements of the muscle. Actin is one of the Structural proteins and with its narrow filaments ensures elasticity and stability.

muscle fibers own as functional units Muscle fibrils (Myofibrils). These consist of several hundred sarcomeres, which are composed of myosin and actin filaments. At their ends, the sarcomeres are bounded by so-called Z-disks (intermediate disks) in which the thin filaments of actin converge.

In the middle of the sarcomere, however, they meet the thicker myosin filaments. This structure results in light bands with narrow actin filaments at the ends and darker bands with thick myosin filaments in the middle of the sarcomeres.

This scheme goes into greater detail from top to bottom. Above: skeletal muscle. Middle: muscle fascia. Below: muscle fiber with sarcomere

The muscle fibers of each muscle are common connected to the bones of the skeleton by tendons.

The largest group of muscles is formed by the striated skeletal muscles. A single skeletal muscle contains several meat fibers that are enclosed in an elastic fascia covering and attached to this via additional connective tissue. A meat fiber consists of up to twelve muscle fibers that make up a Fiber bundle and can be shifted against each other. This ensures that the muscle elastic and snug is.

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The main muscles

Chest muscles

The chest muscles consist of the large and small pectoral muscles. The pectoralis major (Pectoralis major muscle) supports arm movements in front of the body and is part of the auxiliary breathing muscles. The pectoralis minor (Pectoralis minor muscle) is completely covered by the pectoralis major. It enables movements of the shoulder.

Back muscles

The most important part of the back muscles are the local (autochthonous) back muscles (Erector spinae muscle). Your main task is to Straightening and stabilizing the spine.

It is supplemented by the "immigrated" (allochthonous) back muscles. These include the large back muscle (Latissimus dorsi muscle) and the trapezius muscle (Musculus trapezius), which cover the neck and upper back area and the lower back area, respectively. They give the respective regions stability and enable, among other things, movements of the Shoulders and arms.

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Abdominal muscles

The abdominal muscles can be pulled into anterior, lateral and posterior abdominal muscles organize. The straight abdominal muscle (Rectus abdominis muscle) belongs to the front abdominal muscles. It has three to four horizontal intermediate tendons, which can emerge as a "washboard" or so-called "six pack" when the abdominal muscles are well trained. Together with the rest of the abdominal muscles, it ensures one stable posture.

Shoulder muscles

The deltoid muscle (Deltoid muscle) is the largest shoulder muscle. He stabilizes and moves that Shoulder joint. Together with the other shoulder muscles, it enables the arms to rotate and supports the muscles of the back.

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This video clearly shows the different types of muscles (explanations in English)


Upper and forearm muscles

The arm muscles include a good twenty muscles, most of which are in the forearms. The most prominent representatives are with the biceps (Biceps brachii muscle) and Triceps (Triceps brachii muscle) but found in the upper arm. The two antagonists make that possible Bend and stretch the poor.

Upper and lower leg muscles

The one in particular stings under the thigh muscles Quadriceps (Quadriceps femoris muscle). It covers almost the entire front of the thigh. That is part of his job Stretching and stabilizing the knees.

The lower leg muscles can be divided into the anterior and posterior muscles, which consist of extensors and flexors.

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The human muscles

Illnesses and injuries

Muscle wasting (muscle atrophy)

Muscle wasting, also known as muscular atrophy or muscular dystrophy, can occur, for example, as a result of inactivity or neurological diseases. If the body does not move enough, the muscles are under-challenged reduced. This can happen after a hospital stay or it can be a side effect of an inactive lifestyle, for example in the elderly. Another Build up through training is then possible and the muscles respond again to the training stimuli. Muscle wasting as an independent neuromuscular disease, on the other hand, requires an individual therapy concept.

Muscle pain (myalgia)

Muscle pain can come in many different forms and with various causes occur. A relatively simple phenomenon of muscle pain is that aching(from Greek Katarrh -literally: to flow down; This means inflammation) after exercise or unusual stress. Tiny cracks, so-called Micro ruptures, are small tissue damage that follows strong training stimuli. The muscle in this case was doing its job Overwhelmed and reacts with Accumulation of water in the tissue. Sore muscles is an inflammatory process that starts about a day after the stress stimulus and thus causes pain. With a little regeneration, the muscle can repair and build itself up. The sore muscles will subside after a few days. It is important to have a suitable supply of nutrients, especially protein and minerals, as well as warmth that promotes blood circulation.

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Myalgias can also occur with infections, flu and colds, or tick bites. Fibromyalgia describes the previously incurable and chronic fiber muscle pain. If the myalgia occurs as a symptom of another underlying disease or if they are pressure-sensitive Trigger points before, these causes are treated to counter the muscle pain. The video shows the principle of trigger point massage:



Muscle strain, ruptured muscle fiber and ruptured muscle

Injuries that lead to muscle strain or rupture of the muscle fiber or the entire muscle when subjected to heavy loads. The Muscle damage increases in this order and can occur especially in sports with high loads, such as sudden changes of direction or turns. Also insufficient warm-up before training increases the risk of muscle injury. Therefore, muscles and joints should be warmed up and prepared for training before any sporting activity. A simple basic program is the circling, turning, bending and stretching of the joints according to their natural range of motion as well as easy walking. The sportswear should also be adapted to the outside temperature in order to avoid hypothermia.

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Muscle twitching (myoclonia)

Muscle twitches that appear as Concomitant symptom of neurological diseases, but also temporarily, for example under stress. Among other things, they can affect the extremities and facial expressions - it is often the eyelid that affects the person concerned with a slight twitch. This type of myoclonus is inherently harmless. If the twitching is more pronounced and other symptoms occur, these should be discussed with a doctor in order to rule out an underlying neurological disease.