Muscular System

Types of Muscle Tissue:

  1. Skeletal – moves bones, contract by will.  Striated or striped in appearance- voluntary

  2. Visceral – not consciously controlled, smooth muscle – involuntary

  3. Cardiac- involuntary unique to the heart, ability to contract continuously

Naming Skeletal Muscles

Master Muscle List for Massage Therapists

Anatomy of Muscles

  1. Bundles of Fibers

  2. Nerve and Blood Supply

  3. Muscle Attachments – Tendon – attaches muscle to bone.  Aponeurosis – broad attachment attaches muscles to bones or other muscles. Fascia – broad sheets of connective tissue that holds muscles together



  1.  Contractility – the ability of tissue to shorten and thicken; also the ability of the tissue to do the work

  2. Extensibility – the ability of the tissue to be stretched

  3. Elasticity – the ability of the tissue to return to its original shape after being shortened or stretched

  4. Irritability –  excitability capacity to respond to stimulus

  5. Excitability/Conductivity – ability of tissue to receive and respond to stimuli; spreads transmission over surface in response to nerve impluse which allows whole unit to contract

Function of Muscle Tissue:

  1. Form the shape of the body.  In neutral or contracted state, the muscles form our exterior shape

  2. Generate Heat – As muscles contract, they generate heat

  3. Initiate movement

  4. maintain posture – imbalances in the posture occur when there is unbalanced muscle contraction

Muscle Contraction:

  1.  Stimulus – anything that causes a muscle to contract

  2. All or None principle

  3. Fatigue – lactic acid, oxygen debt

  4. Muscle tone – muscles ability to stay partially contracted


  1.    Movement – origin – less movable; fixed attachment. Insertion – attachment to part of the body that muscle pulls into action.

  2. Prime Mover- main muscle that accomplishes movement
    Synergist – helpers to prime movers
    Antagonist – produce opposing movement
    Fixator – Fix a point of body so other muscles can move agains Point.

  3. Terminology

  4. Joint Movements

  5. Exercise

Disorders of Muscles

  1.  Strain – detachment of muscle from bone or tearing
    Sprain – ligament injuries, blood vessels and nerves involved

  2. Atrophy – wasting or decrease of muscle

  3. Myalgia – muscle pain
    Myosytis – inflammation of muscle tissue – loss of function
    Fibrositis -inflammation of connective tissues of muscles and joints
    Bursitis – inflammation of fluid filled sac that minimizes friction between tissues and bone

  4. Muscular Dystrophy

  5. Myesthena Gravis – fatigue of muscles

  6. Fibromyalgia