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There are over 630 muscles in your body!

Here are seven of them:

Masseter

The masseter runs from the temporal bone (that forms part of the sides and base of the skull) to the lower jaw (the mandible). It lifts the lower jaw, to close the mouth. The masseter is the strongest muscle in your body.

Temporalis

The temporalis begins on two bones of the skull, at the front (the frontal) and at the side and base (the temporal). It runs to the top of the lower jaw (the mandible). Like the masseter, the temporalis helps close the mouth.

Biceps brachii

The biceps brachii runs from the shoulder to the elbow. It is attached to the shoulder blade (the scapula), and extends along the front surface of the upper arm bone (the humerus). When the bicep contracts, the arm bends at the elbow. Notice that humerus sounds like humour – we call this area of the elbow the funny bone.

Nature of science

People who dissect animals (including humans) are called anatomista. For centuries, muscles have been given Latin names. The community of anatomists (scientists) all over the world all use Latin names when they are describing muscles.

Deltoid

The deltoids are the triangular muscles of the shoulder. The strongest point is the central section, which raises the arm sideways. The front and back parts of the muscle twist the arm. Deltoid comes from the Greek word deltoeides, meaning shaped like a (river) delta, which is triangular.

Pectoralis major

(The pecs!) The pectoralis major is a large, fan-shaped muscle. It covers much of the front upper chest, beginning at the breastbone (or sternum) including the second to the sixth ribs.

From there, the pectoralis major attaches to the collar bone (or clavicle) and converges on the upper arm bone (or humerus), just below the shoulder. This muscle moves the arm across the body.

Adductor Longus

The adductor longus is located on the inner thigh. Adduct means move, so this muscle allows the thigh bone (the femur) to move inward and to the side.

Soleus

Located in the lower leg, the soleus runs from the lower leg bones (the tibia and fibula) to the heel (the calcaneus). The soleus muscle flexes the foot by moving the foot at the ankle. It also helps circulation by pumping blood back up towards the head.

Useful links

Try your skill at placing muscles on the human body in this interactive from the BBC.

Explore the muscles of the body in this interactive diagram.

    Published 21 June 2007 Referencing Hub articles