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Major Surface Muscles in the Body - Essay Sample

2 pages
473 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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Surface muscles refer to the muscles that are visible on an individuals superficial layer. Muscles are responsible for body movements and each creates a particular movement around a joint. Understanding the origin, insertion and intended action as well as an exercise or movement that utilizes a given muscle is important. As such, the major surface muscles in the body are as follows:

Muscles in The Chest Region, Shoulder and Back

Erector spinae: The back, Erector spinae, comprises three muscle sets namely spinalis, iliocostalis and longissimus. It has its origin in the lower four thoracic vertebrae and its insertion on the upper cervical vertebrae. The Erector spinaes intended action is vertebrae column extension. Some of the exercises that utilize the Erector spinae include side bends, squats and lat pull downs.

Latissimus dorsi: The origin of the shoulder, Latissimus dorsi, muscle is the lumber vertebrae, thoracic, the upper part of the pelvis area and sacrum while its insertion is in the upper part of the humerus (Netter, 2015). Its intended action is extension, medial rotation of the arm and adduction. Movements that utilize this muscle include lat pulldowns, pulley shoulder adduction, chin-ups, seated rowing and pull-overs.

Trapezius muscle: The Trapezius muscle has its origin in the thoracic and cervical vertebrae, and the bottom part of the skull. The insertion of Trapezius is the scapula and clavicle while the muscle is responsible for scapulas depression, elevation and retraction. Movements that utilize the Trapezius include chin-ups, raising of the lateral dumb bell as well as the shoulder press. Other major muscles in the chest region, shoulder and back include:

Rhomboids (minor and major)

Deltoid (shoulder and upper arm)

Pectoralis major (shoulder, upper arm and chest)

Pectoralis minor (shoulder, upper arm, chest)

Muscles of The Upper Arm and Shoulder

Anterior upper arm (Biceps brachii): The origin of the anterior upper arm is the scapula and has its insertion as the radius. It is responsible for the elbows flexion and forearms supination. Exercises that utilize this muscle include lat pulldowns, chin-ups and Biceps Curl.

The posterior upper arm (Triceps brachii): The posterior upper arm muscle has its origin in the scapula and upper section of the humerus while its insertion is the ulna (Netter, 2015). The action of this muscle is the elbow extension and the exercises that utilize this muscle include dips, bench press, Triceps kickbacks and press-ups. Another major muscle of the upper arm and shoulder is the Teres major (upper arm and shoulder).

Muscles in The Abdomen Region

Rectus abdominis (abdomen)

External/Interanal obliques (abdomen)

Seratus anterior (shoulder and upper arm)

Transverse abdominis (abdomen)

Muscles in The Hip Region

Gluteus maximus (buttocks)

Tensor fasciae latae (hip and thigh)

Muscles of The Quadriceps Area

Vastus medialis

Rectus femoris

Vastus intermedius

Vastus lateralis

Muscles of The Hamstring Muscle Group



Biceps femoris

Muscles of the calves

Gastrocnemius (calf)

Soleus muscle

(Netter, 2015)


Netter, F. H. (2015). Atlas of Human Anatomy. Saint Louis: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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