How Stuff Works – Muscles

They help us move, digest our food, and keep us alive. Here’s a post in celebration of those hunks of meat between our bones.

When you think of muscles, you probably think of something like these:

This is your whole body on muscles

This is your whole body on muscles

Taken from Grey's Anatomy. The book, not the TV show.

Taken from Grey’s Anatomy. The book, not the TV show.



Making a muscle

But when I think of muscles, I think of things like this:



The illustration above is a fairly detailed look at the way a muscle contracts.

A bit of background about myself: I received an M.S. in Health and Exercise Science and a B.S. in Athletic Training. I know how muscles are supposed to work down to the super minute detail. Needless to say, I stared at a lot of diagrams like this one except with more letters and some numbers.

Anyway, like pretty much everything in the human body, muscles are complicated. But the basic mechanism is the same in humans and other animals: muscles move our body, move food through our digestive track, and keep out heart beating.

So we get the main gist of what muscles do. Let’s take a look at exactly how muscles work.

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