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Human Muscles

Use the filters on the left to identify muscles around a particular joint as well as for specific joint actions. Click on the links below for more detailed explanations including origins, insertions and related sports injuries.

Ankle
Elbow
Fingers
Foot
Forearm
Hip
Knee
Neck
Shoulder
Shoulder girdle
Spine
Thumb
Toes
Wrist
Abduction
Adduction
Depression
Dorsi flexion
Elevation
Eversion
Extension
External rotation
Flexion
Internal rotation
Inversion
Lateral flexion
Plantar flexion
Pronation
Rotation
Supination
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Adductor Brevis

Adductor Brevis is the smallest and shortest (hence the name brevis, meaning short in latin) of the three short adductor muscles.

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Adductor Longus

Adductor Longus is the middle of the three short adductor muscles. It adducts the hip and assists in hip flexion.

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Adductor Magnus

Adductor Magnus is the largest groin muscle. It adducts the hip and assist with external rotation.

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Anconeus

The Anconeus works alongside Triceps Brachii in extending the elbow. It also acts to pull the synovial membrane out of the way of the olecranon process when the elbow is extending.

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Biceps Brachii

The Biceps brachii crosses both the elbow and shoulder joints. Its action on the shoulder joint is very weak flexion. It supinates the forearm.

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Biceps Femoris

Biceps Femoris is one of the three muscles which form the hamstring group forming the back of the thigh.

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Brachialis

The Brachialis acts to flex the elbow whether in pronation or supination, along with Biceps Brachii. As Brachialis is attached to the Ulna, which cannot rotate, it is the only true flexor of the elbow.

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Brachioradialis

The Brachioradialis muscle flexes the elbow and supinates the forearm from a pronated position and pronates from a supinated position.

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Deltoid

The deltoid muscle is used in all side lifting movements and any movement of the humerus on the scapula.

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Erector Spinae

The erector spinae (sometimes known as sacrospinalis) is often described as a group of different muscles called iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis.

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Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis

The extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle extends and abducts the wrist and is a weak extensor of the elbow.

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Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus

The extensor carpi radialis longus muscle extends and abducts the wrist and is a weak extensor of the elbow.

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Extensor Carpi Ulnaris

Extensor carpi ulnaris is located on the back (dorsum) of the forearm. It extends and adducts the wrist and weakly extends the elbow.

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Extensor Digitorum Longus

Extensor digitorum longus (often shortened to EDL) is found in the front of the lower leg, in the outer more muscle bound compartment.

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Extensor Hallucis Longus

The extensor hallucis longus is the only muscle responaible for extending (pulling back) the big toe, dorsi flexes the ankle and weakly inverts the foot.

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External Obliques

The obliques wrap around the trunk on each side to form our waists and join to the linea alba, a band of connective tissue running down the front of the abdomen.

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Flexor Carpi Radialis

The flexor carpi radialis muscle flexes and abducts the wrist and is a weak flexor of the elbow.

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Flexor Carpi Ulnaris

The flexor carpi ulnaris muscle flexes and adducts the wrist as well as being a weak flexer of the elbow.

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Flexor Digitorum Longus

Flexor Digitorum Longus causes the toes to grip and mold to the floors surface which is vital in maintaining balance on rough surfaces.

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Flexor Digitorum Superficialis

The flexor digitorum superficialis muscle flexes or bends the fingers, flexes the wrist and is a weak flexor of the elbow.

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Flexor Hallucis Longus

Flexor Hallucis Longus bends the big toe when you curl up your foot. It is called 'Hallucis' as the word Hallux means great or big toe in latin.

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Flexor Pollicis Longus

The flexor pollicis longus muscle lfexes the thumb and wrist and is a weak flexor of the elbow.

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Gastrocnemius

Gastrocnemius muscle is a strong plantar flexor of the ankle and weakly flexes the knee.

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Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus Maximus is the largest and most superficial of the three gluteal muscles which forms the rounded shape of the buttocks.

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Gluteus Medius

Gluteus Medius is an important muscle in controlling the level of the hips. Weaknesses in gluteus medius often result in a trendelenburg sign, an abnormal gait cycle.

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Gluteus Minimus

This is the smallest of the three gluteal muscles. It abducts the hip and assists with internal rotation as the femur abducts.

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Gracilis

Gracilis is another muscle which works in conjunction with the groin muscles and is also a weak knee flexor.

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Groin Muscles

The groin muscles are sometimes also call the 'adductor's. This describes the movement that they all perform. There are five adductors in total.

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Hamstrings

The hamstring muscles are found at the back of the thigh. They are three muscles which act on both the hip and knee joints.

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Iliopsoas

A powerful hip flexor, also assists in externally rotating the femur.

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Infraspinatus

Infraspinatus is one of the rotator cuff muscles. It sits on the back of the shoulder blade, below the spine of the scapula and attaches to the greater tuberosity on the humerus.

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Internal Obliques

The internal obliques wrap around the waist and insert into the linea alba, a cord like strip of connective tissue running down the centre of the abdomen.

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Latissimus Dorsi

The Latissimus dorsi muscle is one of the largest in the body. It is a powerful extensor muscle of the arm and is used extensively in chinning and climbing.

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Levator Scapulae

Shrugging the shoulders (scapula elevation) requires the use of levator scapulae and Trapezius.

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Multifidus

Multifidus is a series of small muscles which travel up the length of the spine. It is an important muscle in the rehabilitation of Gilmore's Groin and lower back pain.

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Pectineus

Pectineus is positioned between the Iliopsoas and Adductor Longus muscles and is part of the short adductor group with adductors brevis and longus.

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Pectoralis Major

Pectoralis major is the largest and most superficial of the chest muscles, Its action depends on the position of the arm.

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Pectoralis minor

The Pectoralis Minor muscle is the smallest of the two pectoral (chest) muscles. It works together with Serratus anterior which protracts and rotates the scapula upwards.

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Peroneus Brevis

Peroneus Brevis everts (turn outwards) the foot and plantar flex the ankle.

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Peroneus Longus

Peroneus Longus is one of the peroneals muscle group which pass down the outside of the lower leg and evert (turn out) the foot.

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Piriformis

The Piriformis muscle is an important muscle. The sciatic nerve passes underneath this muscle on its route down to the posterior thigh.

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Popliteus

Popliteus is a small muscle which is often described as the key of the knee joint. It unlocks the knee joint by rotating the femur at the beginning of knee flexion to allow full knee flexion to occur.

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Pronator Quadratus

Pronator Quadratus works in conjunction with Triceps Brachii during pronation with elbow extension.

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Pronator Teres

Pronator Teres works the hardest when the elbow is flexing and the hand simultaneously pronating.

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Quadratus Lumborum

The quadratus lumborum or QL is a common cause of back pain which is to one side and comes on after lifting or twisting.

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Quads (Quadriceps Muscles)

Quads (Quadriceps Muscles)

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Rectus Abdominis

Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape!

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Rectus Femoris

The Rectus Femoris muscle is part of the Quadriceps muscle group. It is the only muscle of the group which crosses the hip joint and so it flexes the hip whilst extending the knee.

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Rhomboids

There are two rhomboid muscles - Rhomboid Major and Rhomboid Minor. Rhomboid major is larger and positioned below rhomboid minor.

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Sartorius

The Sartorius is a two joint muscle and so is weak when the knee is flexed and the hip is flexed at the same time. It works better during single movements.

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Semimembranosus

Semimembranosus is the most medial of the three hamstring muscles. It extends and internally rotates the hip and flexes the knee.

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Semitendinosus

The semitendinosus muscle extends and internally rotates the hip as well as flexing the knee.

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Serratus Anterior

The Serratus Anterior muscle is used in activities which draw the scapula forwards. It is used strongly in push-ups and bench presses.

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Soleus

Soleus is a large large muscle, deep to Gastrocnemius. Together the Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Plantaris are known as Triceps Surae.

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Splenius

Splenius is often divided into two muscles, splenius capitus (those fibres which insert on the skull) and splenius cervicis (those that insert onto the cervical transverse processes of the spine).

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Sternocleidomastoid

Sternocleidomastoid (SCM) can clearly be seen when you turn your head to one side, on the opposite side of the neck.

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Subscapularis

Subscapularis is one of the four rotator cuff muscles which cross the shoulder joint. The muscle also acts to hold the head of the humerus in position and prevents it moving forwards.

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Supinator

The Supinator muscle assists Biceps Brachii in supinating the hand, that is turning it over so that the palm faces up.

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Supraspinatus

The Supraspinatus muscle is one of the four muscles which make up the rotator cuff. Its main function is to stabilise the upper arm by holding the head of the humerus in position.

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Tensor Fascia Latae

The Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) is a small muscle which attaches inferiorly to the long thick strip of fascia, known as the iliotibial band (ITB).

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Teres Major

Teres Minor is one of the four rotator cuff muscles surrounding the shoulder. Its main action, along with Infraspinatus is to externally rotate the shoulder joint.

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The Glutes

The 'Glutes' is an abbreviation of the gluteals - also known as the buttock muscles. The three main ones are the Gluteus Maximus, Medius and Minimus.

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Tibialis Anterior

Tibialis anterior forms the main fleshy part of the outside of the shin. It is a dorsiflexor of the ankle.

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Tibialis Posterior

The Tibialis Posterior is the deepest of all the calf muscles. It helps to support the arch of the foot.

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Transversus Abdominis

Transversus Abdominis is often abbreviated to TVA. This is a very important core muscle which is vital in maintaining good posture. Activities such as Pilates focus on contraction of the TVA.

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Trapezius Muscle

The trapezius muscle (Trapz) is a large muscle consisting of four parts covering the upper back, shoulders and neck.

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Triceps Brachii

The Triceps Brachii also assists Latissimus Dorsi in extending the shoulder joint. It contracts strongly during the up phase of a push up, to straighten the arm.

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Vastus Intermedius

Vastus Intermedius is one of four quadricep muscles, located deep in the thigh underneath the Rectus Femoris muscle.

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Vastus lateralis

Vastus Lateralis is the most lateral (outer) of the four quadriceps muscles and is felt on the outside top of the thigh.

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Vastus Medialis

Vastus Medialis is the most medially (inner) located of the quadricep muscles. The portion of the muscle just above the knee is known as VMO (vastus medialis oblique).

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Ankle
Elbow
Fingers
Foot
Forearm
Hip
Knee
Neck
Shoulder
Shoulder girdle
Spine
Thumb
Toes
Wrist
Abduction
Adduction
Depression
Dorsi flexion
Elevation
Eversion
Extension
External rotation
Flexion
Internal rotation
Inversion
Lateral flexion
Plantar flexion
Pronation
Rotation
Supination