Anatomy

Rhomboids: Functional Anatomy Guide

The rhomboid major and minor (L. rhomboideus, parallelogram ; major, larger ; minor, smaller.) are two muscles located between the shoulder blades and spinal column. If you took geometry, you might’ve guessed that they’re named after the rhombus shape, which they both resemble. Acting on the shoulder blades, both of these muscles are prime movers in scapular retraction and scapular downward …

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Quadriceps Femoris: Functional Anatomy Guide

As is made explicit by its Latin translation, the quadriceps femoris (L. quattuor, four ; caput, head ; femoris, femur.) literally means the four-headed muscle of the femur, or thigh. The four heads of the quadriceps femoris – or simply the quadriceps – include the following: rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis. The primary …

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Levator Scapulae: Functional Anatomy Guide

The levator scapulae (L. levator, elevator ; scapulae, shoulder blades.) is a strap-like muscle in neck and shoulder region. It acts on the scapula and cervical spine, and as its name reveals, its most prominent role is scapular elevation. Classified as a superficial posterior axioappendicular (extrinsic shoulder) muscle, the levator scapulae is situated deep to the upper trapezius and splenius capitis, …

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Pectoralis Major: Functional Anatomy Guide

The pectoralis major (L. pectus, chest ; major, larger.) is a large, fan-shaped chest muscle. It acts on the shoulder and (indirectly on) the scapula, with its most prominent role being the prime mover in shoulder horizontal adduction. The pec major is the largest and most superficial of the anterior axioappendicular muscles, lying superficial to the entire pectoralis minor …

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Infraspinatus: Functional Anatomy Guide

The infraspinatus (L. infra, below ; spinus, spine [of scapula]) is a thick rotator cuff muscle covering the majority of the posterior surface of the shoulder blade below the scapular spine. It is a prime mover in shoulder external rotation and plays important roles in shoulder stability. Most notably, it prevents excessive anterior and posterior migration of the humeral head. The …

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Serratus Anterior: Functional Anatomy Guide

The serratus anterior (L. serratus, saw ; anterior, front.), named for its saw-like appearance, is located on the side of the ribcage. It acts on the scapula and is the prime mover in both scapular protraction and scapular upward rotation. It’s also a key scapular stabilizer, keeping the shoulder blades against the ribcage when at rest and during movement. Classified as …

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Pronator Quadratus: Functional Anatomy Guide

The pronator quadratus is (L. pronus, lying face down ; quadrus, square.) is a rectangular muscle on the front of the forearm that connects between the radius and the ulna. It is the prime mover in forearm pronation, receiving help from the pronator teres during rapid pronation. It is also noted for its role in preventing …

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