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 … Read more

Triceps Brachii: Functional Anatomy Guide

Literally meaning the three-headed muscle of the arm, the triceps brachii (L. tres, three ; caput, head ; brachium, arm.) consists of a long, lateral and medial head. It is primarily responsible for elbow extension. Known commonly as just the triceps, it is twice as big as its counterpart, the biceps brachii, and thus accounts for … Read more

Transversus Abdominis: Functional Anatomy Guide

The transversus abdominis (L. transversus, crosswise [trans, across ; vertere, to turn] ; abdo, to hide.) is a flat layer of muscle in the abdomen, whose fibers run transverse relative to the midline of the body. It is responsible for compressing the abdominal wall, helping to support and protect the internal organs, and assist in … Read more

Anterior Deltoid: Functional Anatomy Guide

The anterior deltoid (L. anterior, before, in front of ; deltoides, triangular) refers to the front head of the deltoid muscle. This part of the delt is responsible for shoulder flexion. Classified as part of the scapulohumeral (intrinsic shoulder) muscle group, the anterior deltoid is situated medial to the lateral deltoid and lateral to the clavicular head of … Read more

Lateral Deltoid: Functional Anatomy Guide

The lateral deltoid (L. latus, side ; deltoides, triangular) is the outermost head of the deltoid and is primarily responsible for performing shoulder abduction. The lateral deltoid is part of the scapulohumeral (intrinsic shoulder) muscle group. It is situated between the anterior and posterior deltoid, and lies superficial to the insertions of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus and teres minor. It originates from the acromion process on … Read more

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 … Read more

Wrist Flexors: Functional Anatomy Guide

The wrist flexors refer to six muscles in the anterior compartment of the forearm that act on the wrist and finger joints. As a group, the primary action of the wrist flexors is, you guessed it… wrist flexion! As I’ll detail later, these muscles are also responsible for other movements of the fingers and wrist. Each of … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

Supinator: Functional Anatomy Guide

The supinator (L. supinare, to lay on back or turn up) is a relatively wide muscle on the upper forearm. It spirals from the back and outside of the forearm to the front, crossing over the space between the radius and ulna… …This unique location allows it to carry out its primary function of forearm supination. Note: It … Read more