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Gross Motor Skills vs Fine Motor Skills

Updated on November 11, 2012

Whats the difference?

There are many ways in which we classify between the vast variations and types of skills that we as Humans perform. Classifying them as either Gross or fine Motor skills is just one way.

Gross Motor Skills

A Gross Motor skill is one which uses a large musculature to achieve its goal, in other words, A skill that involves the use of big muscles rather than little muscles. An example of this is Running and Jumping, A key proponent of which, is the Quadraceps muscle group (consisting of the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and the vastus intermedius), which are one the biggest muscle group in the human body, attached to the largest bone in the body (The Femur).

Both actions Running and Jumping, also use other large musculature, such as the Gastrocnemus complex (more commonly known as the Calves) and the Hamstrings (consisting of the Biceps Femoris, Semitendonosus, Semimembranosus and the Rectus Femoris) and a whole host of other muscles including the Gluteals and muscles of the core. Therefore they are clearly distinguished as skills which are Gross Motor Skills, in that they use multiple large muscles for the action to be successfully performed.

Fine Motor Skills

A Fine Motor skill is one which uses a small musculature to achieve its goal, in other words, A skill that involves the use of small muscles rather than large muscles.

These tend to be skills of an intricate nature, most typically delicate finger work, key examples are Sewing and Handwriting, which only really use small components of the forearm, wrist and hand muscles, much smaller is length, mass and circumferance of the larger Muscles discussed for the actions of Running and Jumping.


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