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Learn About Skeletal Muscles for Kids

Updated on September 24, 2013

The human body has three types of muscles: cardiac, smooth and skeletal. Muscles are made up of tissue.

  • Cardiac - the muscle tissue that makes up the heart
  • Smooth - smooth muscle tissue is found in the stomach, intestines and blood vessels
  • Skeletal - skeletal muscles are attached to bones

Humans have about 650 skeletal muscles. These muscles are given Latin names. Muscles can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary muscles are under your control. For example, you decide when to move your arms and legs. The heart is an involuntary muscle. It works without you controlling it.

Myology is the study of muscles.

About Muscle Tissue

Cells are the building blocks of the human body. The cells in our bodies make up tissues, which are groups of the same kind of cells. Think of Lego blocks. If you put all yellow blocks together, they would make up one type of tissue. If you put all the blue blocks together they would make a different tissue.

Types of tissues include muscle, skin, or bone. Groups of tissues are arranged together to form organs. The stomach organ includes different kinds of tissue including muscle tissue and mucus membrane tissue. Organs are grouped into systems. The stomach is part of the Digestive System.

Histology is the study of cells and how they make up tissues.

Anterior muscle diagram
Anterior muscle diagram

Facial Muscles

The face has about 40 muscles. When you smile, open you mouth or look surprised, you are using your facial muscles. Some of these muscles are:

  • Frontalis - is in the forehead and helps raise eyebrows
  • Corrugator - is above the eyebrows. Some people have this muscle surgically removed as part of a treatment for migraines, which are a very severe type of headache
  • Nasalis - is in the nose
  • Obicularis Oculi - the muscles around the eyes
  • Levator Labii - raises the upper lip
  • Masseter - closes the jaw
  • Risoris - used for smiling
  • Buccinator - is a muscle of the cheeks and lips

Learn About Muscles Video

Upper Body Muscles

The muscles of the upper back are:

  • Trapezius - a large triangle shaped muscle that runs from the middle of the back up to the neck
  • Rhomboids - small muscles in the middle of the back, running up to bottom of the neck

The shoulder muscles are:

  • Deltoids - wrap right around the top of the shoulders
  • Rotator Cuff or Rotators - these are four small muscles beneath each shoulder that help to hold the arms in place

The major chest muscles are:

  • Pectorals - two large, flat muscles on the surface of the chest. If you push something, you are using your pecs

Arm Muscles

The main arm muscles are the:

  • Biceps - the muscles at the front of the upper arm. These are used for bending the arm or to pick things up
  • Triceps - the muscles at the back of the upper arms. They are used when you straighten your arm or push something

These muscles always work in pairs. When the biceps contract or shorten, the triceps become longer, and the elbow bends. When the triceps contract or shorten, the biceps becomes longer, and the elbow is straightened.

Lower Body Muscles

The main lower body and leg muscles are:

  • Gluteus Maximus - muscles of the buttocks that move the thigh
  • Hamstrings - form the back of the thigh and help move the knee
  • Adductors - are the inner thigh muscles
  • Quadriceps - are at the front of the thigh. They also help to move the knee

Posterior muscle diagram
Posterior muscle diagram


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    • JoanCA profile image

      JoanCA 4 years ago

      Thanks Benjamin. It's always good to get a refresher on these things.

    • profile image

      Benjamin Chege 4 years ago

      Hi JoanCA. The hub is well written and easy to understand even for kids, who are its main target. Voted up, useful, awesome and beautiful. Will definitely share it. I have also learned a lot I did not know and reminded myself of the muscles I had forgotten. Great hub.