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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

Sports Performance: Understand the function of our muscles. Dynamic Osteopaths

Updated: Mar 23

Our muscular system consists of various types of muscle that each play a crucial role in the multiple functions of the body. Muscles allow a us to perform all the movement we require, alongside heartbeat, breathing, and digestion. 

So how many functions do our muscles have? 

So how many functions do our muscles have? 

Firstly, our muscles account for around 40% of our total body weight. The muscular system contains more than 600 muscles that work together to enable the full functioning of the body. 

There are 3 types of muscles we have: Skeletal muscle These are our voluntary control muscles. They attach to bones, and contracting the muscles causes movement of those bones over an articulation (joint).

Smooth muscle 

Smooth muscle lines the inside of blood vessels and organs, such as the stomach, and is also known as visceral muscle. 

Cardiac muscle Located only in the heart, cardiac muscle pumps blood around the body. 

Functions of the muscular system

1. Functional Mobility The main function of muscles is to allow for movement. When muscles contract, they contribute to large and fine movement. Large movements include: 

  • walking

  • running

  • cycling

  • athletics 

Fine movement involves smaller movements and dexterity, such as:

  • writing

  • doing bottons up

  • facial expressions

Some movements, however are reflexive, such as withdrawing a hand from a source of pain. 

2. Stability

Muscle tendons stretch over joints and control joint stability. The core muscles are those in the abdomen, back, and pelvis, and they also stabilise the body and assist in tasks, such as lifting weights. 

3. Posture Skeletal muscles help keep our bodies right in the correct position, and responsible for holding this ‘postural control’. Good posture relies on strong, flexible muscles. Stiff, weak, or tight muscles contribute to poor posture, misalignment of the body and ultimately dysfunction.

4. Circulation Smooth muscle in the arteries and veins plays a further role in the circulation of blood around the body. These muscles maintain blood pressure and circulation in the event of blood loss or dehydration. Also, Our muscles are responsible for promotion back flow of blood to the heart via our veins, through pumping actions.

5. Respiration Breathing involves the use of the diaphragm muscle. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle located below the lungs. When the diaphragm contracts, it pushes downward, causing the chest cavity to get bigger. The lungs then fill with air. When the diaphragm muscle relaxes, it pushes air out of the lungs. When someone wants to breath more deeply, it requires help from other muscles, including those in the abdomen, back, and neck. 

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