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Very Basic Overview of Muscles



Quadriceps (front of thigh) 

Function: Hip flexion and knee extension
Exercises:  Lunges, squats, leg press machine, vertical jumping, stair climbing, jump roping, resisted knee extensions (often referred to as “leg extensions” but are actually “knee extensions”)


Hamstrings (back of thigh) 

Function: Hip extension and knee flexion
Exercises:  Lunges, squats, leg press machine, vertical jumping, stair climbing, jump roping, leg (knee) curls


Tensor Fasciae Latae (top of outside hip)

Function: thigh flexion and slight internal rotation

Exercises: hip abduction exercises (I called this the “fat pocket machine” at the gym, where your knees are together and push outwards against resistance)


Gracilis (top of inside thigh)

Function: hip adduction and slight knee flexion

Exercises: side lunges, lateral shuffles, hip adduction exercises

Gluteus Maximus (Your bottom)

Function: Hip extension and external rotation
Exercises: Squats, lunges, cycling, jumping rope, stair climbing


Gluteus Minimus

Function: helps to abduct and medially rotate the thigh at the hip. Helps steady the pelvis when the opposite leg is raised from the ground.

Exercises: squats, lunges

Gastrocnemius (Calf)
Function: Plantar flexion at ankle (pointing the toes)
Exercises: Hill running, jump rope, calf raises (with free weights), stair climbing


Soleus (also part of the calf)

Function: Plantar flexion at ankle (pointing the toes)
Exercises: Hill running, jump rope, calf raises (with free weights), stair climbing


** The only difference between the soleus and gastrocnemius muscle when it comes to movement is that the soleus is more active when the knee is bent. In contrast, the gastrocnemius muscle is under most tension when the knee is straight.


Tibialis Anterior (Shin)

Function: Dorsiflexion at ankle (bringing the toes up toward your knee)
Exercises: isometric exercises against something such as the bottom of your dresser where you try to pull your toe up, band or partner exercises with dorsiflexion resistance

Rectus Abdominus (the Abs)
Function: Forward spinal flexion (mainly responsible for torso stabilization and good posture)
Exercises: Crunches, planks, etc.

External & Internal Obliques (front sides of the torso)
Function: torso rotation

Exercises: Twisting crunches (leading with the shoulder towards the opposite knee), side planks

Pectoralis Major (Pecs, front of shoulders, upper chest) specifically: Clavicle (collar bone), Sternum (breast bone)
Function: Flexion, adduction, internal rotation
Exercises: Push-ups, pull-ups, incline & regular bench press, climbing rope

Deltoid (shoulder)
Function: Abduction (entire muscle), Flexion, internal rotation (anterior fibers), Extension, external rotation (posterior fibers)
Exercises: Lateral ‘butterfly’ exercises with free weights, over-head or ‘military’ press with free weights ……….note: the muscle that is isometrically contracted when you stand in a doorway and press the back of your hands against the door frame (you probably did this as a child)

Latissimus Dorsi (Lats, back)
Function: Extension, adduction, internal rotation
Exercises: Chin-ups, rope climbing, rowing, any exercise that involves pulling the  arms downward against a resistive force as in ‘lat’ pulls on the machine (machine with the tall bar that most females have difficulty reaching)

Trapezius (Traps, back) note: also seen from the front in heavily muscled individuals

Function: Elevation of scapula (upper), Adduction of scapula (middle), Depression of scapula (lower) note: scapula= shoulder blade
Exercises: Upright rows, shoulder shrugs with resistance

Biceps Brachii (upper arm, above the elbow)
Function: Elbow flexion
Exercises: “Curling” with free weights, pull ups

Triceps Brachii (opposite the biceps)

Function: Extension at the elbow

Exercises: Dips on parallel bars, box, desk, etc., kickbacks, and push-ups


























Other Terms:




These muscles cause the movement to occur. They create the normal range of movement in a joint by contracting. Agonists are also referred to as prime movers since they are the muscles that are primarily responsible for generating the movement.


These muscles act in opposition to the movement generated by the agonists and are responsible for returning a limb to its initial position.


These muscles perform, or assist in performing, the same set of joint motion as the agonists. Synergists are sometimes referred to as neutralizers because they help cancel out, or neutralize, extra motion from the agonists to make sure that the force generated works within the desired plane of motion.


These muscles provide the necessary support to assist in holding the rest of the body in place while the movement occurs. Fixators are also sometimes called stabilizers.


Flexion: A movement by which the angle of a joint is decreased

Extension: A movement by which the angle of a joint is increased

Adduction: Movement toward the central axis

Abduction: Movement away from the central axis

Medial rotation: Rotation toward the medial side of the body

Lateral rotation: Rotation towards the lateral side of the body

Pronation: This movement occurs in the forearm whereby the palm is turned backwards

Supination: This movement also occurs in the forearm whereby the palm is turned forwards

Supine: Laying down face up

Prone: Laying down face down

Proximal: near the trunk

Distal: away from the trunk

Anterior: towards the front.

Posterior: toward the back

Superior: toward the head

Inferior: toward the feet

Medial: toward the median plane (near the middle of the body)

Lateral: away from the median plane (away from the middle of the body)


Subject Nursing Pages 4 Style APA


Vertical –









8-rectus femoris











17-tibialis anterior

16-biceps brachii














Appendix A:

Communication Plan for an Inpatient Unit to Evaluate the Impact of Transformational Leadership Style Compared to Other Leader Styles such as Bureaucratic and Laissez-Faire Leadership in Nurse Engagement, Retention, and Team Member Satisfaction Over the Course of One Year

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