Muscle Cells Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Are Muscle Cells?
  • 0:34 Skeletal Muscle Cells
  • 1:25 Cardiac Muscle Cells
  • 2:01 Smooth Muscle Cells
  • 2:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Did you know that your muscles do more than help you run and play? Your muscles do a lot of things that help you stay alive. In this lesson, you'll learn about the different types of muscles in your body and the cells that make them up.

What Are Muscle Cells?

When you think about your muscles, you probably think about the muscles in your arms and legs that help you run and play. But did you know that muscles also help you digest your food and make your heart beat? You have more than 600 muscles in your body, and each muscle is made up of cells. Because your muscles do different jobs, not all muscle cells look the same. In this lesson, we will take a look at the three different types of muscles cells: skeletal muscle cells, cardiac muscle cells, and smooth muscle cells.

Skeletal Muscle Cells

The muscles that allow you to swing a bat and kick a soccer ball are called skeletal muscles. These muscles are under your control. So, if you tell your arm to reach up and pat your head, it will do it.

Skeletal muscles are made up of skeletal muscle cells. Some of these cells are very long, like the ones in your upper leg that can grow to be over 12 inches long. Other skeletal muscles are too small for you to see without a microscope.

Under a microscope, your skeletal muscle cells look like long tubes with stripes. They are also called striated. The stripes are caused by bundles of light and dark units called filaments. These filaments help the muscles shorten or contract.

Your skeletal muscles also contain more than one nucleus. The nucleus of a cell is like its brain. So your skeletal muscles must be really smart, because they have lots of brains.

Cardiac Muscle Cells

Your heart is made up of a different type of muscle called cardiac muscle. Cardiac is a fancy name for your heart. Cardiac muscle has only one job, but it's an important one! Its job is to make your heart beat, so blood can pump around your body.

You don't control your heartbeat. This is a really good thing, because if you had to tell your heart to beat, you could never sleep.

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