Three Muscle Types: Function & Location

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  • 0:01 Muscle Types
  • 0:39 Skeletal
  • 2:00 Cardiac
  • 2:45 Smooth
  • 3:57 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.

Your muscles are all about movement. Some of these muscles you control, like your skeletal muscles, while others are not under your control, like the cardiac and smooth muscles. Learn where these three types of muscles are found and what they do.

Muscles Are About Movement

Did you know that you have over 600 muscles in your body? Muscles are all about movement.

Some of these movements you control, like moving your leg to kick a soccer ball or moving the muscles around your nose and mouth to make a silly face. Other muscles create movement and do their jobs without your ever having to think about them. Like the muscles in your heart and digestive tract.

Even though you have hundreds of muscles in your body, there are only three muscle types: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. Let's take a look at what each of these types do, and where they are found.

Skeletal Muscles

When you think about your muscles, you are probably thinking about skeletal muscle. That's because this is the type of muscle that is controlled by you. That makes skeletal muscles voluntary muscles. When you volunteer, you choose to do something. It's the same for your skeletal muscles. Your leg won't kick a soccer ball until you choose to move it.

Skeletal muscles are striated muscles, which is a fancy way of saying they look striped when you view them under a microscope. The words striated and striped sound very similar, so you can use that fact as a way to remember the term. Skeletal muscles are found all over your body and come in many sizes and shapes. They're the only type of muscle that is voluntary, so any muscle that you can move by thinking about it is a skeletal muscle.

Can you move your tongue? Yup! So your tongue contains skeletal muscles.

Can you flex your arm to show off how strong you are? Yup! So those arm muscles are skeletal muscles as well.

We learn that all three types of muscles create movement. Your skeletal muscles do this by attaching to your bones. When you contract a skeletal muscle it shortens, pulling the bone along with it.

Cardiac Muscles

Cardiac muscle is the type of muscle that makes up your heart. It only has one job, and that is to keep your heart pumping, so blood moves throughout your body. When cardiac muscle contracts, your heart compresses pushing out blood. When it relaxes, blood is able to flow back in.

Do you have to remind your heart to keep pumping? No! It works even when you're sleeping. So that means that cardiac muscles are involuntary muscles. The fact that cardiac muscle is involuntary makes it different than skeletal muscle. But there is something that they share in common, and that is they are both striated, or striped.

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