Unveiling the Dynamic Framework: Exploring Musculature in the Human Body

Unveiling the Dynamic Framework: Exploring Musculature in the Human Body

When not lying down, every pose and movement requires using muscles. The eye muscles alone move over a hundred thousand times a day. It takes over forty muscles to frown but only seventeen to smile. 

The sensory organs, the nerves and the brain are always involved when we work our muscles. The brain reacts to sensory impressions and instructs how to use our muscles. This interaction is made possible by a nerve network that leads from the brain via the spinal cord to the muscles. However, some of these fibre bundles also work involuntarily: the organ musculature is constantly in action without us being able to control it consciously.

The 656 muscles we have to make up 40 per cent of our body weight, far heavier than the skeleton, which is 12 per cent.

There are three types of muscle: the voluntary striated muscle, the involuntary smooth muscle, and the cardiac muscle, a hybrid between these two types.

Smooth musculature

The smooth muscles of the intestines work involuntarily, so they are not under our control. For example, it causes intestinal movements that play a role in the digestion of food. 

Smooth muscle comprises long, loosely arranged, spindle-like cells, making them flexible. The smallest protein fibres stored in the cells also serve this purpose: actin and myosin filaments.


The heart muscle (myocardium) works involuntarily, i.e. without our conscious involvement. 

It contracts about 70 times a minute. Like the voluntary musculature, this muscle also consists of striated muscle fibre bundles arranged crosswise here. This mixture of properties of both muscle types gives the heart unique endurance and strength. It works under the control of the autonomic nervous system.

Voluntary Muscles

Most muscles are connected to bones by tendons, allowing them to move. They are called skeletal muscles or striated muscles. These are fibre bundles made up of overlapping protein threads. Between these filaments, combined into muscle fibres, lie reservoirs where sugar and oxygen are converted into energy.

The muscle fibres that comprise the muscle are lined with tubular connective tissue. A large muscle consists of hundreds of such fibres; a smaller one comprises correspondingly fewer fibres. The muscle fibres respond to signals sent from the brain via the nerves. They contract and thereby create movement. The smallest fibres, the filaments, trigger the muscle contractions. They consist of the proteins actin and myosin, arranged in cross stripes like bridges and can shorten the muscle by overlapping.

Skeletal muscle makes up a significant portion of body weight: about 40 per cent in men and 23 per cent in women. In contrast to the heart muscles and the so-called smooth muscles, the skeletal muscles are voluntary because we can consciously control them.

Over 600 skeletal muscles attach directly or indirectly to the bone. Instead of pairs, they work at the service of every movement we make, even in the blink of an eye.

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