Muscles In The Upper Body

This is the first of many articles in the series called strength training for women. In order to get started with strength training, it is important to know what muscles you are working out. It’s a lot of information and it’s going to be a long post, but you’re going to thank yourself for it later. This is just a general overview of the muscles and I will create an in-depth article of the muscles later on. Makes sense? Let’s get started!


Neck Musculature


Longus Capitis & Longus Coli 

-One of the major muscles in the human neck, responsible for most of the neck’s mobility, and allows neck to flex

-The Longus Capitis is found on the anterior side of the vertebral column in the neck




-Also, assists in moving the neck around. 

-Helps your rib elevate during inhalation




-Flexes the neck and rotates the head

-The anterior portion of the neck



Levator Scapulae

-Located on the side and back of the neck.

-Its function is to lift the scapula (bone that connects the humerus with the collarbone)




Arm Musculature



-Located in the upper arm and it lies beneath the bicep

-Its function is to flex the elbow




-Located on the forearm

-Its function is to flex the elbow



Bicep Brachii

-Lies on the upper arm between the shoulder and the elbow 

-The muscle assists in elbow and shoulder flexion.

-Considered a bi-articular muscle: controls motion at 2 joints



Triceps Brachii

-Runs along the humerus, along the shoulder and elbow. In the back of the upper arm.

-Its main function is to extend the elbow and shoulder, so to straighten the arm. 




Rotator Cuff Muscles

-These 4 muscles help raise and rotate the arm



-One of the 4 muscles of the rotator cuff

-Lies horizontally on the shoulder

-Helps to move the arm away from the body




-Largest and strongest muscle in this group and also the most used muscle in the shoulder

-Located under the shoulder blade

-Allows arm to extend inward





-Located underneath the shoulder blade (scapula) 

-The main function is to externally rotate the humerus and to stabilize the shoulder joint


Teres Minor

-Located on the side of the scapula

-Moves the arm to the side and stabilizes the shoulder joint



Shoulder Musculature 


Teres Major

-Moves the shoulder towards the middle of the body

-Helps control the movement of the humerus



Anterior Deltoid

-Assists in flexing the shoulder and rotating the shoulder inwards


Medial Deltoid

-Helps move the arm away from the body, also called abduction

-Assists in good posture


Posterior Deltoid 

-Helps to extend the arm and to externally rotate the arm



Pectoralis Major

-Largest muscle in the chest

-Controls the movement in the arm and plays a part in inhalation

-Assists in flexing the shoulder 



Pectoralis Minor

-Lies beneath the pectoralis major

-Assists in moving the shoulder blade further away from each other



Upper Trapezius 

-The orange color in the above picture

-Responsible for extending the head at the neck and raising the shoulder


Middle Trapezius

-The red in the above picture

-Helps move the shoulder blades closer together


Lower Trapezius

-The purple in the above picture

-Helps move the shoulder blades down


Rhomboid Major & Minor

-Both the rhomboid major and minor is located underneath the trapezius and both pulls the shoulder blades closer together


Serratus Anterior

-Assists in breathing

-Also called the “Boxer’s muscle” for its location



Back Musculature


Latissimus Dorsi

-The broadest muscle in the back

-Extends, adducting (moving towards the midline of the body), and rotating the arm and shoulder

-It is the source of chronic shoulder and neck pain



-It is a very thin muscle, gives support to the spine, are a series of muscles attached to the spinal column 



Quadratus Lumborum

-Muscle in the lower back

-You use this muscle when you bend at the side

-Weakened QL muscle can lead to lower back, buttock, and hip pain

-To improve QL muscles do side plank and side bridge exercises



Superficial Erector Spinae: (Iliocostalis, Longissimus, and Spinalis)

-Responsible for extending and rotating the spine. And bending at the side

-To strengten this muscle do deadlifts, bent over rows, hyperextensions, pull ups, and squats



Abdominal Musculature


Rectus Abdominis

-This muscle begins at the pubic bone and ends at the sternum

-Assists in spinal flexion, and rotating the trunk


External Oblique 

-The largest and most outermost of the abs

-Assists in spinal flexion and moving the trunk


Internal Oblique

-Located beneath the external oblique

-Assists in moving the trunk


Transverse Abdominis

-Placed beneath the internal oblique and it is the deepest of all ab muscles

-This muscle wraps around the spine

-It helps improve posture, muscle balance, and stabilization. It keeps the neck in neutral position when doing core training



-Dome in shape and plays an important part in respiration

-Extends across the bottom of the rib cage



That’s all the muscles in the upper body. Stay tuned for the next post about the lower body. Subscribe to my email list to get the latest updates!! 


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