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Major Muscles

Major Muscles, Functions, & Locations

TermDefinition
Frontalis Raises the eyebrows. Located in forehead area, above eye socket.
Occipitalis Tenses & retracts the scalp. Located in back of head, near Occipital bone region.
Orbicularis Oculi Closes and blinks the eye. This is the ring of muscles surrounding the eye as well as the eyelid muscle.
Orbicularis Oris Closes & protrudes lips (like in a kissing motion). This is the ring of muscles encircling the mouth/lips.
Zygomaticus Elevates corner of mouth (as in smiling). This is actually located in the cheek area, because it raises the corners of the mouth.
Temporalis Elevates & retracts mandible. Located in the sides of the head, above the ear.
Masseter Elevates & protracts mandible. Located in the cheek area. Muscle runs up and down.
Sternocleidomastoid Flexes head & neck side to side. Rotates head to opposite side. Pulls head forward & down. Located starting behind the ear and running at an angle down neck.
Trapezius Rotates/retracts scapula. Elevates scapula. Depresses scapula. Extends head. Located coming from neck and covers the shoulder blade area.
Pectoralis Major Flexes arm at shoulder. Adducts & rotates arm. Located in the area under the collar bone over to under the arm pit.
Rectus Abdominis Compresses abdomen. Flexes vertebral column. Located in the area where "abs" are. These are the 6/8 pack that show.
External Oblique Compresses abdomen. Flexes & rotates vertebral column. Located in the area beside the abs, like the sides of your lower abdomen, under the ribs.
Serratus Anterior Protracts & rotates scapula. Located on the side of the ribs.
Latissimus Dorsi Extends arm at shoulder. Adducts & medially rotates arm. Large area in the back that mainly covers the ribs on your back.
Deltoid Lateral-abducts arm. Anterior-flexes arm at shoulder. Posterior-extends arm at shoulder. Located in upper shoulder area.
Biceps Brachii Flexes forearm at elbow. Supinates forearm & hand. These are the muscles that show when you "flex" your upper arm.
Triceps Brachii Extends forearm at elbow. These are located in the back of your upper arm.
Gluteus Maximus Extends thigh at hip. Laterally rotates thigh. These are your "butt" muscles
Gluteus Medius Abducts thigh. Medially rotates thigh. Located in the hip region, beside the gluteus maximus.
Vastus Medialis Extends leg at the knee. Leg muscle that is on the inside of the upper leg, running from knee to inner thigh area.
Vastus Lateralis Extends leg at the knee. This muscle runs along the outer upper leg area, to the side.
Rectus Femoris Extends leg at the knee. Flexes thigh at hip. Muscle that runs down your upper leg along the top, from thigh to knee.
Sartorius Flexes leg at the knee. Flexes thigh at hip. Abducts thigh. Laterally rotates thigh. Medially rotates leg. Muscle that runs at an angle from the hip across upper leg to the inside of the knee.
Gracilis Adducts thigh. Flexes thigh at hip. Medially rotates thigh & leg. Located in inner upper leg.
Biceps Femoris Flexes leg at knee. Extends thigh at hip. Muscle that runs up the back of the upper leg.
Semitendinosus Flexes leg at knee. Extends thigh at hip. Muscle that runs up the back of upper leg.
Semimembranosus Flexes leg at knee. Extends thigh at hip. Muscle that runs up the back side of upper leg, located on the inside of the leg.
Tibialis Anterior Dorsi flexion and inversion of foot. Muscle that runs down the front of the lower leg.
Gastrocnemius Plantar flexion of foot. Flexion of leg at knee. This is the "calf" muscle.
Soleus Plantar flexion of foot. This muscle runs along the inside of the lower leg.