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Physical Education

Muscles and movement

Voluntary muscles

The key voluntary muscles used in sport are shown in the illustration.

Name of muscleFunctionExample in sport
TricepsExtend the arm at the elbowPress-up, throwing a javelin
BicepsFlex the arm at the elbowPull-up, drawing a bow in archery
DeltoidsMove the arm in all directions at the shoulderBowling a cricket ball
PectoralsAdduct the arm at the shoulderForehand drive in tennis
TrapeziusHold the shoulders in place, move head back and sidewaysHolding head up in rugby scrum
GlutealsAdduct and extend leg at the hipsPulling back leg before kicking a ball
QuadricepsExtend the leg at the kneeKicking a ball jumping upwards
HamstringsFlex the leg at the kneeBending knee before kicking a ball
GastrocnemiusPointing the toes, help to flex the kneeRunning
Latissimus dorsiAdduct and extend the arm at the shoulderButterfly stroke in swimming
AbdominalsFlex the trunk across the stomachPulling the body down when hurdling
A female archer draws her bow

Drawing a bow uses the biceps. Photo courtesy of BBC Sport

Origin and insertion of muscles (AQA only) The origin is the end of a muscle which is attached to a fixed bone. The insertion is the end of the muscle that is attached to the bone which moves.

Back to Applied anatomy and physiology index

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