Believe it or not, there are hundreds of different muscles in your body, and each one has a special job to do. There are even muscles inside your eyeballs! We won’t talk about all of them, of course – that would take way too long. But we will talk about the most important muscles and muscle groups in the muscular system in a way that’s fun and interesting for kids and grownups.
Most important upper body muscles
The muscles in your upper body, including your arms, chest and belly, help move lots of different body parts and help you do things like raise your hand, shake your head, and twist your body to look behind you.
In your arms, the two most important muscles are the biceps and triceps. The biceps lets you bend your elbow, and the triceps lets you make it straight again. There are also muscles in your shoulders, like the deltoid muscle, which lets you move your arm at the shoulder: up and down, back and forth, and around in a big circle. Meanwhile, muscles in your neck let you nod your head “yes”, shake your head “no”, and move your head in any direction you want.
Muscles in your back, chest and stomach area help your arm muscles do their jobs and also help you keep your balance. If you’ve ever done a pushup, you’ve used the main muscles in your chest, called the pectoral muscles or “pecs”. There are lots of different muscles in your stomach area called abdominal muscles – these let you sit up when you’re lying down, twist your body, hula hoop and even help with breathing.
Most important lower body muscles
Your lower body muscles do everything from help you stand up and sit down, to walking, jumping and dancing. Starting from the top, the first important muscles in your lower body are your hip and butt muscles. The muscles of the butt are also called the gluteus muscles or “glutes”, and they help you squat down and stand back up. Then come your thigh muscles, which let you bend your knee.
The muscles in the front of your thighs are called the quadriceps, and the ones in the back of the thigh are called the hamstrings. Lastly, the muscles in your lower leg help move your foot. In the front, shin muscles move your foot up and down and side to side. In the back, the calf muscles let you stand on your tip toes.