Muscular System

Organization of Muscles

What muscles are named after the direction of muscle fibers?

When looking at a muscle one can often see that it appears to have lines running within it. These lines are made of muscle fibers, and the direction that these fibers run in relation to the midline of the body is often used to provide partial names to different muscles. If the fibers of the muscle are running with or parallel to the body’s midline, the term rectus is often used to describe that muscle. The translation of rectus from the Latin literally means “straight.” Some examples of muscles that have the term rectus in their name include the rectus femoris and rectus abdominis.

If the fibers of the muscle run at an angle to the body’s midline, they are said to run obliquely. The term oblique is also of Latin origin. Some examples of muscle that have the term oblique associated with their name include the internal and external oblique muscle of the abdominal area.


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