Students are advised to do a minimum amount of pure memorization. "Think through" the information to be learned. Apply concepts learned in class. What makes sense? Use common sense.
1. Familiarize yourself with general locations, names, and appearances of the muscles you will be learning. You should be able to identify each muscle to be studied on a wall chart or in the illustrations in your book before proceeding.
Remember that the name of a muscle often tells you something about the muscle itself:
a) attachments digitorum - attaches to the digits (toes or fingers) digiti minimi - attaches to little toe or little finger hallucis - attaches to the big toe pollicis - attaches to the thumb plantar - pertains to the sole of the foot palmar - pertains to the palm of the hand carpi - attaches to the wrist capitis - attaches to the head cervicis - attaches to the cervical region or neck thoracis - attaches to the thorax lumborum - attaches to the lumbar region
b) number of divisions biceps, triceps, quadriceps
c) location tibialis, femoris, anterior, ulnaris, posterior, profundus (deep)
d) direction of fibers rectus (straight), oblique, transversus
e) shape deltoid (triangular), trapezius (kite), rhomboids, quadratus
f) action flexor, levator, tensor (tense a part), pronator
g) length or size brevis, longus, major, minor
2. Try to determine what bones each muscle attaches to from the knowledge gained in step one. Do not learn too many details about muscle attachments at first. Once you are familiar with the general bones of attachment, you should learn more specific attachments so that you can accurately describe the line of pull of the muscle.
3. Try to determine the actions of each muscle from your knowledge of the following:
a) General location of the muscle (i.e., anterior , posterior, medial, lateral, etc.). Generally, anterior muscles produce anterior movements, medial muscles produce medial movements, and so on. Muscles do not usually perform both actions that are antagonistic to each other (i.e., a muscle would not usually flex and extend at the same joint). Once you know the general rule, then it will be easy to learn the specific exceptions to the rule.
b) The joints crossed by the muscle. In order to produce action at a joint, a muscle (or more often, its tendon) must cross over the joint. Some muscles cross more than two joints; as a general rule, muscles produce actions at all joints that they cross.
c) The relation of the muscle's line of pull to the center of the joint. If a muscle's line of pull is anterior to a joint, then the muscle will definitely cause an anterior movement unless some other force (external…