Skeletal Muscle

Skeletal Muscle is one of several terms used to refer to muscle tissue that is under conscious control. Other terms that refer to the same tissue are Voluntary Muscle & Striated Muscle.

The functions of skeletal muscle include:

  • Producing movement
  • Maintaining posture
  • Stabilizing joints, and
  • Generating heat.

Skeletal Muscle tissue is known as:

  • Skeletal Muscle - because it is attached to the skeleton and therefore moves bones in relation to other bones.
  • Voluntary Muscle - because it is under conscious, or "voluntary" control.
  • Striated Muscle - because the myofibrils that form this type of muscle appear to consist of "band" (of lighter and darker colour) when viewed under a microscope. These are due to the alternation of actin and myosin protein filaments within each myofibril, and form the visual impression of striations in the muscle tissue.


Other types of muscle tissue:

There are three main types of muscle tissue.
They are:

  • Skeletal Muscle (see above) - muscles that move bones, under conscious control.
  • Smooth Muscle - surrounding organs and other body structures, not under conscious control.
  • Cardiac Muscle - the specialized muscle found only in the heart.


This section consists of short summaries about the structures that form the muscles of the body. This list is not exhaustive but is intended to be appropriate for students of A-Level Human Biology, ITEC courses in massage and related subjects, and other courses in health sciences. For more general information about muscles see the pages about:

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