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Structure of the Muscular System

by Ma Wen Jie, Demand Media

    The muscular system is a complex collection of tissues, each with a different purpose. The muscular system is often considered in conjunction with the skeletal system, and called the muscular-skeletal system. Understanding the components of the muscular system, including the various types of connective tissues, is a good way to understand how bodies and physical movement work.

    Skeletal Muscles

    Skeletal muscles and skeletal muscle tissue are the structures that come to most people's minds when thinking about "muscles." Skeletal muscle tissue is a coarse muscle tissue optimized for contracting and moving body parts. Skeletal muscle tissues are often associated with the parts of the muscular system that are under our conscious control.

    Smooth Muscles

    Smooth muscle tissues are often associated with sub-conscious control of various systems in the body. Smooth muscle tissue is associated with the stomach and intestines and the urinary system. Smooth muscle tissues control blood flow in major organs and are key in regulating blood pressure.


    Tendons connect skeletal muscles to the bones the muscles will move. Tendons are both strong and flexible and are highly resistant to tears and breakage. However, tendons can be strained or injured if overextended. Because tendons do not heal easily, seek a doctor's advice for an injured tendon.


    Ligaments are closely related to the muscular system. A ligament is the fibrous material that connects two bones that are moved via skeletal muscles. Ligaments provide stability for the bones both during movement by the skeletal muscles and during rest.

    Adipose Tissue

    Adipose tissue is another key component of the muscular-skeletal system. Adipose tissue is a connective tissue that stores fat and cushions joints. It is important in protecting joints during strained skeletal-muscle contractions, such as in sports and other strenuous exercise.

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    About the Author

    Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.

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