The skeletal muscle system has on average 600 different muscles that work together to create almost any type of movement. To help comprehend the complexity of this system, certain rules govern most of the skeletal muscles. These rules can help with understanding and memorizing the names and functions of the most important skeletal muscles.

The Five Golden Rules of Skeletal Muscle Activity:

  1. With few exceptions, all skeletal muscles cross at least one joint.
  2. Typically, the bulk of a skeletal muscle lies proximal to the joint crossed.
  3. All skeletal muscles have at least two attachments: the origin and the insertion.
  4. Skeletal muscles can only pull; they never push.
  5. During contraction, a skeletal muscle insertion moves toward the origin.