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This chapter describes the structure and function of the three different kinds of muscle; smooth, cardiac and skeletal muscle.


After completing this section, you should know:

  • the structure of smooth, cardiac and skeletal muscle and where they are found
  • what the insertion and origin of a muscle is
  • what flexion and extension of a muscle means
  • that muscles usually operate as antagonistic pairs
  • what tendons attach muscles to bones


  • There are three different kinds of muscle tissue: smooth muscle in the walls of the gut and blood

vessels; cardiac muscle in the heart and skeletal muscle attached to the skeleton.

  • Tendons attach skeletal muscles to the skeleton.
  • Ligaments link bones together at a joint.
  • Skeletal muscles work in pairs known as antagonistic pairs. As one contracts the other in the pair relaxes.
  • Flexion is the movement that reduces the angle of a joint. Extension increases the angle of a joint.

Learning Activities

Library of Resources

Presentations and Blackboard quizzes can be accessed by students of Otago Polytechnic.