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      FITNESS TIPS FOR 5/29/2001                  
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Basic Muscle Anatomy and Physiology for Bodybuilding
by Tracy Anderson
www.tkalfn.homestead.com

This month we'll cover some basic concepts about muscle anatomy 
and physiology. This will lead to an understanding of the adaptive 
response of muscle to exercise, so you can better design an 
effective program to achieve your bodybuilding and fitness goals.

First off, you should realize that there are three basic types of 
muscle tissue in the human body. Skeletal muscle, also called 
striated muscle, is attached by tendons to the skeletal bones. 
Usually the two ends of a skeletal muscle are attached to two 
different bones across a joint. The only thing a muscle can do 
is contract, and when it contracts (shortens) it brings the two 
bones closer together. This causes movement of the skeleton 
at the particular joint spanned by the muscle. Thus the function 
of skeletal muscle is to move the skeleton. Other skeletal 
muscles, such as those between vertebrae and between the 
ribs, play more of a structural role, helping the skeleton to 
maintain its proper shape. Notably, skeletal muscle is under
voluntary control, which means that you control when a 
skeletal muscle contracts.

Another type of muscle tissue is smooth muscle, called that 
because it lacks striations. Probably the best example of 
smooth muscle is the stomach and intestines. Your digestive 
tract is a huge muscular tube which propels food from your 
mouth to the other end. Your intestines are ringed by circular 
bands of muscular tissue which squeeze the food through 
the tube when they contract. This is called peristaltic 
contraction, and is the same kind of contraction that propels 
food down your esophagus when you swallow. Smooth 
muscle is not under voluntary control, but instead is 
controlled by the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic 
nervous system receives input from the brain, but at the 
subconscious level. The autonomic nervous system has 
two divisions: the parasympathetic division which speeds 
up movement of food through the digestive tract, and the 
sympathetic division which slows down movement. The 
parasympathetic nervous system is sometimes referred to 
as the resting and digesting nervous system and the 
sympathetic nervous system is often refereed to as the 
fight and flight nervous system. Of interest, the intestines 
have their own nervous system built right into the intestinal 
wall, between muscle layers. It's called the myenteric 
nerve plexus, and integrates information from the 
intestines with input from the autonomic nervous system 
to precisely control digestion and food movement. Most 
people don't realize that there are nearly as many nerve 
cells in their intestines as in their brains. The complexity 
of this system has only become understood in the past 
couple of years. It's what gives us the freedom to think 
about other things instead of having to constantly be 
worried about consciously controlling the movement of 
food through the gut.

The third type of muscle tissue is cardiac muscle, found 
exclusively in theheart. It's somewhere between striated 
muscle and smooth muscle. It does have striations like 
skeletal muscle but the fibers are arranged more like 
smooth muscle, so it has elements of both. Cardiac 
muscle is referred to as an involuntary muscle, but it can 
be influenced through internal factors.  For example, 
being nervous or scared will speed up your heart rate, 
while relaxing will slow down your heart rate. This too 
is mediated by the autonomic nervous system. Here, 
the sympathetic division speeds up heart rate while the
parasympathetic division slows it down. Heart muscle 
has some very special properties which allow it to do 
its job. For one thing, it has a built in pacemaker which 
causes the heart to spontaneously contract all by itself.  
It is called the sinoatrial node and is located in the right 
atrium. You can cut all the nerves going to the heart 
and it will still beat just fine. (This is what makes the 
heart transplants possible.)
___________________________________________

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Neither trulyhuge.com nor the authors of this publication assume any liability for the information contained herein. The Information contained herein reflects only the opinion of the author and is in no way to be considered medical advice. Specific medical advice should be obtained from a licensed health care practitioner. Consult your physician before you begin any nutrition, exercise, or dietary supplement program.

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