The 5 Main Muscles Made Easy.

A post to help ex­plain the key mus­cles to my Base-Line Hy­poth­e­sis of Hu­man Health and Move­ment.

Anatomy is wordy and it’s easy to get lost but know­ing the de­tails isn’t im­por­tant:

  • Study the pic­tures. See.

  • Pal­pate your body. Feel.

Keep think­ing about these 5 (paired—left and right) main mus­cles of mo­ment’ and how you use them as you move through your daily life. Get to know how your body feels.

1. Rec­tus femoris

Below the knee, feel for the lump at the front of your shin bone (tibia). Run your hands up over your kneecaps and front of your thighs to just be­low the stick­ing-out bone at the front of your pelvis (hip bone). This is the full ex­tent of the rec­tus fe­moris mus­cle.

  • Aim for the whole mus­cle to be ac­tive.

  • A strong, straight pole at the front of each thigh.

  • Think of pul­ling your kneecaps up to ac­ti­vate the mus­cle + a down­ward force from your hip bone.

The rec­tus fe­moris mus­cles al­ign the hip and knee joints.

A mus­cle sand­wiched be­tween lay­ers of tough con­nec­tive tis­sue.

From shin—a lig­a­ment that con­tains the kneecap turn­ing into a layer of con­nec­tive tis­sue at the back of the mus­cle.

From hip—short ropes of ten­don from hip bone turn­ing into a layer of con­nec­tive tis­sue down the front of the rec­tus fe­moris mus­cles.

2. Glu­teus max­i­mus.

The largest skele­tal mus­cles of the body (cov­er­ing a lot of com­pli­cated anatomy prone to pain/​in­jury).

Hands on but­tocks—feel for the mus­cles con­tract­ing. “Buns of steel”.

The glu­teus max­i­mus works in tan­dem with the rec­tus fe­moris, sta­bil­is­ing the legs through a full range of nat­u­ral move­ment—when con­nected to Base-Line sup­port.

Now the key mus­cles to con­nect­ing mind to mus­cles, body to brain …

The body’s ‘core pillar of strength’ …

Your ‘Base-Line’:

3. Pelvic floor. BASE

The pelvic floor—a bas­ket of mus­cles within the bones of the pelvis.

Sev­eral small mus­cles span­ning the pelvic canal. Left and right sides a mir­ror image.

The pelvic floor—a cres­cent shape on the body’s midline.

Th­ese mus­cles are the base foun­da­tion for the body.

Closely as­so­ci­ated with the anus and gen­i­tals.

Kegel ex­er­cises are the most well-known in­tro­duc­tion to strength­en­ing the pelvic floor mus­cles. Pic­ture these mus­cles con­tract­ing in your mind, feel for them work­ing.   Find a con­nec­tion. Keep work­ing at it.   It will be­come eas­ier the more you prac­tice.

Aim for a bal­anced con­trac­tion left and right sides. Pro­vid­ing the sen­sory in­for­ma­tion for the ‘base’ point of our ‘body map in the mind’ from where the rest of the body ex­tends.

[I get the im­pres­sion that the pelvic floor is gen­er­ally ac­cepted to cor­re­spond to the “root chakra”.]

The pelvic floor mus­cles. The base of the body.

4. Rec­tus ab­do­mi­nis. LINE

“The abs” = rec­tus ab­do­mi­nis mus­cles.

Strong and pow­er­ful, the mus­cles that al­low the body to bend and flex in all di­rec­tions when func­tion­ing at op­ti­mal.

Think of these mus­cles as your cen­tral LINE, ex­tend­ing from a solid Base, that should be free to move and fully ex­tend­able.

The rec­tus ab­do­mi­nis mus­cles:

  • 2 par­allel strips of ‘pan­els’ of mus­cle. The pan­els cre­ate the “6 pack look” but the num­ber of sec­tions of mus­cle de­pends on the in­di­vi­d­ual − 4, 6, 8, 10 packs can oc­cur.

  • Pelvis to chest.

  • Either side of the linea alba—our pri­mary guide for body al­ign­ment.

Place your hands over the mus­cles, start­ing from the bone be­tween your legs (pu­bic sym­ph­ysis) then, as you breathe in, move your hands up think­ing of ac­ti­vat­ing and elon­gat­ing - sec­tion by sec­tion—all the way up to your chest. Re­peat to lengthen the mus­cles as much as you can.

Think of the pan­els of mus­cle as a set of lights to be ac­ti­vated in se­quence. Or what­ever works for you …

Find the first 3 mark­ers in the body al­ign­ment game with your Base-Line mus­cles.

The rec­tus ab­do­mi­nis mus­cles—our core pillar of strength.

Breathe with your Base-Line. Think stronger and longer with ev­ery breathe in.

5. Trapezius

A blan­ket of mus­cle that should be smooth and wrin­kle-free.

  • Can you drop your head for­ward, ex­tend­ing from mid-back, with­out ten­sion?

  • Can you spread your arms wide, from midline to finger­tips with­out re­stric­tion?

  • Can you lift your arms up above your head feel­ing the trapez­ius mus­cles fully ex­tend?

The trapez­ius mus­cles can be thought of as 6 sec­tions (ap­prox­i­mat­ing − 2 tri­an­gles and a hori­zon­tal strip to the shoulders on each side as shown above).

  • Mid-back, feel from bot­tom of the rib-cage ex­tend­ing up.

  • Ex­tend­ing out to each shoulder.

  • Feel for all the bony bits where the trapez­ius at­taches near the shoulder.

    • a ‘pen­cil’ like bone at the front (the col­lar bone/​clav­i­cle).

    • lumps of bone at shoulder and a ridge of bone at the back. (parts of the shoulder blade/​scapula).

  • Sculpted over the front of the col­lar bone and up the sides of the neck.

  • The trapez­ius mus­cles at­tach to the back of the skull. Feel for the ridge and midline bump at the back of the skull.

  • The is a con­nec­tive tis­sue ‘el­lipse’ as the trapez­ius mus­cles meet in the up­per back/​be­tween the shoulders re­gion.

Move­ment of the up­per body should be­gin from the lower trapez­ius.

Like wings ex­tend­ing from the mid­dle of your back.

Think of lift­ing your shoulders from be­low, rather than pul­ling them up.

The trapez­ius mus­cles meet midline and merge with the nuchal/​supraspinous lig­a­ments—our ‘sec­ondary guides for al­ign­ment’.

The trapez­ius mus­cles—guid­ing and sup­port­ing the head and arms through a full range of move­ment and al­ign­ing the up­per body.

Work­ing Towards Body Align­ment & Balance:

Imag­ine a rib­bon from pu­bic sym­ph­ysis of your pelvis:

To the ex­ter­nal oc­cip­i­tal pro­tu­ber­ance (midline bump) at the back of your skull:

It should be pos­si­ble to fully ex­tend the rib­bon where our midline anatomy is ‘al­igned’.

This is pos­si­ble when the body has a full range of move­ment and is func­tion­ing at op­ti­mum. Body al­ign­ment and bal­ance.


Work­ing with Base-Line (pelvic floor rec­tus ab­do­mi­nis) mus­cles gives us a con­nec­tion to sens­ing the po­si­tion of our linea alba (“white line” in Latin).

The linea alba—our pri­mary guide for body al­ign­ment.

Feel for the anatom­i­cal mark­ers as­so­ci­ated with the linea alba:

1. Pu­bic sym­ph­ysis (home of the cli­toris/​sus­pen­sory lig­a­ment of the pe­nis).

2. Navel (belly but­ton).

3. Xiphoid pro­cess—midline “⋏ at the bot­tom of breast­bone (ster­num).

Can these 3 midline mark­ers form a straight line?

As far apart as pos­si­ble?

How does that feel? Take a break and play the body al­ign­ment game.

BODY ALIGNMENT with the main mus­cles of move­ment:

Find your 5 main mus­cles and work to­wards re­gain­ing a full range of nat­u­ral move­ment, re­leas­ing the phys­i­cal ten­sions on your body. The key to bet­ter health.

Time and Effort Re­quired.

      • Find these 5 mus­cles on your body.

      • Be guided by your Base-Line and get mov­ing. Use the roll-down ac­tion.

      • Feel for en­gage­ment and bal­ance as you work with these mus­cles.

      • Develop the con­nec­tion be­tween mus­cles and mind.

Link to 3D model on biodigi­ (not finished but might be worth a play with.)

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