The structure and functions of the musculoskeletal system


Additional information


Identification of the bones at the following locations:

  • head/neck – cranium and vertebrae
  • shoulder – scapula and humerus
  • chest – ribs and sternum
  • elbow – humerus, radius and ulna
  • hip – pelvis and femur
  • knee – femur and tibia (students should also know that the patella sits in front of the knee joint)
  • ankle – tibia, fibula and talus.

Structure of the skeleton

How the skeletal system provides a framework for movement (in conjunction with the muscular system):

  • the skeletal system allows movement at a joint
  • the shape and type of the bones determine the amount of movement (short bones enable finer controlled movements/long bones enable gross movement)
  • flat bones for protection of vital organs
  • the different joint types allow different types of movement
  • the skeleton provides a point of attachment for muscles – when muscles contract they pull the bone.

Functions of the skeleton

  • support
  • protection of vital organs by flat bones
  • movement
  • structural shape and points for attachment
  • mineral storage
  • blood cell production.

Functions should be applied to performance in physical activity.

Muscles of the body

Identification of the following muscles within the body:

  • latissimus dorsi
  • deltoid
  • rotator cuffs
  • pectorals
  • biceps
  • triceps
  • abdominals
  • hip flexors
  • gluteals
  • hamstring group (not individual names)
  • quadriceps group (not individual names)
  • gastrocnemius
  • tibialis anterior.

Students should be taught the role of tendons (attaching muscle to bones).

Structure of a synovial joint

Identification of the following structures of a synovial joint and how they help to prevent injury:

  • synovial membrane
  • synovial fluid
  • joint capsule
  • bursae
  • cartilage
  • ligaments.

Types of freely movable joints that allow different movements

Identification of the types of joints with reference to the following:

  • elbow, knee and ankle – hinge joint
  • hip and shoulder – ball and socket.

How joints differ in design to allow certain types of movement at a joint

Understand that the following types of movement are linked to the appropriate joint type, which enables that movement to take place:

  • flexion/extension at the shoulder, elbow, hip and knee
  • abduction/adduction at the shoulder
  • rotation of the shoulder
  • circumduction of the shoulder
  • plantar flexion/dorsiflexion at the ankle.

Application to specific sporting actions is in movement analysis.

How the major muscles and muscle groups of the body work antagonistically on the major joints of the skeleton to affect movement in physical activity at the major movable joints

With reference to the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee and ankle joints:

  • major muscle groups operating at these joints (see above)
  • the action of prime movers (agonists)/antagonists
  • bones located at the joint (see above)
  • how these muscle groups work isometrically and isotonically (concentric/eccentric).

The difference between concentric and eccentric (isotonic) contractions.