What Is The Difference Between A Muscle Origin And Insertion

In today’s video training, you’ll learn The Difference Between A Muscle Origin And Insertion, as well as an easy way to remember them for your exam

You need to learn and remember origins and insertions as part of your Level 2 or Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology Exam. Before you try to remember all of the muscle facts, you need to know how a muscle origin is different from a muscle insertion.

First of all, watch the 6-minute video tutorial and then test your knowledge using the three mock questions at the bottom of this blog.

Watch: What Is The Difference Between A Muscle Origin And Insertion

What Is The Difference Between A Muscle Origin And Insertion

Understanding the Anatomy of a Skeletal Muscle…

Before we understand the terminology of Origins and insertions, we need to explore the anatomy of a skeletal muscle.

A skeletal muscle is a type of muscle that is voluntary and striated. This includes our Biceps Brachii, Quadriceps, Gastrocnemius, and even our Diaphragm and Transversus Abdominus.

These muscles are striated which means there are lines of muscle fibres that run the length of the muscle.

At the end of the muscle, the fibres bundle together into a tendon, which is a thick connective tissue. The tendon connects the muscle to the bone creating an attachment site.

Skeletal muscles are responsible for mechanical movement at our joints.

This happens because each muscle crosses one or more joints.

When the muscle contracts and the muscle fibres shorten, it pulls on the tendon, which pulls on the bone, and moves the two (or more) attachment points towards each other.

This is a joint action.

For example when the Biceps Brachii contracts concentrically, it shortens, and pulls on the tendon, moving the Radius (in the forearm) towards the humerus (upper arm)

… creating elbow flexion

The Role of a Muscle Origin And Insertion

Origins and Insertions are both names given to the attachment point whereby the tendon connects the bone.

However, the ORIGIN is the Start point (where the muscle Originates)

and the INSERTION is the Finish point,

Imagine a running race you have a start line, a running route and then a finish line.

The origin is the start line and the muscle fibres are the running route, which culminates at the insertion, (aka the finish line)

The muscle fibres run from Origin to Insertion.

This means that when the muscle contracts and shortens… the insertion is pulled towards the origin.

Movement based on Muscle Origins And Insertions

Imagine a tug of war competition

Whereby you have one team at the origin and one team at the insertion.

The origin is anchored down and doesn’t move at all

When the muscle contracts, the tug of war begins, gradually bringing the insertion towards the origin vis the sliding filament theory

This is because the ORIGIN is on the stationary bone (the one that stays still)

and the INSERTION is on the moving bone

Take the example of the Pectoralis Major.

The origins are the Clavicle, Sternum, and Ribs

The Insertion is on the humerus

The muscle fibres are organised in lines running from the origin to the insertion.

When the muscle contracts and shortens, the humerus is pulled towards the sternum, clavicle and ribs. This creates the joint action of horizontal flexion of the shoulder.

Learning Origins and Insertions

You need to know 37 Muscles for your Level 2 anatomy exam, and 50 muscles for your level 3 anatomy and physiology exam. As part of this, you need to understand the origin and insertion of each muscle, and the joint action created when the muscle contracts.

This may sound like a lot of information to remember, so I have created a video training to help you learn this in 5 steps. Watch the video on the link below, learn, revise and pass your exam with confidence


Test your knowledge with 3 Mock Questions

Look at the Muscle Anatomy and Physiology Mock questions below and jot down your answer on scrap paper or as a note on your phone.

Then scroll down to reveal the answers.

1) What name is given to the muscle attachment on the moving bone?

A. Origin
B. Insertion
C. Periosteum
D. Tendon

2) What connective tissue connects muscle to the bone?

A. Tendon
B. Ligament
C. Myosin
D. Fascia

3) What is the Insertion of the Pectoralis Major?

A. Clavicle, sternum and ribs
B. Humerus
C. Sacrum and lumbar
D. Radius


Q1: Answer = B
Q2: Answer = A
Q3: Answer = 

If you want more mock questions like this, then you can download more Free Mock Questions: DOWNLOAD NOW

How to learn orgins and insertions?

Learn, Revise & Remember All 50 Muscles In The Level 3 Anatomy & Physiology Exam.

(and the BEST part…You can do all this in as little as 5-minutes a day)

Each flashcard gives you a clear image and six clear muscle facts:

1️⃣ Name and Location

2️⃣ Origin and Insertions

3️⃣ Muscle Actions

4️⃣ Joints Crossed

5️⃣ Primary Planes Of Movement

6️⃣ Exercise Examples

Dedicated to More

Hayley “Difference Between A Muscle Origin And Insertion” Bergman

Parallel Coaching

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