Here is an explanation of each area of the muscle and its function:
Starting with the smallest first, on its own is a muscle fibre. A muscle fibre is made up of protein filaments, myosin and actin. These filaments slide past each other when the muscle contracts and relaxes.
A muscle fibre is housed in a special membrane (or sheath) called the sarcolemma. This membrane separates each muscle fibre.
Each muscle fibre then belongs to an individual bundle that is surrounded by the connective tissue known as the endomysium.
Groups of muscle bundles are then surrounded by the connective tissue called the perimysium.
All the muscle bundles and the perimysium are surrounded by a dense, yet elastic connective tissue called the epimysium. This is the outer muscle sheath.
The epimysium becomes denser and less elastic at the ends of the muscles to form very dense tissue, known as tendons.
All of the connective tissues that surround either groups of muscle fibers or individual muscle fibers are a form of fascia. There’s a quick lesson on fascia and its importance at the end of this module.
Muscle Fiber Types
Muscles can be catergorised as either fast twitch or slow twitch muscle fibers. Watch the Muscle fiber video to learn about their importance in understanding and managing the thoroughbred horse.
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