NCSF Personal Training Study Guide Chapter 2 – Functional Anatomy and Training Instruction
NCSF Personal Training Study Guide Chapter 2 – Functional Anatomy and Training Instruction 1

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    Chapter Goals:

    • Have a firm understanding of the skeletal system and the characteristics of bones.
    • Know the various types of joints and their accompanying functions.
    • Know the types of muscle tissues.
    • Know the types of muscle contractions.
    • Be able to recognize the planes of movement.
    • Know the many grip styles used during exercise.

    Human Movement

    The body is referred to as a living machine, and both machines and the body are made up of a frame with many levers that act on moving parts and structural joints.

    The length of time the machine can perform at a proficient level is determined by the integrity of its parts, the efficiency of the structural system, and the economy of the applicable movements.

    Composition of Bones

    The skeletal system is the body’s frame that we discussed. It is going to give the body the shape, protection, and support needed.

    The skeletal has mineral components that allow it to have rigidity and protein components that give it the needed tension.

    Bone tissues are hardened with calcium salts, and as such, they have around 98% of the calcium in the body.

    Some of the other significant components of bone would be phosphate, carbonate, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and collagen.

    Homeostasis is the body’s desire to stay in a constant, desirable range of conditions so that equilibrium in the physiological systems is present.

    Bone mineral density is the mineral content in a given bone volume. We use this as a measure of bone health and for the potential diagnosis of diseases like osteoporosis.

    Osteopenia is a pre-disease condition in which the bone mineral density is considered lower than normal for someone’s age and sex but not yet low enough to meet the standard for osteoporosis.

    Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bone mineral density causes the structures to become brittle and weak, and this will usually lead to fractures or disability. This can come from hormonal changes, sedentary lifestyles, or deficiencies in energy, calcium, or vitamin D.

    The skeleton is a system of levers that allow the body to maintain postural control, perform movements in varied ranges, and protect our most vital organs.

    We have many types of bones in the body.

    Bone Growth

    The skeleton starts as cartilage and is slowly replaced by actual bone as it is matured. This process is called ossification.

    During normal maturation, bones increase in size and get remodeled by the removal and subsequent replacement of bone. This is done by the epiphyseal plates at the epiphysis of long bones.

    Epiphyseal plates are transverse cartilage plates near the ends of long bones, and they are responsible for the main growth during childhood and adolescence.

    Bone mass is represented as the surface area of bone and total tissue volume.

    An important factor to keeping bone mineral density is by doing weight-bearing activity. This puts pressure on the bones and tells the body to structure them accordingly.

    Weight-bearing activity is defined as any activity in which the weight of the body must be supported while doing the movements. These are favored for their increases in bone mass, strength, and resilience.

    A good note for trainers is that in adolescence, resistance training has been seen to be a potential concern for risking damage to the bone growth process.

    Joint Classifications

    A joint is the intersection of two bones.

    These joints are going to allow for various forms of movement, but it entirely depends on the type of joint.

    Synovial joints are a type of joint that uses synovial fluid to reduce frictional stresses and allow for considerable movement between the associated articulating bones.

    Hyaline cartilage is a tough and elastic connective tissue found in many parts and joints of the body. It allows for minimal movement, depending on the surrounding anatomy.

    Fibrous joints are the ones not intended to move, or maybe just a little.

    Cartilaginous joints are ones that unite articular surfaces with hyaline cartilage, and this allows for slight movement. it can also have fibrocartilage, which allows the greater ability for movements.

    This makes the three main types of joints fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial.

    Synovial Joints

    The majority of joints in the skeleton are synovial joints, as these will accommodate motion and daily activity needs.

    This section will mostly have relevant definitions.

    Joint capsules are connective tissue enclosures that surround the specific joints and are made up of a fibrous membrane and inner synovial membrane.

    The periosteum is a dense fibrous membrane covering the surface of bones, and it serves as the site of attachment for tendons to connect the muscles to bones.

    Bursa is the small fluid sacs that are used for reducing friction between bony and connective tissues when moving.

    Ligaments are the tough fibrous bands of connective tissue that are used to support the internal organs and attach the adjacent bones at articulation sites.

    Tendons are the tough fibrous bands of connective tissue that connect muscles to bones.

    The types of Synovial joints we have are:

    • Plane
    • Pivot
    • Hinge
    • Condyloid
    • Saddle
    • Ball-and-socket

    Proprioceptors are special sensory receptors found inside the joints and connective tissues that are used for signaling the body about the position and movement, thus managing the muscle and tendon tension.

    Hypermobility in joints is defined as movement ability that is past the normal, healthy ranges.

    How Joints Work

    The joints move when there are internal and external forces applied to the skeleton.

    Voluntary movements will have the coordinated muscles contracting to produce internal force, and this acts on the bone by way of the tendon.

    The internal tension is monitored by way of the Golgi tendon organ, which is a special kinesthetic receptor near the muscle-tendon junction, and it acts to send reflexive signals to the spinal cord for the regulation of muscle tensions.

    Types of Muscle Tissue

    There are three types of muscle tissue in the muscular system. These are skeletal, cardiac, and smooth. Each of them has its own functions.

    Skeletal muscle is a type of striated muscle that is attached to the skeleton for the facilitation of movements by way of force put on bones and joints. It is the voluntary form of muscle action.

    Cardiac muscle is a type of involuntary muscle which is striated but mononucleated and found only in our heart.

    Smooth muscle is the last type, and this is involuntary, not striated, and it is found in the walls of organs and vascular structures.

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    Skeletal Muscle Architecture

    The skeletal muscle will be organized into several layers. We will define these in their order from the outermost to the innermost.

    Epimysium is a dense collection of collagen fibers that cover the surface of the muscle.

    Perimysium is a layer of tissue under the epimysium that surrounds the bundles of fibers.

    Endomysium is the last layer, and it is a thin sheath of connective tissue that separates and covers the individual muscle fibers.

    A bundle of fibers is called a fascicle. This is made of the muscle fibers, which are again separated by the endomysium.

    The sarcolemma is the external lamina of reticular fibers, and it is essentially an extension of the muscle fiber.

    The mitochondria are known as the powerhouse of the cell since it is responsible for the most energy production and metabolic processes within the cells.

    Myofibrils are the sectional units found within each muscle fiber which has bundles of myofilaments.

    Myofilaments are the long protein elements shaped like cylinders that allow for contraction of the muscles.

    How Muscles Contract

    The skeletal muscles must contract so that they can produce internal tensile and compressive forces.

    The central nervous system sends signals that stimulate the muscles through electrical and chemical signals, which cause shortening and production of tension.

    Muscle fibers are arranged like factories, with each small structure having its own function to create tension.

    The sliding filament theory helps to explain what happens at a more molecular level. This involves the multi-step interaction between actin and myosin during the muscle contractions.

    A motor neuron is a nerve cell in the PNS that propagates electrical impulses to working musculature to regulate contractions and bodily movement.

    A motor unit is a motor neuron and all of the fibers that it innervates.

    The neuromuscular junction is a junction where a motor neuron and muscle cells interact through chemical-electrical impulses, which will facilitate the stimulation of contracting muscle cells.

    The excitation-contraction coupling is the process where an action potential propagates across the sarcolemma, and this triggers the release of calcium by the sarcoplasmic reticulum to initiate muscular contraction.

    Adenosine triphosphate is the main energy source in muscle cells, and this comes bout through many different metabolic processes.

    Force Production

    Muscle fibers are able to either produce maximum force or no force at all. This is known as the All-or-none principle.

    So, the amount of force produced is equal to the number of fibers that are stimulated and the frequency of these stimulations.

    For the production of the tension needed for movement, groups of motor units are stimulated as the CNS directs. 

    Generally, we see motor units working together in a tag-team fashion with alternating fire.

    Force production is increased when there are three things:

    • Increased firing rate
    • Increased recruitment
    • Improved synchronicity

    Types of Muscle Contractions

    Isotonic – tension says while the joint angle changes. This is seen in most activities that include concentric and eccentric parts.

    Isometric – tension is created, but n changes occur in joint angles. This often happens in the stabilizing muscles for the regulation of body segment positioning.

    Isokinetic – this shows the constant speed of movement, regardless of the applied force of the muscle.

    Eccentric – this is a muscle contraction where the resisting force is more than the applied muscular force, and this means the muscle will lengthen as it contracts.

    Concentric – this is a muscle contraction where the working tissues apply more force than the applied resistance, causing the muscle to shorten and overcome the resistance.

    Muscle Fiber Types

    The type of muscle fiber recruited for the particular contraction is dependent on the amount of force you need for the outcome you want.

    We have three different types of muscle fibers: type I, type IIA, type IIX

    Type I fibers are slow-twitch fibers that are considered to be oxidative and possess the lowest level of power output of the three. They are the most resistant to fatigue and well suited for long-distance or time aerobic events.

    Type IIA fibers are thein between fibers. These are considered fast-twitch, oxidative-glycolytic fibers that pass intermediate power output capabilities, intermediate fiber diameter, and moderate resistance to fatigue. These are more present in strength and power activity and also partly in prolonged work. This makes them very versatile.

    Type IIX fibers are fast-twitch glycolytic fibers that have the highest output of power, the largest sized fibers, and lower resistance to fatiguing. They give the most support during strength and power events.

    Anaerobic means the metabolic process of energy production will not require any oxygen.

    Aerobic means the metabolic process of energy production where the presence of oxygen is needed.

    Fiber Type Distribution

    This is, for the most part, predetermined, and there is no great way to change these concentrations.

    Positional Lines and Movement Planes

    We have three planes of motion and three axes of rotation that occur in these planes.

    Sagittal plane – this is the plane of movement split by the midline of the body and putting the body into left and right halves.

    Frontal plane – this is the plane of movement where we split the body with the midaxillary line, which breaks the body into front and back halves.

    Transverse plane – this is the plane of movement which breaks the body into its top and bottom halves.

    Spatial Terms to Know

    Anatomical position – this is a referenced posture used in anatomical descriptions where the subject stands erect and with their feet parallel, arms adducted and supinate, palms facing toward the front.

    Midline – this is the median plane of the body.

    Anterior axillary line – this line is at the crease of the axilla or the underarm.

    Midaxillary line – this is a perpendicular line that we draw down from the axilla’s apex.

    Anterior – we use this to refer to placing before or in front.

    Posterior – we use this to refer to a location behind a part or to the rear of the structure.

    Ventral – we use this to refer to the same as anterior.

    Dorsal – we use this to refer to the same as posterior.

    Proximal – this is considered to be something situated closest to the point of attachment.

    Distal – this is considered to be something furthest from the point of attachment, like a limb or a bone.

    Medial – this is when something is at, near, or in the center.

    Lateral – this is when something is situated or extending away from the medial plane of the body.

    Ipsilateral – relating to the same side of the body

    Contralateral – relating to the opposing side of the body

    Superficial – shallow proximity in relation to some surface

    Deep – extending inward in relation to the surface layer

    Anatomical Movement Terms

    Flexion – to bend, hinge joint flex by bringing the bones closer. Ball-and-socket joints have the limb move anterior to the midaxillary.

    Extension – this means to straighten or extend.

    Lateral flexion – spinal movements that go to the sides, and it occurs in the neck and trunk.

    Protraction – this is the movement of a structure toward the anterior surface in a straight line.

    Retraction – this is the movement back to anatomical position.

    Dorsiflexion – this is the movement of the ball of the foot toward the shin.

    Plantarflexion – this is the movement of the foot toward the plantar surface.

    Pronation – this is the unique rotation of the forearm which crosses the radius and ulna.

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    Supination – this is the unique opposing rotation of the forearm where the radius and ulna uncross.

    Inversion – turning the ankle, so the plantar surface of the foot faces medially.

    Eversion – turning the ankle, so the plantar surface of the foot faces laterally.

    Abduction – moving away from the midline.

    Adduction – moving to the midline.

    Hyperextension – this is an extension of the joint past the average range of motion.

    Ulnar deviation – joint action at the wrist that causes the hand to move medially towards the little finger in the frontal plane

    Radial deviation – Joint action at the wrist that causes the hand to move laterally towards the thumb in the frontal plane.

    External rotation – this is where the articulating bones rotate away from the body’s anatomical position.

    Internal rotation – this is where the articulating bone rotates toward the body’s anatomical position.

    Circumduction – Circular movement

    Elevation – superior movement

    Depression – inferior movement

    Horizontal abduction – movement from the midline in the transverse plane

    Horizontal adduction – the movement to the midline in the transverse plane

    Rotation – the turning of structures around their axis

    Muscle Identification

    There are over 600 muscles that work together throughout our bodies. Some of these are voluntary, and some of these are not.

    Spine and Neck

    The human body’s vertebral column, or the spine, is put into five independent parts with their own cooperative functions.

    When it comes to the bone breakdown of the spine, we have 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, the sacrum, and the coccyx.

    We have four major curves of the spine that help assist us in absorbing shock, moving properly, and keeping our posture.

    Neutral spine is the term we use for the proper general posture of the spine.

    Lordosis is a noted exaggeration in the lordotic curve of the spine, and it can lead to posture issues and injuries over time.

    Kyphosis is an exaggerated kyphotic curve in the spine which also may lead to posture problems or injuries.

    The primary spine and trunk muscles to know are the rectus abdominus, external oblique, internal oblique, transverse abdominus, erector spinae group, and the quadratus lumborum.

    Pelvic Positioning

    The pelvis has a close relationship with the spine.

    There are issues to be informed about, and they are different forms of pelvic tilt.

    Anterior pelvic tilt – A forward rotational movement of the iliac crests of the pelvis, originating from the lumbosacral joint, which impacts the curvature of the spine.

    Posterior pelvic tilt – A backward rotational movement of the iliac crests of the pelvis originating from the lumbosacral joint, which impacts the curvature of the spine.


    The shoulder joint is called the glenohumeral joint, and it is a ball-and-socket joint allowing for more movement than any other joint in the body.

    There are four main muscles when it comes to the shoulder, and they form the rotator cuff.

    These four muscles can be remembered by the word SITS. These muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.

    The other three muscles to note with the rotator cuff are the deltoid, pectoralis major, and latissimus dorsi.

    Shoulder Girdle

    The shoulder girdle is a joint complex that includes the joints between the sternum and clavicle and the clavicle and scapula.

    There are four muscles to not for this area, which are the trapezius, rhomboid major, pectoralis minor, and levator scapulae.


    This is a hinge joint in the arm that allows for extension and flexion.

    The main muscles to note and know about are the biceps brachii, triceps brachii, brachioradialis, and brachialis.

    Radioulnar Joint

    This is where the radius and ulna of the forearm come to form a pivot joint and then give the ability to supinate or pronate the hand.


    The movements of the wrist happen in three planes.

    The main muscles here are the flexor carpi radialis, flexor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi radialis, and the extensor carpi ulnaris.


    The movements of the hip happen at the articular surface of the acetabulum and the femoral head. The hip’s joint capsule is very dense and gives great strength and stability.

    The main muscles of this part of the body are the psoas major, iliacus, glute max, glute med, glute min, tensor fascia latae, piriformis, and the quadratus femoris.


    The relationship of movement here is like the elbow. It is another hinge joint.

    The main muscles here are the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, sartorius, biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor Magnus, and pectineus.


    This is a slightly more complicated hinge joint that allows for plantar flexion and dorsiflexion.

    This is one of the most injured joints, with ankle sprains being the top injury.

    The main muscles acting on this joint are the gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis anterior, peroneus tertius, peroneus brevis, and peroneus longus.

    We see some common deformations of the foot, like flat and hollow feet.

    The rest of this chapter covers the primary exercises for the many joints of the body. This is covering the resistance-focused exercises that are used for strength purposes. It is important to know how to perform each of these.

    NCSF Personal Training Study Guide Chapter 2 – Functional Anatomy and Training Instruction 2
    NCSF Personal Training Study Guide Chapter 2 – Functional Anatomy and Training Instruction 3
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