Muscular System

Published on June 13th, 2015 | by AnatomyHelper


Appendicular muscles: I hate flashcards! Want to try something new?

Flashcards are my nemesis.  I am a visual learner.  In college I created elaborate drawings and diagrams to study from.  When I made flashcards, they  just seemed to gather dust.  However, when it was my turn to learn the muscular system in A&P, I’ll be honest, I struggled.  Even as a newbie professor, I had difficulty memorizing the OIAs simply because flashcards seem like the obvious approach….and I hate flashcards.

Eventually, I found a method that worked.  I had to search for a picture of each individual muscle isolated on the skeleton, and then I could study the picture and commit it to memory!  Those images are usually tough to find, but, I recently found a really good resource of them.  Check it out! This one too!

Being a teacher, I wanted to find a way to make OIAs more accessible to my students.  Since it’s well known that students learn best when they interact with the material they are learning, I wanted to find someway to make OIAs interactive.  (The interaction forces the brain to assimilate the information and problem solving, in this case, in the form of drawing, allows us to retrieve the information with more clarity.)  Ok, enough of the teaching mumbo jumbo, eh?  The result of all this is the “supplemental exercise” that I have posted below.  I hope to follow this post soon with a video that will help explain things further.

THE SUPPLEMENTAL EXERCISE: There are two ways to use this method.

  1. HOMEWORK STYLE: print out the muscle exercise (CLICK HERE!), then fill out the muscle OIs, then draw the “stick-figure” muscles.
  2. STUDY STYLE: print out the skeleton images (CLICK HERE!), then LAMINATE and you can draw, erase and re-draw each muscle with whiteboard marker as a way to study!  Quiz yourself or create a game with your study partners.

How to draw the muscles
This is really up to you.  But I suggest using a small ‘o’ over the landmark from which the muscle originates, and then either an ‘x’ or a small point over the landmark where the muscle inserts.  If it has multiple attachment points then you can get creative!  I tend to draw a line connecting all origins etc.  Take a look at the video if you want to see more!

Lastly, I picked some muscles to focus on that I think are the best candidates for this type of exercise.  But, I’ve included the full skeleton in the larger print outs which will allow you to draw whatever muscles you want to study.

This is meant as a STUDY TOOL, take some creative license and make it your own.  Nothing says you have to use this method exactly like I do.

Hope this is helpful!  I’d love to hear your feedback so I can improve this exercise for future students.  Let me know how it goes… and stay tuned for the video.

Here are the links one more time:


skeleton images

– The AnatomyHelper

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About the Author

Hi. I love Anatomy and Physiology. I want you to love it too! But, even if you don't, I would like to help you earn a better grade on your next exam! I've taught A&P at several institutions so I have a pretty good idea about what teachers are looking for, and what students struggle with. I hope you find this site useful!

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