A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z references


A body characterized by a muscular physique with wide shoulders. Tends to be inflexible but with high endurance. When weight is gained it tends to go to the waist and belly. 3

Also see somatype


Multifidus spinae

Deep back muscles which span three levels of vertebrae. Help maintain the stability of the spine.


(skeletal) muscles

Made up of bundles of fibres. Cover ligaments, bones, and joints and permit movement by contracting.


muscle contraction

see contraction


neutral pelvis

The position where the pelvis is neither tilted neither forward or back. The optimal position for movement. In neutral the anterior hip bone is slightly lower than the posterior superior iliac spine 9

Also see hip bone, iliac spine, pelvis

Neutral Pelvis


Superficial abdominal muscles that lie over the Transversalis abdominis and run in an oblique line around the side of the trunk.

See Obliquus Externus, Obliquus Internus
Also see abs, Transversalis abdominis


Obliquus Externus
(External Obliques)

Also known as the descending obliques these are the largest and most superficial layer of abdominal muscle. They arise from the eight lower ribs and attach either straight down to the iliac crest to diagonally across to an aponeurosis that stretches across the front of the abdomen. 4

Contracting one side causes side bending or rotation on the opposite side. Contracting both causes flexion of the trunk. 2

Transverse Section Superficial Muscles

Obliquus Internus
(Internal Obliques)

Also known as the ascending obliques these are under the Obliquus Externus but over the Transversalis abdominis. They arise from Poupartís ligament, the iliac crest, and lumar fascia and attaches either horizontally into the linea alba or upward and inwards into the aponeurosis which divides the Rectus abdominis. 4

Contracting one side causes side bending or rotation on the same side. Contracting both causes flexion of the trunk. 2

Transverse Section Superficial Muscles

pelvic floor

The pelvic floor is a horizontal diaphram formed of ligaments and muscle tissue in the bowl of the pelvis which supports the organs.
See pelvis


pelvic ring

Pelvis means basin. It is a very strong cylindrical structure made up of several bones (hip bones, sacrum, & coccyx), associated muscles, and ligaments that connects the spine (and trunk) to the legs. 2 4

Also see hip bones

The Pelvis


science of functions and phenomena of living organisms and their parts 1



More to the back



How you hold your body. Years of incorrect posture can modify your body - tightening some parts and weakening others

Also see kyphosis/lordosis, lordosis neutral pelvis, sway back
and Moves:stance

Posture Types

posture muscles

Muscles whose function is maintaining posture rather than creating movement. These muscles need to be able to function for long periods of time. Their onset tends to be slow (3-5s).

Transversalis abdominis and Multifidus spinae are examples of posture muscles.


Poupart's ligament
(cruchal arch)

Travels across the top of the leg from the anterior superior iliac spine to the pubic spine. 4


quadratus lumborum

originates from the posterior iliac crest and inserts on rib 12 and the transverse processes of L1-L5 (ie runs from bottom of ribs to the back of the pelvis and connects to spine)2



Four muscles in the front of the thigh. The Rectus femoris is in the middle of the thigh and connects the ilium to the patella tendon. The others connect the femur to the patella tendon. 6


range of motion

How much movement is possible at a joint. This varies from person to person and is influenced by congenial differences, injuries, flexibility, and the state of muscles.

For instance the angle between the neck of the femur and the shaft can influence the range of abduction; ROM for hip extension is reduced when the knee is flexed. 2 The body prefers to work in the mid-range of its ROM. Thus if it has more range in one direction that it should, it should be worked to approach a more balanced ROM. 9


Rectus abdominis

A long flat muscle that runs down the front of the abdomen. Each side is divided by the linea alba.4

This muscle is mainly a flexor of the trunk 2.

Transverse Section Superficial Muscles


Movement of a bone around its longitudinal axis5



Muscles that rotate part of the body5



See Lateral Flexion


sitting bone / sitz bone

See ischial tuberosity



Type of body one is born with. Most people have a mix of body types. You cannot change your somatype only modify within the limitations. For instance an endomorph will never be tall and lean, a mesomorph will always have to continually work on flexibility.

Also see anthropometry, ectomorph, endomorph, mesomorph, and the article on somatypes


"stomach muscles"

The stomach is the principal organ of digestion. Its muscles are used to mix and move the chyme.

The abdominal muscles are more relevant to dancers. See abs.



A sliding elongation of the overlapping protein fibres in the myofilaments resulting in a lengthening of the myofilaments past their current resting length. 6

For more information on stretching try this summary or check out the books or links.


stretch reflex

If a muscle is suddenly stretched the reflex is to involuntarily contract. Stretching at this point can cause tears. This is why bouncing is harmful.6


sway back

A posture type where the pelvis & top of the thighs are moved forward - often hanging by the ligaments of the hip - and the upper body swayed back to balance it.

With this posture type the lower abs, external obliques, hip flexors, and external hip rotators need strengthening. The posterior muscles need strengthening (cf lordosis).

Also see lordosis

Posture Types


See Transversalis abdominis



Attach muscle to bone. Most inelastic tissue in body. Tendons cannot be stretched. Will rupture at about 10% stretch but usually bones will break first. However, small tears in connection at 3%. 6

Tendon and muscle

thoracic extension

Refers to how much the upper back can bend. A simple test is to lie face down on the floor. Chin on the floor, arms outstretched with the thumbs together. Now lift your arms off the ground. Your aim is 15cm. 9


thoracic spine
aka dorsal vertebrae

These 12 vertebrae support the ribs (T1-T12).


Transversalis abdominis

Are the deepest superficial abdominal muscle. They arise from Poupartís ligament, the iliac crest, the lower ribs, and the lumbar fascia. The fibres mostly run across the abdomen to an aponeurosis. 4

Contraction helps corset the spine. 9

Also see posture muscles.

Transverse Section Superficial Muscles


Amount of exterior rotation from the hip joint.



Advantages of a warm-up include reducing chance of injury, preparing the body, and preparing the mind (learn easier).

A Warm-up should raise the pulse & internal body temperature, and move large muscles & mobilize joints. A Warm-up is not stretching, sitting in front of a heater or applying skin stimulants.

For more information try this summary or check out the books or links.


1 The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Oxford, 7th ed, 1982
2 Calais-Germain, Blandine, Anatomy of Movement, Eastland Press, 1993
3 Fitt, S, Dance Kinesiology, Schirmer Books
4 Gray, Henry, Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical, 15th ed, Bounty Books, 1977
5 Queensland University of Technology 2002, KDB198 Safe Dance Practices notes, Brisbane, QUT
6 Stark, Dr Steven D, The Stark Reality of Stretching, 4th ed (rev),The Stark Reality Corp, 1999 (1997)
7 St George, Francine, Muscle Fitness Book, Simon & Schuster Australia, 1995 (1989)
8 St George, Francine, The Stretching Handbook, Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994
9 lectures with Michael Dalgleish

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