Human Biology II (Muscles and Movement) BSC202

Understand Human Biology

This course will take you through the biological foundations of movement. Starting with the structure and function of nerves and the nervous system, then moving into skeletal muscle anatomy. You will then develop an understanding of how muscles work, the type of movements available, and how these movements are created. The course then examines in depth the nature of muscular endurance, strength and flexibility, introducing practical skills that you can apply to your clients (or yourself!).

Develop a sound understanding of how movement is created and maintained.


There are 8 lessons as follows:

1. How Nerves Work

  • Structure of the nervous system
  • Neuron function
  • Anatomy of neurons
  • How muscles work with nerves
  • Basic body functions

2. Nerves and Motor Skills

  • Overview
  • Synapses
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Neural circuits
  • Science of motor skills
  • How motor skills develop
  • Physiology of the central nervous system
  • Homeostatic reflex arc
  • Spinal chord and spinal nerves
  • Central Sensio motor programs

3. Skeletal Muscle

  • The skeleton
  • How bones form
  • Anatomy of bone
  • Fractures and fracture healing
  • Types of bones
  • Bone joints
  • Skeletal muscles
  • Smooth muscle
  • Striated voluntary muscle
  • Cardiac muscle
  • Relationship between muscle and skeleton

4. Muscle Organisation

  • Parts of the muscular system: tendons, deep fascia, epimysium etc
  • Types of muscle fibre
  • Muscle types: striated, smooth, cardiac
  • Skeletal muscle types: slow oxidative, fast glycolic, etc
  • What muscle cause what movement

5. Muscular Movement

  • How do muscles move
  • How skeletal muscles produce movement
  • How levers are used to produce muscular movement
  • Group actions
  • Terminology
  • Muscle groups and movements

6. Muscular Development

  • Muscular body function
  • Energy systems
  • Muscular strength
  • Muscular endurance

7. Muscle Flexibility

  • Introduction
  • Flexibility
  • Excitation contraction of muscle
  • Different levels of flexibility
  • Internal flexibility
  • External flexibility

8. Muscles and Posture

  • Posture
  • Gravity support
  • Net movement
  • Benefits of posture
  • Good posture
  • Postural mechanisms
  • Slow and fast twitch muscles
  • Nervous system feedback
  • Posture improvement
  • Ergonomics
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following

  • Explain how nerves cause reactions in the human body.
  • Explain how the nervous system affects motor skill performance.
  • Explain the function and structure of skeletal muscle in the human body.
  • Describe the organisation of muscle tissue in the human body.
  • Describe the mechanics of muscular movement.
  • Explain development of muscular strength and muscular endurance.
  • Selecting muscular flexibility exercises.
  • Explain significance of muscles to posture and general well being.


Here are just some of the things you may be doing:

  • Draw a cross section of the spinal cord, and label the anatomical parts.
  • Explain what happens when an electrical stimulus is sent along the central nervous system, by illustrating and labeling the reflex arc.
  • Explain nerve to nerve synapses, during a specific body movement.
  • Explain activity at muscle-nerve junctions, during the specific body movement.
  • Explain how proprioceptors function, during the specific body movement.
  • Explain processes which occur in the nervous system, when a specific muscle moves.
  • Explain the functioning of the following different sensory receptors:
    • smell
    • sound
    • balance
  • Distinguish between the functions of the following different neuroglia:
    • Astrocytes
    • Oligodendrocytes
    • Microglia
    • Ependymal cells
    • Neurolemmocytes
    • Satellite cells
  • Explain how the function of different parts of the brain affect different specific muscular movements in the body.
  • Explain how a specific voluntary skill is learnt by the body.
  • Explain the dampening affect, as exerted through the cerebellum.
  • Explain how the body perceives speed through the nervous system.
  • Explain the operation of tendons, during a specific movement of a limb.
  • Compare the function of motor with sensory fibres in nerves supplying muscles.
  • Compare differences in the structural characteristics of red and white muscle fibres.
  • Summarise events occurring during muscular contraction, at a microscopic level.
  • Explain how muscles of the hand move when you pick up a tennis ball.
  • Prepare diagrams showing the muscles in the back which provide both support and movement for the spinal column.
  • Explain the significance of these muscles to health, wellbeing and mobility.
  • Explain the principle of levers related to an observed muscular movement.
  • Explain the principle of moments related to an observed muscular movement.
  • Explain muscular movements which occur in the observed subjects, when using three different types of exercise machines.
  • Explain three different body movements, in terms of the action of different bones, muscles and nerves; including the movement of a limb in exercise, and the bending of the back, and one hand movement.
  • Distinguish between isotonic, isometric, eccentric and isokinetic contractions.
  • List ways how strength can be maintained and increased.
  • List ways how endurance can be maintained and increased.
  • Explain three different physiological changes which accompany increased strength.
  • Explain the overload principle, related to muscular development.
  • Explain biological processes in force to effect strength and endurance in an athlete observed and interviewed by you.
  • Compare static and dynamic flexibility, in an individual observed by you.
  • Explain the structural limits to flexibility, in three different people of different ages.
  • List ways of developing flexibility in a specific individual.
  • Explain the relationship between flexibility and aspects of performance in a specific case study.
  • Develop an exercise program to develop/maintain flexibility for a person.
  • Submit photos together with comments on the posture of each person you studied. Comment on the age, sex &, occupation of each of these people. How might posture affect general well being, including arthritis and back pain.


Posture is the position or manner of bearing or holding the body; or the physical stance which the body takes. If the body has good posture, it is holding a stance or position which is preferable -any strain or static pressure on muscles will be balanced, hence undue and possibly damaging forces are not being exerted upon any one part of the body more than any other.

If astatic, or still, unsupported posture is to be maintained for an extended period, the following equilibrium conditions need to be satisfied:

Gravity Support
Determine the centre of gravity of the body, then draw a vertical line from that point to the ground or floor. This line must pass through the body's base of support. For example; if standing -the feet; if sitting -within the four legs of a chair. If this situation does not occur, the body will fall over.

Net Movement
The net movement or torque, each time the body moves, needs to be zero. If this situation does not occur, the body can collapse at its joints. Torque is calculated by multiplying the amount of force exerted by the distance moved. Muscles never work alone: several always work at the same time; and to maintain equilibrium, different muscles must will exert an equal amount of torque in opposite directions.

Benefits of Posture
Good posture involves training your body to stand, walk, sit and lie in positions where the least strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments during movement or weight-bearing activities.

Benefits of proper posture include:

  • Keeps bones and joints in the correct alignment so that muscles are being used properly.
  • Helps decrease the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in arthritis.
  • Decreases the stress on the ligaments holding the joints of the spine together.
  • Prevents the spine from becoming fixed in abnormal positions.
  • Prevents fatigue because muscles are being used more efficiently, allowing the body to use less energy.
  • Prevents strain or overuse problems.
  • Prevents backache and muscular pain.
  • Contributes to a good appearance.

People will not stand totally stationary for long periods if allowed to act naturally: the natural stance involves frequent, though slight movements, perhaps shuffling feet or swaying back and forth. One study showed that the average stance only lasted 30 seconds before a person moved into a slightly different position.


Lying sideways places greater pressure on spinal discs than lying flat on the back, because the width of shoulders and hips will cause the spine to sag in the middle or bend. Similarly, a soft mattress which sags can also cause the spine to bend, placing increased pressure on the spinal discs. Some back pain sufferers however claim that hard beds actually accentuate their problems, which appears to be a contradiction. Lying with legs raised will increase blood returning to the heart through the veins. This is believed to be a good position with hips and knees flexed to around 450.


How Long will it take to complete the course?

This obviously varies from student to student. Some students will have more time for study than others. Some students may work quicker than others, so it is an individual thing. We estimate that most students will take, for example, 4 – 6 months to complete a 100 hour individual module, but we allow up to 12 months for you to complete it.

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B 2 x $438.90  2 x $399.00

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