difference between skeletal muscle and smooth muscle

Understanding the Difference between Skeletal Muscle and Smooth Muscle

When it comes to human anatomy, muscles are one of the essential components of the body that are responsible for movement and body function. There are different types of muscles in the body, but two basic types are skeletal muscle and smooth muscle. Both these muscle types differ in their structure, function, and location in the body.

Skeletal Muscle

Skeletal muscles are most familiar to people because they are the reason behind movement and physical activity. These muscles connect to the bones and provide voluntary control over body movements. They are also known as striated muscles because they have a striped appearance due to the band-like pattern of proteins.

Skeletal muscles have a cylindrical shape and are composed of bundles of muscle fibers that are tightly packed together. Each fiber consists of myofibrils, which are made up of actin and myosin filaments, that slide over each other to produce muscle contractions. These muscle contractions result in movements like walking, running, jumping, and lifting weights.

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Smooth Muscle

Smooth muscles are involuntary muscles and are not under conscious control. They are located in the walls of internal organs like the stomach, intestines, and blood vessels. Smooth muscles are designed to contract and relax automatically to regulate the internal body environment and maintain homeostasis.

Smooth muscles are called smooth because they lack the striations that are present in skeletal muscles. These muscles have a spindle shape and are composed of long tapered fibers. The filaments in smooth muscles are arranged in random order, leading to the smooth appearance. The contractions of smooth muscles are slower and more prolonged than skeletal muscles.


Skeletal muscles and smooth muscles are two essential types of muscles that play different roles in our body. Skeletal muscles control voluntary movements and provide support for the body, while smooth muscles regulate and maintain the internal environment of the body. Understanding the differences between skeletal muscle and smooth muscle is crucial in developing exercise routines and treating medical conditions that involve muscle-related problems.

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Table difference between skeletal muscle and smooth muscle

Difference between Skeletal and Smooth Muscle

Difference between Skeletal and Smooth Muscle

Property Skeletal Muscle Smooth Muscle
Location Attached to bones Walls of internal organs
Type of Control Voluntary Involuntary
Structure Striated Non-striated
Shape of Fibers Long and cylindrical Short and spindle-shaped
Nucleus per Cell Multiple Single
Regeneration Limited Higher
Controlled by Somatic nervous system Autonomic nervous system
Function Movement of skeleton Involuntary regulation of organ movement