Understanding the inner workings of human muscles encourages athletes to train safely, learn how to recognize their limits, and avoid injury. The following medical illustrations demonstrate the ways graphic art can be used to promote the usage of proper techniques for physical exercise.

1. Epic Studios, Inc. – These 3D illustrations created for Texas Tech University indicate the correct weightlifting techniques for deadlifts (left) and squats (right). During weight training, muscles of the body are forced to contract under the tension of weights. Learning the specifics of established training methods is an essential step in avoiding soft tissue pain and injuries.

Epic Studios Weightlifting Anatomy for Deadlifts IllustrationEpic Studios Weightlifting Squat Anatomy


2. John Karapelou / Biomedical Art – The illustration below depicts superficial and deep muscles of the back used during horseback riding. By warming up and correcting posture before mounting a saddle, horseback riders can achieve the ear-shoulder-hip-heel alignment necessary for maintaining balance. Practicing appropriate stretching techniques  prepares a rider to be able to absorb the horse’s motion, helping secure stabilization throughout a ride.  John Karapelou Biomedical Art horsebackriding muscles illuastration

3. Tiffany Slaybaugh Davanzo, MA, CMI – These illustrations created for the physical therapy book “Applied Anatomy of Aerial Arts” showcase the primary and secondary muscles utilized by aerialists while performing complex maneuvers. As aerialists practice an assortment of contortion tricks while being suspended from hanging fabric, they must train extensively to support their weight in various positions. Since performers climb suspended fabric without safety lines, they rely purely on their training and skill to ensure safety.

Tiffany Slaybaugh Davanzo Hip Key IllustrationTiffany Slaybaugh Davanzo Crossback Straddle IllustrationTiffany Slaybaugh Davanzo Back Balance Hoop IllustrationTiffany Slaybaugh Davanzo Bent Arm straddle up illustration


The best way to secure athletic progress is to understand how the body works, know which muscles are being used during exercise, and adequately prepare the body before training. Sports-related injuries can require extensive treatment during the healing process, thwarting all progress by requiring athletes to remain stationary for long periods of time. Since it can be difficult for athletes to know what’s going on beneath the surface without having a background in sports medicine, interacting with resources carefully-developed by trained professionals presents the opportunity to level up as an athlete. Medical illustrations are changing the game of athletic training by encouraging sports enthusiasts to learn more about body science through colorful graphics that are easily-digested.