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Short Belly, Long Tendon

This parody (written by Greg Crowther) is sung to the tune of "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" (written by John McRae and performed by Cake).


Context

Here is a pseudo-educational song about three "mystery muscles" (one per verse). Can you guess their identities?


Lyrics

VERSE ONE

I want a muscle that’s really superficial.
I want a muscle that hugs the thighs.
It's skeletal, not smooth; it's under conscious control.
It’s lateral in location and small in size.

I want a muscle with the right innervation;
The superior gluteal nerve would be best.
I want a muscle with an IT-band insertion
And origins above, around the iliac crest.
I want a muscle with a short belly and a long tendon!

VERSE TWO

I want a muscle for flicking the fingers
(Flicking the fingers!) --
Straightening phalanges and spreading them wide
(Spreading them wide!).
A muscle that's a synergist of wrist and hand extensors
(Wrist and hand extensors!),
Antagonizing flexors on the opposite side.

I want it right between the ulna and the radius,
With ends near the radial and ulnar notches.
Its nerve and its artery will have the same name;
They both will be known as “posterior interosseous.”
I want a muscle with a short belly and a long tendon!

VERSE THREE

I want a muscle at the popliteal fossa
(Popliteal fossa!);
I want a muscle that is found in the calves
(Found in the calves!).
I want a muscle that crosses two joints
(Crosses two joints!) --
A bipennate muscle with two heads and two halves.

I want a muscle that powers plantar flexion --
A muscle that contracts when I push off the ground.
I want a muscle with a legendary weakness
That was known to the ancients, from Achilles on down.
I want a muscle with a short belly and a long tendon!


Lesson Plan

Songs like this one can be used during class meetings and/or in homework assignments. Either way, the song will be most impactful if students DO something with it, as opposed to just listening.

An initial, simple follow-up activity could be to answer the study questions below. A more extensive interaction with the song might entail (A) learning to sing it, using an audio file and/or sheet music as a guide, and/or (B) illustrating it with pictures, bodily poses, and/or bodily movements. The latter activity could begin with students identifying the most important or most challenging content of the song, and deciding how to illustrate that particular content.


Study Questions

(1) What muscle is being described in verse one? Explain your reasoning.

(2) What muscle is being described in verse two? Explain your reasoning.

(3) What muscle is being described in verse three? Explain your reasoning.

(Answers may be found on the answers page.)