The precentral gyrus commands voluntary movements of skeletal muscles within the body. It is a small section of the brain that enables all bodily movement after receiving signals from another area of the brain.
The precentral gyrus is also referred to as the primary motor area or primary motor cortex, although is most commonly identified as the motor strip. It is located in the frontal lobe and on both sides of the brain. The planning of movements occurs in various areas of the frontal lobe, but all information is sent to the motor strip prior to performance. The left side of the motor strip controls all movement on the right side of body, while the right side controls all movement on the left.
Along the motor strip, which travels from the top of the head to the ear, are small areas of varying size that control different types of movements. The area's size is dependent on the amount of information input and output as well as the complexity of the potential action. Larger areas account for more complex actions, which also demand the transference of more information.
For the motor strip to function properly, it requires proper development of the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems. If this is the case, the motor strip allows a person to engage in simple and complex bodily movement. Simpler actions include standing or waving, and more complex actions include speech or picking up small objects.