Where Is the Torso Located on the Body?

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The bones, muscles, and organs of the torso help to hold the body up in addition to controlling major functions, such as breathing, and maintaining the central nervous system. So, where is the torso on the body? 

The torso is the middle section of the human body. The torso includes the majority of the upper body with the exception of the head, neck, and arms. This important part of the body contains key organs and muscles. Let’s take a closer look. 

What Is the Torso?

The torso is a central cavity of the human body that is extremely important for most of the vital functions. Both the heart and the lungs — two organs that a human cannot survive without — are located in the torso.

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With the exception of the cervical spine, the majority of the spine, which protects the spinal cord and allows a person to sit upright, is located in the torso. The torso also houses the digestive organs, which are central to breaking down food into nutrients for cells. The torso keeps the reproductive system, the set of organs responsible for making new generations of humans, safe as well.

Torso Muscle Anatomy

Many of the major muscle groups are located in the torso. The sternocleidomastoid muscle lies at the border of the torso, attaching the clavicle, just above the tip of the shoulders, to the temporal bone in the back of the head. This important muscle gives humans the ability to turn their necks and move their heads from side to side. Problems with this muscle can cause everything from pain and sensations of tightness in the neck and head to a chronic runny nose and watery eyes.

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The pectoralis muscles, both major and minor, lie across the shoulders and chest. This large muscle group allows people to move their arms up and down and rotate their arms. When humans breathe in deep, the pectoralis muscles help to raise up the ribs allowing even more air into the lungs. This is the muscle group that fitness enthusiasts target when they want to build a more muscular chest.

The serratus anterior muscles, underneath both arms, fan from the back to the shoulders. This muscle group is responsible for allowing humans to make a punching motion, among other things. For this reason, the two serrated muscles have earned the nickname the boxer’s muscle.

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Two sets of intercostal muscles, internal and external, lie between the ribs that make up the ribcage. Along with the diaphragm, these muscles control breathing. The external intercostals contract the ribcage and the internal intercostals release it. These movements allow humans to breathe in and out. By contracting or releasing more, these muscles control the pace, depth, and intensity of breathing.

The muscle group commonly called abdominals, or abs, is made up of four sets of muscles, including rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and the internal and external obliques. The rectus abdominis allows humans to flex and extend the lower part of the torso. This set of abdominal muscles works hard when a person does crunches. The deeper transverse abdominis muscles lie horizontally and help to stabilize and cushion the organs of the abdomen. The obliques, on the sides of the lower torso, give people the ability to twist and bend their upper body. These muscles are often targeted in abdominal workouts, and building this muscle group offers better support for the spine, which improves posture.

Many muscles of the torso support shoulder motion. The trapezius is a large set of muscles that sits on both sides of the back. This muscle gives added support to the scapula, more commonly known as the shoulder bone. A strong trapezius leads to better posture, and this muscle group helps the neck bear the weight of the skull. The rhomboid muscles, in the back, support shoulder rotation and allow people to squeeze their shoulders together. The rotator cuff muscles lie in the inner workings of the scapular, stabilizing the shoulder joint and supporting a healthy range of motion for the shoulders.

The latissimus dorsi muscle control movement at the junction of the shoulder and the arm. These muscles allow people to move their arms to and from the body. The teres major and minor alongside the latissimus dorsi allow the arms to rotate.

Torso Bone Anatomy

The spine runs along the midline of the torso, housing the sensitive nerves of the central nervous system. The scapula lies at the back of this anatomical region. The scapula works alongside powerful muscles in the back and chest to support a full range of motion for the arms and shoulders. On the front of the torso, the ribs and the sternum provide a protective cage around the heart and lungs. The uppermost torso bone is the clavicle. The clavicle facilitates shoulder punctuation, offers a point of connection for rib cartilage, and adds an extra layer of protection for the upper heart.

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Organs in the Torso

The organs in the torso make up key components of major organ systems. For example, the digestive system consists of the gallbladder, stomach, jejunum, ileum, duodenum, colon, and liver. The spleen is part of the lymphatic system, and the pancreas belongs to both the endocrine and digestive systems. The kidneys, ureters, and bladder make up the urinary system. Moreover, reproductive organs are also found in the torso.

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Synonyms for Torso

There are many synonyms, both scientific and laymen, for the torso. The torso is commonly called the trunk. Due to its housing many of the major muscles, some refer to the torso as a person’s figure, physique, or build. In everyday language, people tend to call the torso the chest, abdomen, or stomach. In anatomical terms, the torso can also be called the thorax or thoracic cavity.

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 Photo Courtesy: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images

Other Anatomical Regions of the Body

The anatomical regions are cervical, thorax, abdominal, upper extremities, and lower extremities. The cervical, also known as the cephalic region, encompasses the head and neck. The thorax is the upper chest, and the abdominal region includes the stomach. Arms are upper extremities, and legs are lower extremities. The torso includes parts of the thoracic and abdominal regions.

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