How do agonists and antagonists work together?

I am taking human anatomy and physiology? AND im lost with the question.

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  • When agonists & antagonists work together, they function in "synergy."For example, your adductor magnus & longus & gracilis act as adductors. Their antagonists are the gluteus medius & the minimus which function as hip abductors. If you look at their position relative to the other, they antagonize each other BUT they work synergistically during walking when your right heel strikes the ground, the adductors & the abductors in your body puts both of them in a position to act as hip extensors, they become synergists to keep the femur in a neutral alignment (not abducted, not adducted). In addition, without the actions of those aforementioned muscles (as in the case of a person with Guillain Barre Syndrome where the proximal muscles are affected) your hips would "waddle" due to the lack of synergistic actions of the hip adductors & the abductors. When your hips waddle to the right, your right femur is adducted & the left femur is abducted.

    I hope this helps you get a better understanding of "synergy".

  • Natalie

    Umm.. I suppose you are talking about muscles, although in the human body there are many kinds of agonists and antangonists, although the concept of those two is pretty much the same in every situation. So, to answer your questions, agonists and antagonists have exactly opposite functions. For example, your biceps are agonists of forearm flexion, and your triceps are antagonists of forearm flexion. Conversely, your triceps are agonists of forearm extension while your biceps are antagonists of forearm extension. Same thing happens with any organs/tissues/etc that have opposite functions. Get it? Hope I helped! =D

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