Home » Anatomy » Neck Muscles » Anterior Suboccipital Muscles – Functional Anatomy

Anterior Suboccipital Muscles – Functional Anatomy

Anterior Suboccipital Muscles

This post reviews the anatomy of the anterior suboccipital muscles.

The suboccipital muscles attach the atlas and axis to the bottom of the occiput. They secure the head on the atlas and fine-tune the movement of the cranium on the atlas and axis.

The muscles discussed here are often not included in the list of “suboccipital muscles.” Those are typically only the posterior suboccipital muscles. The muscles discussed here are typically referred to as the anterior suboccipital muscles.

Rectus Capitis Anterior

Rectus Capitis Anterior


  • lateral mass and transverse process of the atlas


  • basilar portion of the occiput.


  • flexion of the atlantooccipital joint
Rectus Capitis Lateralis

Rectus Capitis Lateralis


  • jugular process of the occiput


  • transverse process of the atlas.


  • lateral flexion of the atlantooccipital joint

Support Integrative Works to
stay independent
and produce great content.

You can subscribe to our community on Patreon. You will get links to free content and access to exclusive content not seen on this site. In addition, we will be posting anatomy illustrations, treatment notes, and sections from our manuals not found on this site. Thank you so much for being so supportive.

Featured Post

The Integrative Model

This video is a brief overview of the Integrative Bodywork Model. It explores the difference between integrated and integrated approaches. Additionally., it walks through an example.

We want your feedback! We are in the process of creating a format for individual muscles.

Please drop us a note at
[email protected].

Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

Question? Comment? Typo?
[email protected]

*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.