What’s the Largest Muscle in The Body?

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Written by Kyle Glatz

Published: June 2, 2022

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Your youth sports coach may have told you the heart was the biggest muscle in the body. While the sentiment is great and the heart is very important, it’s not true. The muscles in the human body serve very important purposes. Working in conjunction with other structures, they help us do everything from walking around to flexing the fingers you use to scroll over this page. Today, we’re going to focus on identifying the size and function of the largest muscle in the body. You may or may not be surprised to learn that you’re using it right now!

What Types of Muscle Are in the Body?


Skeletal muscles are connected to the human skeleton


The body contains three different types of muscle. Some of them are only found in specific parts of the body, and others are more widespread. The three kinds of muscle include:

Cardiac Muscle: muscle found in the heart that is specifically geared toward helping it pump blood throughout the body.

Smooth Muscle: muscle commonly found in the hollow organs of the body such as the stomach.

Skeletal Muscle: this is the muscle attached to the bones in your body.

Of all these muscles, only the skeletal muscles are under conscious control. Indeed, you can’t control your smooth or cardiac muscles in the same way.

How Do We Define the Largest Muscle in the Body?


Instead of focusing on the longest or most voluminous, we’re looking at size.

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When we talk about the largest muscle in the body, we’re talking about sheer size. That is the only way to effectively consider the biggest muscle in the body. Otherwise, we would get mired in measures like volume and strength. Those are not why we’re here today, though.

So, now that you know we are choosing the largest muscle based on size, you probably have a good idea of which muscle wins the competition, right? Let’s identify this massive structure in the body and show you just how large it is.

What’s the Largest Muscle in the Body?


The glutes are located on the rear of human beings, the gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body.

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The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body. The gluteus muscles are composed of skeletal muscle tissue. This muscle is probably one that you’re using right now whether you are sitting or standing. The gluteus maximum is located at the rear of the hip. This muscle is the largest and most superficial of the three muscles that form the buttocks.

The other two muscles that make up the “glutes” are known as the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus.

The gluteus maximus is known for its size, roughly quadrilateral shape, and for contributing to the overall shape of the buttocks. However, the muscle is more than its size. It serves several valuable functions in the body.

What is the Purpose of the Gluteus Maximus?


The three glutes help humans stand, run, and leap.


The gluteus maximus is known as the primary extensor muscle for the hip. That means it helps with hip extension and hip external rotation.

This muscle is crucial to our ability to walk upright while keeping humans balanced so they don’t fall forward. The gluteus maximus helps us stay in a standing position for long periods of time and also helps humans climb stairs and to stand from a sitting position.

It’s safe to say that without the gluteus group, humans would not have the ability to run, leap, or jump the way we do.  

If you ever sustain a gluteus maximus injury, doctors may check the severity of the injury by having you sit and stand to test how fast and well you can manage the task. The other two portions of the gluteus muscle help keep humans erect and capable of walking on two feet.

Specifically, among other things, they help prevent people from toppling over at their sides. All in all, the gluteus maximus is very significant, powerful, and useful for humans.

What is the Most Voluminous Muscle in the Body?


The quads are now considered a single muscle with four portions.

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The most voluminous muscle in the quadriceps femoris. The total volume of this lower thigh muscle is about 1,420cm2. The gluteus maximus is only 760 cm3. So, the quadriceps is much denser than the glutes. Nevertheless, it is not as large as the glutes.  

The quadriceps is another one of the strongest muscles in the body. These muscles are responsible for helping to maintain the stability of your kneecap. Moreover, they help you walk, run, and stand. Of course, this is just a brief overview of the purpose of these muscles. The true function is more nuanced.  

What is the Longest Muscle in the Body?


The sartorius muscle is long but relatively thin.

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The longest muscle in the body is called the sartorius. The sartorius muscle is a long, thin muscle that runs down the thigh and crosses to the inside of the knee. This muscle can measure as much as 300mm, and its function is to aid with knee and hip flexion.

What is the Smallest Muscle in the Body?


The stapedius keeps the stapes from moving too much.


The smallest muscle in the body is the stapedius muscle. This skeletal muscle is about one millimeter long and it helps to stabilize the stapes, the smallest bone in the body. This bone is found in the middle ear, and it helps reduce the amplitude of sound going into the inner ear.

How Large is Your Heart?

Human heart with vessels, bronchial tree and cut rib cage. On white background. 3d rendering.

The human heart is powerful and important, but also somewhat small.


Now that we have identified the largest muscle in the body, let’s take a look back at our hearts. The average heart is about 8.21 cm wide by 11.41 cm long. That makes this muscle much smaller than some of the other ones that we have listed here. Nevertheless, the heart is very important, and it contains the largest artery, the aorta.  

The muscles in the human body are varied in their size and purpose. The largest of all these structures is the gluteus maximus, and the smallest is called the stapedius. The muscular system in the body is very complex and requires a far greater amount of detail than we’ve provided here to understand fully.

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About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

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