A celebration of muscles, big and small

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different types of muscles

Time to honour those ever so important muscles!

Muscles are…well…necessary. Without them we’d be a big bag of bones. But to our bodybuilding friends and family, muscles are so much more.

So, instead of telling you how to build the biggest shoulders possible or what to eat for maximum gains, we’re just going to celebrate our muscles.

Those everyday muscles you probably take for granted.

The smallest muscle

For those who don’t work out properly, it’s probably your calf muscle, but for the rest of society, it’s actually your ears where the smallest muscle is located. Namely, the “stapedius”.

At just a millimetre in length, you may well think that it isn’t the most important of muscles around, but you’d be wrong. This little beast dampens the vibration of the stapes, which is the bone which conducts vibrations in the middle ear.

Without the stapedius, the movement it dampens may well exaggerate which in turn means that sounds seem louder. This is called “hyperacusis” – and you can thank your stapedius that you don’t have it (unless you do, in which case, we’ll try and be quiet).

The biggest muscle

Immature male readers may have their own idea on what is their biggest muscle, but they’d probably be wrong, though they are in the right general area. It is in fact your gluteus maximus which has the title of the biggest muscle.

The main purpose of the gluteus maximus is to keep you standing straight, and also, from an aesthetic point of view, to create the buttock shape we know (and some people at least) love.

There are loads of ways to train it, as well as your upper legs, including squats, hip thrusts and deadlifts.

The strongest

medical illustration of the gluteus maximus

Now, just like in our article on the world’s strongest animals, we have to appreciate relativity. Not in the complicated Einstein sense as such, more that while it might be easy for a man to lift a 5kg tub of protein powder, if an ant can do it, then that’s something special.

So with the same logic, and based on a weight to force ratio, where do we end up? At the jaw, or more specifically, the masseter.

If all the masseter jaw muscle friends work together, then it can create a force of up to 90.7kg. Now while scaling that up is difficult, as weighing one’s jaw muscles isn’t the easiest thing in the world we can show a cool figure. If we imagine the whole jaw area weighs around the 100g mark, and we scale it up to Eddie Hall at 182kg, then we get a force of 165,073kg. That’s 330x his current deadlift record.

The hardest working

The heart is amazing. If healthy, it can pump around 5.86 litre of blood each minute and a quite ridiculous 9092.18 litres a day. It also beats over 3 billion times during your life.

Now you may think that your calf muscles, those in your arms, in your fingers or in your eyes work harder, but the heart never stops (or at least we hope).

That’s why having such a healthy heart is key no matter what your fitness goal is. Cardiovascular training, supplements like fish oils and a good solid diet can help you keep your ticker, ticking.

The most flexible

Flexibility is key for a lot of sports. But while if you’re me, it certainly isn’t in your hamstrings, you may have may have your own ideas on what is the don of flex.

If you guessed the tongue, you’d be correct. Though this isn’t technically one muscle, it’s without doubt the flexiest of the approximately 640 muscles you have in your body. There are eight muscles that make up your tongue, and they have the advantage of not being bound to any bone, meaning they can lengthen, contract and move as they please.

Most people will never have to work on strengthening their tongue muscles, apart from those who are seriously into oral sex, hugely into rap or suffer from difficulty swallowing. In all cases a good exercise is to place your tongue between your lips/teeth and swallow.

The sexiest

Now, this isn’t for us to decide. So let’s have a poll!

Final word

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief celebration of everything muscle. Just remember to look after them!

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