Gluteus Maximus: Functional Anatomy Guide

The gluteus maximus (G. gloutos, buttock. L. maximus, largest.) is not only the largest buttock muscle, but the largest muscle in the human body, period. Its main responsibility is hip extension, and it’s classified as part of the superficial gluteal region. The gluteus maximus is the outermost buttock muscle. It lies superficial to the gluteus minimus and the … Read more

Gluteus Medius: Functional Anatomy Guide

The gluteus medius (G. gloutos, buttock. L. medius, middle) is the second largest of the three gluteal, or butt, muscles. It is a fan-shaped muscle, whose main action is hip abduction. It is also noted for its essential role as a hip stabilizer in the gait cycle. The gluteus medius is classified as part of the superficial gluteal … Read more

Gluteus Minimus: Functional Anatomy Guide

The gluteus minimus (G. gloutos, buttock. L. minimus, smallest) is the smallest and deepest of the three buttock muscles. Its primary responsibility is hip abduction. It is like a mini version of the gluteus medius, sharing a similar shape, location and function. The gluteus minimus constitutes part of the superficial gluteal region. It is in the deepest … Read more

Hamstring Muscles: Functional Anatomy Guide

The average gym rat uses the term “hamstrings” to refer to the muscles on the back of thigh, whose primary function is knee flexion. If you want to get really technical, “hamstrings” technically refer to the tendons on either end of the posterior thigh muscles, namely the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris (which includes both … Read more

Brachioradialis: Functional Anatomy Guide

The brachioradialis (G. brachion, arm. L. radius, stake or rod [shape of radius bone]) is a large forearm muscle, whose name refers to its connection between the upper arm and radius. It is located in the superficial posterior compartment of the forearm, which includes many of the wrist extensor muscles… …But unlike the wrist extensors, the brachioradialis is mostly … Read more

Pectoralis Minor: Functional Anatomy Guide

The pectoralis minor (L. pectus, chest ; minor, smaller.) is the smaller and lesser-known of the two chest muscles. It helps stabilize the scapula and is the prime mover in scapular downward rotation. It’s involved in other scapular movements, which I’ll cover later. It is technically classified as part of the anterior axioappendicular muscle group. … Read more

Gastrocnemius: Functional Anatomy Guide

The gastrocnemius (G. gaster, belly ; kneme, leg.), or “gastroc” for short, is the largest muscle in the calf, which acts on both the ankle and knee joints. It shares the role of prime mover in ankle plantarflexion with the soleus, but only when the knee is straight. The gastroc becomes less active the more the … Read more

Soleus: Functional Anatomy Guide

The soleus (L. solea, sandal.) is the smaller of the two major calf muscles; the other muscle being the gastrocnemius (gastroc). Fun fact: It was originally named after its resemblance to the flat, sandal-shaped sole fish, whose name also comes from the Latin word, solea. The soleus and gastroc are both prime movers in ankle plantarflexion when … Read more

Brachialis: Functional Anatomy Guide

The brachialis (G. brachion, arm.) is a lesser-known arm muscle located on the front of the humerus. It is the prime mover in elbow flexion. Since it only crosses one joint, its contribution to elbow flexion is always the same, no matter the position of the shoulder joint or rotation of the forearm. It’s the … Read more

Biceps Brachii: Functional Anatomy Guide

The biceps brachii (L. biceps, two-headed [bis, twice ; caput, head] ; G. brachion, arm.), commonly known as the biceps, is the prominent two-headed muscle of the arm. It acts on the elbow, forearm and shoulder, with it’s main role being a synergist in elbow flexion. Note: The biceps is most active in elbow flexion … Read more