Leg Muscles List: Anatomy & Functions of Legs
They are: Vastus lateralis: On the outside of the thigh, this is the largest of the quadriceps. It extends from the top of the Vastus medialis: This teardrop-shaped muscle of the inner thigh attaches along the femur and down to the inner border of Vastus intermedius: Between the vastus. Feb 25, · Your leg muscles are some of the hardest working muscles in your body. Pain in your calf or thigh can be caused by muscle cramps, a pulled or strained muscle Author: James Roland.
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But a basic understanding of the muscles in your legs can help you understand which exercises will be most effective — and which are an injury waiting to happen or a flat-out waste of time. Get a killer leg workout while sculpting a lean, graceful body with Xtend Barre on the Openfit app. Try it here! The quad muscles — which form the meaty mass on the front of your thighs — are among your strongest muscle groups, and play a critical role in athletic activities.
Together, these muscles straighten your knee, stabilize your knee joint, assist in flexing your hip drawing your knee towards your chestand help absorb force when you land after jumping or leaping.
Some key exercises for the quads include any movement where your knee extends under resistance—especially all types of squats, lungesand split squat variations. Rusin recommends the Bulgarian split squat in particular. Located on the back of your thighs, your hamstrings perform the opposite function of the quads, bending your leg at the knee joint and assisting your butt muscles in extending your hip joint, pushing your thigh backward.
Each time you take a step, the hamstrings move from a stretched position to a contracted position. During a hard run, this happens in a split second. There are three hamstring muscles, all of them originating at the ischial tuberosity the bones you sit on :. Effective hamstring exercises often work the glutes in conjunction with the hamstrings.
Some good examples are hip thrusts, hyperextensions, bridges, and deadlifts of all kinds. But adductors also contribute to hip flexion and extension — actions mainly performed by the quads and hamstrings — as well as in turning the thighbones inward and outward. Such versatility makes the adductors crucial in movements like squatting, lunging, running, jumping, and changing direction.
The sail-shaped adductors originate on the underside of the pelvis, and then attach to a line running along your inner thigh. The adductors work virtually any time your legs are active, whether for standing, squatting, lunging, and most other leg moves.
You can work them directly with inner-thigh leg raises and Swiss Ball squeezes. The abductor how to celebrate chinese new year in school perform the opposite function to the adductors, pulling your upper legs away from your midline. Abductors are located on the upper portion of the outside of your thighs and hips, anchoring above on the pelvis, and below at various points on your outside thigh.
Like the adductors, the abductors are also responsible for stabilizing your knees during athletic and everyday movement. When you run, jump, squat, how to do bios setup lunge, for example, your abductors prevent your knees from collapsing inward. As far as the lower leg muscle anatomy goes, the major muscles include two calf muscles and one shin muscle. Seated calf raises focus primarily on the soleus. His work appears regularly in Men's Health and Experience Life.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children. Learn more at andrewheffernan. Got a kettlebell?
Then you can do one of the most foundational and versatile strength exercises out there Want legs that can crush watermelons?
Try these nine bodyweight hamstring exercises that can get them stron Don't have equipment to get those nice, lean legs that you've always wanted? No worries! Here are 11 bodywe Start building bigger calf muscles with this list of exercises and stretches that create a total calves wor Ready to get in your best lower body workout ever?
Mix and match the moves below and get started! They'll h Rowing can definitely help you burn fat and build strength, but just how many calories can you burn on a When it comes to how to make turkish coffee with milk fitness, people can seem like they are speaking another language.
Brush up on your Create your best upper-body workout yet by incorporating these nine upper body dumbbell exercises into your Skip to content. Read on. Read Next. Read more. Fitness 11 of the Best Bodyweight Leg Exercises Don't have equipment to get those nice, lean legs that you've always wanted?
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Jul 16, · The anterior muscles, such as the quadriceps femoris, iliopsoas, and sartorius, work as a group to flex the thigh at the hip and extend the leg at the knee. Posterior muscles, such as the hamstrings and gluteus maximus, produce the opposite motion — extension of the thigh at the hip and flexion of the leg at the knee. Smooth, muscles are found in the walls of all the hollow organs and tubes of the body, such as blood vessels and intestines. Some muscle names indicate the number of muscles in a group. Anterior view of the human muscular system showing only some major muscles. Posterior view of the right leg, showing the muscles of the hip, thigh, and lower leg.
If you buy through a link on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more. Specifically, this page discusses all the major muscle groups of the upper leg. In other words, this page excludes information about the calf muscles…. The leg anatomy is so complex, containing both the knee and hip joints. The hip joint allows you to move and rotate your legs pelvic area in all directions. The knee joint enables the movement of bending and straightening your legs.
This is why the old folks home is chock full of old people with metal hips and knees! Of course the other reason is to build muscular legs that you could move mountains with — A little more short-term and narcissistic, but a great reason nonetheless.
That said, lets get on to the first step by understanding all the different movements made possible by the mechanics of the leg muscles and their respective joints…. There are several muscle groups in the upper leg anatomy, each of which contains multiple individual muscles. The muscle groups can work independently for specific movements. However, many of the leg muscles share functions with other leg muscles.
The following list contains a description of all of the possible functions of the muscles in the leg anatomy. Refer to the above list when reading about the individual muscle groups of the leg anatomy, below. While I will list the functions, I will not repeat the descriptions. Quadriceps Muscles. The quadriceps muscles are the large muscles that make up the front of the thighs. The Quadriceps Muscle Attachment Points. All four quadriceps muscles insert into the tibia shin bone.
And with one exception, they all originates from They all originate from the femur thigh bone ; that exception is the rectus femoris, which originates from the ilium highest bone on the pelvis , which allows it to play a role in hip flexion. Hamstring Muscles. The hamstring muscles, also known as the rear thighs, make up the backside of the upper leg anatomy. Like the quadriceps, the hamstring muscle group also contains four separate muscles:.
The Hamstring Muscle Attachment Points. They all originate from the ischium sitting bones , and insert into the tibia. That is, all except for the short head of the biceps femoris; it originates from near the head of the femur thigh bone and inserts into the fibula calf bone. Overall Hamstring Functions. They are mainly responsible for knee flexion as well as hip extension.
Gluteal Muscles. The three main muscles of the glutes include:. The attachments of the gluteal muscles are relatively complex. Each muscle head originates from either the ilium highest bone on the pelvis , lumbar fascia thick sheet of fibrous muscle in the lower back , sacrum a triangular bone at bottom of spine near the tailbone. And each muscle inserts into femur thigh bone or the iliotibial tract the IT Band — a long fibrous tissue that travels down the femur.
Glutes Exercises. The best exercises for targeting the gluteal muscles include:. Hip Abductor Muscles. These muscles are located on the outter thigh area of the leg anatomy.
The hip abductors include:. The attachment points for the gluteals were explained above. The tensor fasciae latae originates from the ilium highest bone on the pelvis and inserts into the tibia shin bone. Main Function of the Hip Abductors. Although the muscles that are considered to be hip abductors have other functions, their function in this context is — drumroll please…. Hip Abductor Exercises. Leg exercises that directly target the hip abductors include:.
Hip Adductor Muscles. The hip adductors are located on the inner thigh region of the leg anatomy. They are a small, specific muscle group that contains 3 individual muscles:. All three of the adductors originate from the pubis pubic bone and insert into the femur thigh bones.
Note that the posterior head of the adductor magnus inserts into the ischium sitting bones. Hip Adductor Exercises. The best leg exercises for directly hitting the hip adductor muscles include:. The hip flexors refer to a group of muscles in the frontal-hip area of the leg anatomy. Main Function of Hip Flexor Muscles. The Iliacus and the other muscles that make up the hip flexors have an array of functions.
But the functions we care about in this context is, you guessed it…. Hip Flexor Exercises. The exercises that most directly work the hip flexors include:. Shortened, tight and inflexible hip flexors are on the rise. This is largely a result of the modern lifestyle, which is characterized by too much sitting and a lack of stretching. The result is flexibility issues, postural problems and lower back pain….
Instead you can counteract the hip flexor tightness by forming habits out of these two simple tips:. This wraps up my synopsis of the leg anatomy. I have a 12 year-old grandson who plays soccer year round. He is strong, well built, and relatively fast and quick.
He has recently suffered a mild to moderate muscle strain of the abductor muscles from a soccer collusion during competition. We have been following the RICE method and have had to withdraw him from a travel soccer tournament for through We are getting conflicting recommendations from doctors and sports medicine professionals about the importance and degree of recommended stretching. He has always had tight muscles and struggles to get really loose.
I am very interested in: 1 proper stretching, cardio warm-up, and range of motion exercises. Any suggestions from you or recommendations would be appreciated. Thank You. For cardio warm up before lifting, I recommend just 5 minutes of moderate intensity cardio if he chose running for his form of cardio warm-up, moderate intensity would be jogging pace.
For stretching, I generally recommend dynamic stretching as opposed to static stretching, in general and especially before lifting. Dynamic stretching is one type of range of motion exercises.
Another type is myofascial release exercises. Lastly, as far as weight training goes, go with a strength-focused routine that is very basic. You want him to focus on learning technique on the fundamental lift. Nothing too intense, and nothing overly complicated. Super thorough and concise. Well written and I got exactly what I was looking for.
Thanks for taking the time. Great article. I like the detail, yet it is easy to read. I found it after having some knee pain and researching how to strengthen the knee which is to really strengthen the leg. Great breakdown. PT is helping.
Thanks again. Thanks you. Amazing site. Clear, concise and well organised, covers everything in regards to muscle movements. Your email address will not be published. Skip to content. Alex Last updated on April 12, 17 Comments. In other words, this page excludes information about the calf muscles… …You can read about the calf muscle anatomy here , if you are interested. Share Pin About The Author. Alex Hey!