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Leg muscles

The leg muscles , play a fundamental role in enabling so they fulfill adequately its most important function : allowing displacement and therefore the movement. Today, we will talk to you about what concerns these muscles, including their main functions and characteristics. Thus, you will be able to know how they work in greater detail.

What are the leg muscles for?

As is well known, the leg muscles are essential to allow us to move . Likewise, these also contribute to the correct execution of other important tasks related to bending, stretching, rotating the legs and some joints. This being the case, these numerous muscles are of great importance.

Also, among other vitally important functions performed by the leg muscles, are those related to providing stability and a stable center of gravity to our body .
Reason for which, we will proceed to mention the classification of the muscles located along the leg, as well as the category in which they are classified and the respective functions that they fulfill.

Classification of leg muscles

As just mentioned, the leg muscles are numerous, and they can be found classified according to various areas of the leg. Classifying themselves thus, according to the functions they fulfill, such as by the grouping of the muscles in certain areas of the leg.

Next, we will proceed to mention these areas, accompanied by the respective muscles that make them up, and the extension that each of these can have along the leg.

Anatomy of the human leg.


The buttocks are muscles that play a transcendental role for both the pelvis and the spine to carry out their functions correctly . Finding this way, the buttocks are mainly composed of 3 groups. These are the gluteus maximus, the minor and the middle, of which we will proceed to briefly talk to you below.

Gluteus maximus

This muscle can be found in the pelvis, specifically in the posterior area. This being one of the muscles with the greatest volume and resistance in the leg. Some of the functions of the gluteus maximus include allowing the body to adopt a firm posture after being in a resting state with the legs bent.

Thus, of great relevance for the different mobility functions that involve the pelvis. On the other hand, this muscle can also contribute some important functions for hip rotation.

Gluteus medius

This muscle is present in the outer superficial region of the pelvis, being below the gluteus maximus, which was mentioned earlier. Among the main functions of the gluteus medius are those that contribute to abduction and rotation of the thigh.

Likewise, the functions of the gluteus medius also participate in the processes that provide balance to the trunk. Thus, this muscle of the leg is of great importance to help provide a correct balance of the body .

Gluteus minus

For its part, the gluteus minimus, unlike the other buttocks just mentioned, is initially characterized by having a triangular shape . Also being, as can be guessed by its name, the smaller gluteus, being located below the two muscles mentioned above.

Like the gluteus medius, the gluteus minimus abducts the leg. Likewise, it also contributes to providing stability and balance to the body, and participates in the processes carried out to carry out the rotation of the thighs .

Hamstring muscles

The hamstring muscles are those that involve both the ‘bicep femoris’, as well as the semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles. It should be noted that many people tend to catalog these 3 just mentioned muscles as ‘hamstrings’.

However, it is a very common mistake, since the etymology of the term ‘hamstring’ refers to both the ischium and the tibia , these areas of the body being foreign to the biceps femoris. Reason why these muscles are currently referred to as ‘hamstrings’, in order to make a more consistent etymological reference.

Next, we will mention the functions performed by the 3 muscles that are within the ‘hamstring’ group.

Femoral biceps

This muscle has a short head and a long head, each originating in different areas of the leg. The short head of the biceps femoris appears at the front of the femur . While the long head is located in the area of ​​the ischial tuberosity.

It should be noted that the biceps femoris is characterized by carrying out a double function. The first involves the processes of flexion and extension of the thigh, also contributing to the processes of hip rotation.


The semimembranous muscle can be found in the rear area of ​​the thigh, including its extension, from the ischial tuberosity to the tibia. Its main functions include allowing the leg and hip to flex and extend respectively in the same direction as the buttocks.


This muscle, belonging to the hamstring muscle group, extends over a large part of the thigh and reaches the knee area . In fact, its functions carried out, allow there to be flexion in the knee joints, as well as extension in the hip joints. Thus, the semitendinosus muscle is considered a biarticular muscle.


Continuing with this list of the various muscles of the leg, we mention the quadriceps femoris, characterized by being the muscle on which the weight of our entire body is supported . Furthermore, it is one of the muscles with the greatest volume. Thus fulfilling functions of vital importance to be able to move and stay on our feet.

Likewise, the quadriceps is made up of 3 muscles, these being the vastus lateralis, medial and medial muscles. Of which, we will proceed to talk to you a little below.

Vast intermediate

It is located after the rectus femoris, coming from the frontal and lateral areas of the femur. Being a quadriceps part, it plays an important role in helping the leg extension process.

Medial vastus

For its part, the vastus medialis extends through two lines that are part of the femur. This muscle is also present in the patella, as well as in the tibia, and is also characterized by its shape, which is often associated with that of a ‘tear’.

As far as the functions of this muscle are concerned, they may be present when it is contracted. Thus providing stability to the knee and its joints, also contributing to the separation of the leg with the buttocks.

Vastus lateralis

Finally in this group of the quadriceps femoris, we find the vastus lateralis muscle. This has a path that involves the edges of a limb of the femur known as the ‘greater trochanter’, up to the famous ‘rough line’. Like the muscles just mentioned, the vastus lateralis is also important for the knee joints.


In our legs there are both abductor and adductor muscles. The former, as their name indicates, fulfill functions related to the separation processes in the leg with other parts of the body such as the buttocks.

For their part, the Adductor muscles, which are 5, also fulfill important functions in our body. Thus, carrying out processes that involve both the hip joints and other areas of the body . Having the adductor muscles an important role so that the movement of our legs is carried out properly.

Next, we will mention which are these 5 adductor muscles, and the function that each one of them fulfills.

Greater adductor

This muscle can be located in the medial area of ​​the thigh, and is characterized by having a fanned figure. As far as its functions are concerned, these are related to the femur and the thigh. Thus, allowing its rotation, extension and adduction, to be carried out correctly.

In addition, it also contributes to the balance of the pelvis, in conjunction with the gluteus medius and minus during displacement. This, in order to maintain a proper center of balance in the body.

Median adductor

For its part, the adductor medius is the adductor muscle with the greatest extension, hence it is also often called ‘adductor longus of the thigh’. The location of this muscle is on a par with the pectineus because they are present in the same plane.

Regarding its functions, the adductor median is responsible for synthesizing both adduction processes, as well as those related specifically to lateral rotation. Similarly, it also contributes to the flexor processes of the thigh . Playing like this, an important role so that the flexion of the pelvis on the thigh is carried out properly.

Short adductor

This muscle can be found in the rear region of the pectineus , and is characterized by having a triangle shape. In a way quite similar to that mentioned above, the adductor brevis is also responsible for facilitating the adduction processes of the hip, with which it is quite related.

Pectineus muscle

It is one of the strongest muscles in the leg, which can be found near the groin, and its extension reaches the femur. In addition, this, like the adductor muscles mentioned above, is responsible for facilitating the task related to adductor movement.

Such as placing one leg on another, or moving these from the inside out and vice versa, among others.

Graceful muscle

Finally and to conclude the list of adductor muscles, we have the gracilis muscle, characterized by coming from the lower part of the pubis. Being also, as far as the deep region is concerned, the most medial muscle.

As far as its functions are concerned, as a good adductor, the gracilis muscle is responsible for contributing to everything related to the processes of both internal and external rotation of the hip , also allowing its extension to be carried out correctly. .

Lateral peroneal muscle

When investigating the most well-known and important muscles of the leg, we find the peroneum. This is divided into both the long and short lateral peroneus muscle. Thus, this muscle is stimulated through the superficial peroneal nerve.

As far as the functions of this muscle are concerned, it can be found that they are varied. Since, it is said that the lateral peroneus muscle performs tasks typical of the adductor and abductor muscles. Thus, allowing the foot to have both extension and rotational mobility .

Popliteal muscle

This muscle can be found just after the well-known ‘twins’. It has a triangular shape and has short dimensions. Regarding its functions, the popliteal muscle fulfills the functions of the ‘flexor’ muscle. Basically allowing both flexion and rotation in the knee to occur, when we are in motion.

Flexor digitorum longus muscle

Finally, and to conclude this extensive list of muscles on the leg, we will talk about the flexor longus muscle of the toes. This has its origin in the front part of the tibia , with a tendon that is divided into four parts.

As far as its insertion is concerned, it involves the respective 5 toes. Likewise, its functions focus on the processes related to the flexion of these fingers.

Did you know some of the leg muscles mentioned above?

As you have seen, there are a large number of leg muscles that perform functions of great importance, mainly involving adduction and abduction processes, which are essential so that we can use our legs to mobilize ourselves on a daily basis.

Which shows us that the legs are part of a fairly complete and complex functioning muscular system . Which strictly depends on each of the muscles just mentioned, to allow us to properly perform various tasks with our legs.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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