Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ryan from Phoenix, AZ. Ryan Wonders, “Whats the strongest muscle in your body” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ryan!
Actually, there's no easy answer to that question. It all really depends upon how you define “strong." Many different muscles might be considered strongest, depending upon exactly what kind of strength you're talking about. Different muscles will have to fight it out to see which one can truly claim to be the strongest. How appropriate!
Let's get one common misconception out of the way to start. From time to time, you'll see lists of interesting facts about the human body. Many times these lists will claim that the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. This is incorrect for a couple of reasons.
First, the tongue isn't a single muscle. It's actually made up of eight different muscles. Second, while very strong and flexible, the tongue cannot lay a valid claim to be the strongest muscle in the human body, regardless of how you define strength.
Now let's take a look at those muscles that might have a valid claim to the title of strongest muscle. If you define strength to mean the ability to exert the most pressure, then the strongest muscle in the human body is the masseter muscle. Of course, you probably call the masseter your jaw muscle.
This thick cheek muscle near the back of your jaw opens and closes your mouth when you chew. How strong is it? The Guinness Book of World Records claims the strongest bite ever recorded was 975 pounds of force! Of course, the jaw doesn't always work with that kind of strength, but it can regularly apply as much as 200 pounds of force on your molars when biting and chewing.
Others might equate “strongest" with “works the hardest." So which of your muscles does the most work? If you have blood pumping through your body, then you should know the answer. That's right! It's your heart.
Over the course of your life, your heart does more work than any other muscle. And the race isn't even close. Your heart works continuously over your entire lifetime without ever stopping. No other muscle comes close!
Your gluteus maximus is your largest muscle. More commonly known as the buttocks or your “rear end," the gluteus maximus plays a more important role than you may realize. In addition to being a comfortable place to sit, it helps to keep your body straight and balanced when you move around.
Your amazing body has a few other noteworthy muscles. For example, the external muscles around your eyes are large and some claim they are up to 100 times more powerful than they need to be, given the small size and weight of the eyeball. These muscles work hard, though. If you read for an hour, these muscles make approximately 10,000 coordinated movements!
Your soleus, just below the calf muscle, is the muscle that can pull with the greatest force. Your soleus constantly pulls against the force of gravity to keep you upright. Without the soleus, you wouldn't be able to walk or run!