Every time I look up anything fitness related I get confused between 'muscle' and 'muscles.' Do we say:

  1. How to build muscle. - here I'm talking about all the muscles in my body but some pages still use muscle.

  2. How to grow your chest muscle.- Do we say 'muscles' or 'muscle' here? As far as I know chest is considered a single muscle.

Bodybuilders are now drinking breast milk to build muscle: https://www.timesnownews.com/health/article/bodybuilders-are-now-drinking-breast-milk-to-build-muscle-is-it-safe-for-adults/648409

Some men are now drinking breastmilk to build muscles: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/shocking-some-men-are-now-drinking-breastmilk-to-build-muscles/articleshow/77928967.cms

1 Answer 1


For 1., either muscle or muscles can be used. The singular form means muscle in general. Muscle in general, in a person's body, consists of individual muscles, so either term works.

For 2., there is no single muscle known as the chest muscle. People's chests have lots of muscles. Here, it would be better to use the plural, because "your chest muscle" might lead people to think that it is actually a unique muscle.

  • 1
    You can nevertheless refer to just one of many chest muscles by presenting its name. Sep 7, 2020 at 16:22
  • 1
    Quite. My pecs are sore today. Sep 7, 2020 at 19:05
  • I see. Would it be correct to say "His muscle is very thick but lean" to mean his all his muscles in general? Or should I say "His muscles are very thick but lean?"
    – Ashraf
    Sep 11, 2020 at 7:15
  • "Thick but lean" would be an unusual description, either way. You could say "His muscles are well-developed.", If you mean muscle in general, you might say "His musculature is well-developed." Sep 11, 2020 at 14:48
  • So you suggest plural. I've heard some people say- "I need some muscle/ Time to build some muscle." Should it be 'some muscles?'
    – Ashraf
    Sep 14, 2020 at 8:26

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