Skeletal muscle is possibly one of the most abundant tissues on earth! From microscopic insects and acorn-sized mammals up to giant whales that cruise the planet's oceans, muscle is the ubiquitous tissue. Interest in skeletal muscle peaked in 1954 when Huxley developed the sliding filament theory to explain muscle's contractile function. Move forward half a century, and some said that the glamour of muscle had slipped a bit. Which made Hans Hoppeler and Bob Boutillier think that it was time muscle had a renaissance. In this special issue of the J. Exp. Biol. they have gathered together papers that discuss the smallest, the strongest, the fastest and the hottest muscles on the planet. Hoppeler and Boutilier believe that this collection will leave`everyone appreciating the malleable nature of muscle, and that the same principles underlie all skeletal muscle, despite the diversity.'