10 Difference between Red and White Muscle with Table

What is the difference between red and white muscle?

Muscle fibers vary in function, composition, and require different fitness. However, genetics plays a vital role in the distribution of muscle fibers and also a physical activity that enhances its vitality.

The discussion provides a detailed insight into the difference between red and white muscles with a comparison chart. Besides that, we have created a comparison video of red and white muscles for easier understanding.

Difference between Red and White Muscle

What Is a Red Muscle?

Red muscle refers to muscle fibers that are dark red due to myoglobin. These types of muscle fibers are also known as slow-twitch muscles. They portray slow twitching and experience less fatigue.

Characteristics of Red Muscles

  1. They are dark red in color
  2. Have numerous mitochondria
  3. Have thin muscle fibers
  4. Show slow contraction
  5. Experience less fatigue
  6. Use aerobic metabolism
  7. Have smaller motor units
  8. No accumulation of lactic acid
  9. A large amount of myoglobin
  10. Can perform prolong work

What Is a White Muscle?

White muscle is a skeletal muscle fiber that is lighter in color due to inadequate myoglobin. They are quite common in the eyeball. They are also known as fast-twitch muscles due to fast twitching and high rate of fatigue.

Characteristics of White Muscles

  1. Has a low mitochondrial concentration
  2. Tend to be light in color
  3. Experience high rate of fatigue
  4. Have thick muscle fibers
  5. Experience fast contraction
  6. Has the adequate lactic acid accumulation
  7. Perform fast on strenuous work
  8. Have a large motor unit
  9. Show fast twitching
  10. Suitable for short-time work

Comparison Chart: Red Muscle Vs White Muscle

Basic Terms Red Muscle White Muscle
Color Dark red Light
Mitochondria Numerous Fewer
Sarcoplasmic reticulum Less More
Oxidation Aerobic Anaerobic
Contraction Slow Fast
Diameter Thin Thick
Fatigue Show less fatigue Show fast fatigue
Accumulation Low accumulation of lactic acid High accumulation of lactic acid
Power Low power High power
Work Suitable for performing prolong work Suitable for performing short-time work
Alternative name Slow-twitch muscles Fast-twitch muscles
Example Extensor muscles of the human Eye ball muscles

Core Differences between Red and White Muscle

  1. Red muscles have a high amount of mitochondria while white muscles have a low amount of mitochondria
  2. Red muscles are dark red in color while white muscles are light in color
  3. Red muscles experience low fatigue while white muscles experience a higher rate of fatigue
  4. White muscles have thick fibers while red muscles have thin fibers
  5. White muscles experience a lot of lactic acid accumulation while red muscles experience less lactic acid accumulation
  6. White muscles are suitable for performing strenuous work fast while red muscles for performing strenuous work slowly
  7. White muscles have large motor units while red muscles have shorter motor units
  8. Red muscles show slow twitching while white muscles show fast twitching
  9. White muscle experience fast contraction while red muscle experience slow contraction
  10. An example of red muscle is the extensor muscles of the human while the white muscle is the eyeball muscles.

Comparison Video


The core difference between red and white muscle is that red muscles are dark red in color due to the presence of myoglobin while white muscles are light in color due to the absence of myoglobin. Besides that, red muscles have smaller motor units while white muscles have larger motor units.

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