We have examined the anatomy and fibre type composition of the human adductor pollicis in muscles taken post mortem. Histochemical staining of muscle fibres showed that type I fibres predominated in all cases with a mean occurrence of 80%. This composition is similar to that of the soleus muscle and unlike that of the quadriceps which has approximately equal proportions of the two fibre types. Comparing the contractile characteristics, however, the adductor pollicis has similar properties to the quadriceps and both are quite distinct from those of the slowly contracting soleus muscle. The lack of correlation between fibre composition, as revealed by histochemical staining, and contractile properties in these muscles must mean that fibres of the same type from different muscles do not necessarily have the same contractile speed. The results also suggest that the type I fibres of the human adductor pollicis are faster than those of both the soleus and quadriceps muscles.