On the medial side (closest to the middle) of the thigh, the adductor magnus muscle creates the shape of a large triangle. As an adductor, it contracts and pulls the hip towards the body's midline. This action is a fundamental part of walking, sprinting, and a variety of other bipedal motions. The muscle also extends the hip. While an adductor, the muscle is often considered to be part of the hamstring group as well.

The muscle originates in the pelvic region; specifically, it arises from the pubis and the tuberosity of the ischium, which are also known as the sitz or sitting bones. Then, the muscle inserts into several parts of the femur bone.

Oxygenated blood arrives at the adductor magnus muscle via the obturator artery, which branches from the internal iliac artery. Once blood is depleted of oxygen, the obturator veins drain into the venal system.

For adductive motion, innervations come by way of the inferior branch of the obturator nerve. For hamstring functions, the muscle is served by the sciatic nerve.