The muscles you grow while cycling
It's not just the legs, there are a whole series of other muscles playing an important role in cycling. The most significant one is the gluteus maximus but we also need a strong core and heart.
If our heart is the engine, the pistons are in our hips.
The main muscles used are:
- Gluteus Maximus, belonging to the gluteus muscle group.
- Semimembranosus and Biceps Femoris, belonging to the hamstring muscle group.
- Vastus Medialis, Rectus Femoris and Vastus Lateralis, all three belonging to the Quadriceps.
- Gastrocnemius, commonly known as Calves
- Tibialis Anterior
Just imagine a pedal stroke as a movement around a clock face.
At each point in time we are using different muscles at different intensities. The greatest force is exerted between 12 and 6 o'clock (especially up to 5 o'clock) when we push the pedal down. Between 6 and 12 o'clock the force comes from the other leg and from the inertia of the pedal stroke. Pulling the pedal up does not improve efficiency, quite the contrary. It only makes sense in some situations in mountain biking (steep climbs and/or low traction) and in track cycling.
Finally, let us stress the importance of a correct position on the bike. Do not worry too much about it if you are an occasional cyclist. Just do a little research and you will easily find various tutorials and apps to help you adjust your bike. But if you are a regular cyclist remember to work on your core at home or at the gym and, above all, have a biomechanical analysis done to be as comfortable as possible on the saddle and to make sure your pedaling is efficient.