The Muscles That Are Worked Whilst Bike Riding

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Bike riding is one of those sports that anyone can enjoy and the benefits are almost limitless. Some use cycling as a means of getting from A to B, whilst others cycle to boost their fitness and tone up their muscles. The fitness benefits for your muscles varies quite a lot depending on which type of cycling you do. If you cycle very long distances at relatively low intensity, your muscles will become very good at endurance and will build many slow-twitch fibres. Conversely, it is powerful fast-twitch fibres that are built when your riding style is of high intensity but over shorter periods of time. So which muscles get worked the hardest when you ride a bike.

Quadriceps (thighs). When cycling, its is the muscles at the front of the legs that provide the majority of the forces and thus are worked hardest. These are the muscles that straighten out the leg and produce the down force on the pedals, which in turn rotate the crack. Racing bikes in fact are designed to locate the quads directly over the crack so that maximum efficiency is achieved. When travelling at speed the quadriceps contract and relax at an incredible rate and a great deal is demanded of them.

Gastrocnemius (calf). The calf muscle is a great deal smaller than the quads, but no less important when it comes to propelling the bike forwards.  Flexing the calf muscles when the leg is in a straight position, points the toes towards and adds a small boost to the overall power output. Pinarello make pedals that dynamically pivot to squeeze every last bit of power juice from the calf muscles.

Hamstrings. After the quads have forced the leg down and helped move the bike forwards, the hamstrings work to to pull it back up again and reset the leg ready for another push.  This doesn’t require much force on a standard bike as the rotation of the pedals pushes the leg up but when you use cycling shoes that clip to the pedals, a large amount of additional force can be generated by these muscles in the upward movement

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