Muscles used in cycling and how to strengthen them simply!

After doing lots of research and studying on how to improve my cycling I thought I would write a simple article on the what are the main muscles used in cycling while pedalling, explain their importance and most importantly how to strength and condition them.

Muscles used in cycling during the pedal stroke

The pedal strokeThe power phase of the pedal stroke happens as the hip and knee extend, pressing down on the pedal. This action starts with a combination of the gluteus and quadriceps muscles, which is basically your thigh and your butt! it then moves to the hamstrings and calf muscles as the revolution continues round. This shows the need for equally strong hamstrings, hips, and quadriceps as they make up the largest volume of muscles in the pedal stroke.

Building strength…..

All of the muscles listed above play a major part in the pedal stroke and therefore it is important to spend equal time on all of them. Here is a list of the most beneficial and time-efficient exercises that I have found to do to help improve the flexibility and strength of these muscles. Ideally, these should be done after your ride once you have re-fuelled and shower but you still benefit from doing these anytime so why not do them while you are watching tv in the evening for example if your short of time.

Exercises YOU can do at home to

Below I have listed a couple of exercises to get you started. These can be done at home with no equipment needed!

Glute activation

Bridge + Advanced single leg bridge

Now, this is a staple exercise for all cyclists, not only does it help activate and strengthen the glute and hamstring it also strengthens your core which is important for all cycling positions especially TT riders.

Quad Strengthening

Your quad is the most powerful muscle in your leg so improving this will rep rewards with your cycling career.

Do you lack basic mobility?

Improve your movement patterns and improve strength on the bike. Check out my 14-week plan here 

James Walsgrove

My cycling career started in 2005 when I purchased my first road bike and I was immediately hooked. Since then I have completed numerous cycling challenges including Ironman, Lands’ End to John O Groats, Mt Ventoux (all 3 ascents), London to Paris, the BBAR challenge which included a 12hour TimeTrial and more recently the Mallorca 312.