Which muscles work while cycling?

Cycling doesn’t just affect your leg muscles. When riding on straight or uneven terrain or performing any manoeuvres, we must also involve the muscles of the buttocks, arms, abdomen and back. Check which muscle parts are developing while cycling!

Cycling – the perfect way to build strong muscles

When cycling, the muscles that work most intensively are, of course, the muscles of the legs (calves, two-headed and quadriceps thighs). However, it is not only these muscles that need to be forced to exercise once we get on the bike. Riding a bicycle activates the work of muscles such as:

  • buttock muscles
  • shoulder muscles
  • dorsal muscles
  • stomach muscles.

For this reason, among the many benefits of cycling, one is fast weight reduction and thus slimmer figure. Cycling training strengthens your legs, stomach and arms and will be the perfect complement to other exercises.

Optimal position during cycling
Optimal position during cycling

The involvement of specific muscles in work depends on:

  • bike configuration
  • selected derailleur (the harder setting, the stronger we engage the muscles),
  • type and difficulty of the terrain where we drive.

Of course, the right position on the bike is also necessary to get the right muscles involved.

At what times of cycling do individual muscles work?

Depending on the position of the pedals, different parts of the leg muscles and buttocks are involved at a different time of the cycling movement. During the “pushing movement”, the buttocks and quadriceps thighs are the most active. In turn, when our foot is in the lower position relative to the pedals, then we put the calves under the most weight. When the foot pulls the pedal up, we strongly activate the back parts of the leg muscles, as well as the front muscles below the knees.

And what about your abdominal muscles or hands? These muscles work during a ride on the difficult and uneven terrain. They perform a stabilizing function. We will feel their work when doing sharp climbs and sudden manoeuvres, as well as when descending steep slopes. Of course, MTB mountain bikes are recommended for such conditions, which will not only increase the comfort and safety of riding but also help engage your muscles.

Does cycling strongly build up leg muscles?

If you are a woman and you are afraid of excessive muscle growth in your legs, then just do not choose machines at the gym which are developing those muscles. Contrary to popular belief, cycling does not produce the effect of “male legs”.

To increase muscle mass, a large external load is needed, and with normal recreational riding, the bike does not provide such a physical load. Cycling is above all an endurance effort, not strength one.