Cycling Muscles

I don’t know where this came from, but I spotted this interesting graphic on Bikeforums:
bike muscles

I’d once naively thought that cycling involved mainly the quadriceps. So I was very surprised when a minor calf strain kept me off my bike — why was that damn muscle twinging when my thighs were supposed to be doing all the work? Turns out that the calf does do a bit of work at 5-6 o’clock. The other surprising thing (surprising to the naive beginner cyclist that is) is the major role of the gluteus maximus, instead of the quads, at 12-3 o’clock. The natural instinct when one is waiting at a stop light is to bring the pedal up to somewhere at 1 or 2 o’clock for the accelerating power stroke. But going by the diagram the most power you can apply is from 3 o’clock onwards, and I can’t say I’m surprised by that — after commuting for long enough I began noticing that I couldn’t accelerate much at 1 or 2 o’clock.

Update Oct 6 2009: The graphic was originally from here.

22 Responses to “Cycling Muscles”


  1. 1 Ron George August 26, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Hi,

    This image was distributed on Bike Forums but originally comes from my blog article written in 2006. See : http://cozybeehive.blogspot.com/2006/10/what-muscles-are-you-using-to-pedal.html

    Would you kindly please provide the links to my article? Thank you.

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