In this article we are going to identify the leg muscles that we consider as a target in our lower body resistance training, this doesn’t mean that they are the only important muscles to train. Your legs, hips, and buttocks do generate the majority of your cycling power, but to stabilize the lower half of your body, you need to have a strong abdomen, back, and upper body. All sections of your body must work together to stabilize the bike and deliver maximum power to the pedals, but for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the leg muscles.
See the image below to have a better understanding of the importance of certain muscles during a pedal stroke. Muscles that are going to be the main focus on our lower body resistance training.
As we can see, we need do differentiate the actions of the muscles on the 2 phases of the pedal stroke, “Push – Power Phase” and “Pull – Upstroke Phase”.
The Power Phase is the most important, this is the exact moment when we need to apply the force to keep moving forward, and the primary muscles involved are the hip extensors (gluteus maximus) and leg extensors (vastus medialis, lateral and rectus femoris) followed by the hamstrings and the soleus and gastrocnemius medialis and lateral.
Keeping this in mind, we must consider the importance to maintain a good balance between the quadriceps, hips and the hamstrings to prevent injuries and improve performance.
Some of the exercises that must be part of our lower body resistance training are: