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Biking By Muscle

Biking is a great way to work your legs without taking a toll on your knees. To work the separate muscle groups in your legs it pays to pedal with clips, or straps, that secure your foot to the pedal.

Emphasize the downstroke: If you push on the downstroke you will work your quads - the muscle in the front of the thigh. This is also considered the most efficient stroke.

Emphasize the upstroke: Pulling on the upstroke will work your hamstrings - the muscle in the back of the thigh. While this technique is not the most effective for endurance riding, it will help you with sprints.

Emphasize smooth: Peddling in circle - this method will work your calves nicely. You hear this style called out a lot by Spin instructors. You imagine drawing a smooth circle with your foot as you're pedaling. This keeps the weight of your foot consistent through the entire stroke.

Experiment with different pedaling techniques and take full advantage of your leg power. Try this on the stationary bike at the gym, or if you have pedal clips on your own bike try them out on the road.

Join The Conversation
NdHebert NdHebert 10 years
What about outdoor biking? I can ride an indoor bike for hours. Outside I can only go for maybe 20 minutes!
roberto roberto 10 years
Learning a good upstroke is also really helpful for regular biking because it balances what muscles you are using instead of just using the upper quad section.
ktacce ktacce 10 years
have you heard of X biking? it's all the rage in Charlotte right now!
wiggle wiggle 10 years
love to get my hammies when i am biking! I used to hate toe clips and now i love them. Gonna try that circle idea on a flat patch of road.
katie225 katie225 10 years
i love spin class! i just went to one last night. they're really popular at my gym, people get rabid about signing up. the only thing i don't like about spinning is the fact that my butt feels like it's bruised afterwards!
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