Muscle activation during pedal stroke
Muscles work in a systematic and coordinated way to generate and direct power from the human body to the crank during cycling. Understanding of the muscle involvement or recruitment pattern during cycling will be useful for developing specific and effective muscle training and rehabilitation programs for cyclists.
12 o’clock and 5 o’clock position
This is where most of the power occurs and when a majority of the primary muscles are activated. Hip flexion, along with hip and knee extension are the primary movements of a pedal stroke.
6 and 12 o’clock position
This is where there is some knee flexion to help bring the pedal back to the top but helping that flexion is the greater downward force being placed on the opposite pedal, by the opposite leg.
The muscles that help return the foot to the top range from the hamstrings and calves at the bottom of the stroke, pulling the foot backwards, to the quadriceps at the top, lifting the foot and knee back to the 12 o’clock position.
Like to learn more?
If you have a level 2 fitness qualification and would like to learn more about cycling, you can become an indoor studio cycling instructor with our blended 1 day course - click here for details on this course.