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What Muscles Do You Work in Indoor Cycling Class?

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
What Muscles Do You Work in Indoor Cycling Class?
Cycling class at exercise gym Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

Indoor cycling does more than build a strong cardiovascular system. This intense class, in which you are led over a series of simulated hills and flat roads, experiencing virtual wind and competitive riders all set to the beat of music and a driven instructor, also builds strong leg muscles.

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Thigh Muscles

The down portion of the pedal stroke primarily targets your quadriceps, which are located in front of the thighs, while the motion of pulling up the back edge of the stroke targets your hamstrings at the back of the thighs.

Lower Legs

The muscles of the calf work for a majority of the pedal stroke, especially if you push down and pull up with your toes. Both the large, bulging gastrocnemius and smaller, internal soleus are activated by pedaling.

Back and Upper Body

Your upper body supports you as your rest your hands on the handlebars, but this region doesn't provide any real power. Your back muscles, particularly the erector spinae that run along the spine, help stabilize and support your torso as you ride in a pitched-forward position.

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