Why Do Track Cyclists Have Such Big Legs? Is cycling the key to massive leg growth?

Over the last few years, photos revealing the phenomenal upper leg development of track cyclists have been flooding the online realm. It’s safe to say that many bodybuilders would kill for the quadriceps below. However, is cycling the secret behind this extraterrestrial leg mass? Why aren’t we seeing bodybuilders on track bikes?

image via: reddit.com;

image via: reddit.com

Why do track cyclists have such big legs?

Cycling comes in many forms. One of them is intense sprinting. Sprinting is a fast-twitch fiber business just like weightlifting. In contrast, endurance cyclists and marathon runners rely on slow-twitch power.

A quick look at a sprinter and a distance runner reveals shocking differences in muscular mass. The former is big and strong whereas the latter is skinny and fragile. The reason is that form always follows function. Sprinting benefits from extra muscle mass. Long distance running doesn’t.


Track Cyclists Train Like Bodybuilders

Track cyclists train like bodybuilders. They do intense leg workouts including squats, legs presses, Romanian deadlifts and other classic movements.

Below is a video of Robert Forstermann a.k.a. Quadzilla who easily squats 210kg/462 lbs for a set of 10.

As you can see in the video, Quadzilla’s form is pretty good.

He performs the high bar squat which is more leg dominant than the low bar. {more}

Have you ever seen someone with small legs who can squat 210kg for a set of 10? I guess not.

Are track cyclists natural?

Absolutely not. Track cyclists are not more natural than the 100m sprinters, and we all know how natural those guys are.

Below is an image of an elite female track cyclist under the name of Tammy Thomas. According to the official information, she tested positive for steroids in 2002.

image via: www.totalprosports.com;

image via: www.totalprosports.com

The next image shows the popular British track cyclist Reg Harris who competed in the 40s and 50s when steroids were not as popular. His legs are developed but small in comparison to those of most modern track cyclists.

Do you think this is a coincidence or maybe, just maybe, the advancement of PEDs has had an influence on the new size standards?

RegHarris-track-cyclists

image via: www.podiumcafe.com

Track Cyclists Use Bikes With a Fixed Gear

Track cyclists use bikes with a fixed gear. This requires the cyclist to always pedal aggressively. There’s no time to rest and take photos. Speed is everything.

In the video below, you can see the so-called standing start performed by the cyclist Chris Hoy.

The launch requires an incredible effort because of the fixed gear.

A regular road bike would have at least a few gears allowing you to start from a lower one and go higher as the speed increases. A track bike does not offer similar options since fixed gear systems are faster in the long run. That’s why track cyclists have to develop extra mass and strength to make up for the unfavorable leverage.

In conclusion

If you become a track cyclist, your legs will grow. There’s no doubt about it. However, the same size can be achieved through regular lifting. Track cyclists do not have some sort of training secrets that will somehow help you reach beyond your natural potential.

For most people, the sport of cycling can be quite expensive. The bikes aren’t exactly cheap, and not every town has a training facility. Not to mention the fact that it’s a time-consuming activity that does not generate money unless you’re a pro.

One comment

  1. Adam

    I started with my dad’s old touring bike, I just put it in the highest gear and do a sort of HIIT workout do a minute lunch then a minute rest then Another launch like in that video and so on. it kills my legs even after 20 mins, I replaced sprinting with cycling just because I prefer it for my cardio. I do all of this in tandem with my weight training but do I keep cycling away from weight training because I heard cardio and gym should be kept apart time wise or can I do it before/after?

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