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

Over the last few years on the Internet have been circulating a lot of photos revealing the phenomenal upper leg development of track cyclists.

It’s safe to say that there are many bodybuilders who would kill for the leg mass seen in the photo below.

However, does this mean that one has to become a track cyclists in order to achieve similar muscular development?

Why aren’t we seeing bodybuilders on bikes sprinting?

image via: reddit.com;

image via: reddit.com;

So, why do track cyclists have such big legs?

Track cycling comes in many forms and one is intense sprinting. Sprinting is an activity which is primarily fast twitch dependent. This means that the muscle fibers responsible for short and explosive movements, such as weightlifting, get used the most. In contrast, endurance cyclists and marathon runners rely on slow twitch fibers which don’t have much of a growth potential.


A quick look at a comparison between a sprinter and a distance runner reveals shocking differences in muscular mass. The former is big and strong, while the latter has less muscle mass.

The reason is that form always follows function and any kind of extra weight makes it hard to run for a long time.

At the same time strong and decently big muscles are needed to be explosive and a fast sprinter.

Track Cyclists Train Like Bodybuilders

Unlike endurance road cyclists track cyclists are known to train like bodybuilders. They do intense leg workouts including squats, legs presses, Romanian deadlifts and other classic leg exercises.

Below is a video of Robert Forstermann a.k.a. Quadzilla who easily squats 210 kg/462 lbs for a set of 10. He is one of the track cyclists most known for their tremendous Tom Platz like leg size.

As you can see in the video Quadzilla’s form is pretty good. He also performs the high bar squat which is much more leg dominant compared to the low bar. {more}

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

Related articles: Quadriceps Training For Natural Bodybuilders

Are track cyclists natural?

Absolutely not. Unlike sports like gymnastics, skateboarding and other mainly skill based activities track cyclists benefit a ton from using steroids.

Track cyclists are not anymore natural than 100 m sprinters and we all know how natural those guys are.

Below is an image of an elite female track cyclists 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;

As you can see it didn’t take very long to see what’s going on.

The next image shows the popular British track cyclist Reg Harris who competed in the 40s and 50s when steroids were less popular. Notice that while his legs are really well developed they look small compared to those of most modern track cyclists.

Do you think it is a coincidence or maybe, just maybe, the development and expansion of drugs in all kinds of sports has something to do with the new size standards?


image via: www.podiumcafe.com;

Track Cyclists Use Bikes With Fixed Gear

Track cyclists use bikes with fixed gear. There are no different gears that can make it easier to pedal depending on the terrain. Obviously, the track doesn’t change.

In the end of the day 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 done by the cyclist Chris Hoy.

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

A regular road bike would have at least a few gears allowing you to start from a lower one and go higher as your speed increases. A regular 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 incredible strength and mass to be able to make up for the unfavorable levers.

In conclusion

The big legs of track cyclists are achieved the very same way bodybuilder develop theirs – through fast twitch training and muscle elixirs. If you become a track cyclist, your legs will grow and become much stronger. There’s no doubt about it. However, the same can be achieved through what one would consider regular bodybuilding training consisting of squats, leg presses…etc.

For most people getting involved in the sport of cycling can be quite expensive. The bikes ain’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, and therefore could be an expensive luxury for the average slave such as the writer of this post.

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