Bike doc: Matt Seaton

Dear Matt,

What do you know about appropriate combinations of seat height/load value/ duration of cycling period to promote the strength of different leg muscles? I would like to emphasise quad development.

Peter Newton, via email

Saddle height is something you want to get right: the important thing is that your leg be nearly but not quite straight when the pedal is furthest away (a 5-10% bend in the knee). Too low or too high can cause knee problems and is inefficient.

If you ride a lot, your quadriceps (the muscles on the front and outside of the femur) will grow anyway. Look at any pro cyclist standing on the podium! Sprinters tend to have the biggest legs, because their discipline is all about putting out huge watts for brief periods, rather than endurance. So if you really want bulging thighs, I suggest high-repetition, short-duration anaerobic efforts in a high gear. What flavour protein drink you then buy is up to you.

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