Reiser, R. F., & McMurtre, A. P. (2005). Lower extremity muscle activation differences between upright and recumbent cycling. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 37(5), Supplement abstract 2053.

College-age males (N = 15) cycled in upright and recumbent positions at 60 rpm and 90 W. Various anatomical segments were evaluated for contributions to movements. EMG recordings were gathered for major hip and leg muscles.

Muscle activation levels changed significantly within a pedal revolution for all muscles in both cycling positions. Those levels were also significantly different between both positions for all muscles except the tibialis anterior and the hamstrings. Major differences between the cycling forms were observed in both the propulsive and recovery phases of the pedaling movement.

Implication. Upright and recumbent cycling are two distinctly different skills with discrete patterns of muscular movement and involvement.

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