“Is there a way to cue a rider—in layman’s terms—who thinks they are quad dominant with how they ride, etc.—so that they are not just using or mostly using their quads? I know proper riding posture is important…but want to be sure I have the right cues/explanation.”
– Christine Ward Quinn
This is a great question and the answer is yes…and no. For most cyclists, and especially people taking indoor cycling classes, the quadriceps will be the dominant muscle group for powering the bike. Why? Using the quads does not require any focused training or mental effort. Using additional muscles such as the gluteals (mainly the gluteus maximus), hip flexors, and hamstrings requires proper form and position to allow the muscles to activate, awareness to know the muscles are activating, and conditioning to keep them from fatiguing quickly.
I’m not stating this to discourage you or your riders from trying, but rather to set the proper expectation and experience. It takes a disciplined focused effort, multiple times per week, over many months of training to develop the effective use of all the muscle groups mentioned. This does not mean we should not emphasize the form necessary for the best results.
The Simple Answer