How To Activate Glutes While Cycling (Expert Tips)

If you’re a cyclist, chances are you’ve heard about your glutes and all the benefits they offer. But if you haven’t yet activated those muscles, here’s a quick guide to get them fired up!

Spinning to Build your Glutes
Glute activation is crucial for cycling
Engage your glutes for maximum power and endurance
Incorporate glute activation exercises into your training routine
Glute activation can help prevent injury and improve performance
Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and glute bridges are great exercises for glute activation

Stand Out Of The Saddle

To activate your glutes, stand out of the saddle for short periods of time. It’s important to maintain an upright position and keep your posture upright, so that you’re not hunched over with a rounded back. 

This can be hard if you’re used to sitting in a low position when you ride. Try standing up for short bursts at first, then work up to longer periods once you’ve gotten comfortable with it. 

You can do this by either standing on top of your pedals or getting off and walking around while maintaining an upright position (this is often called “standing on top” or “walking”).

You want to try having 80 rpm cadence as much as possible (spinning at 80 rpm will give you this).

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Climb In And Out Of The Saddle

As you climb out of the saddle, your glutes will be engaged. This is because your hips and glutes are forced to work as stabilizers as you pull up on the pedals. 

From this position, you can also engage one leg at a time to get an even more targeted feel for what’s happening with that part of your body.

You may also want to experiment with climbing in and out of the saddle throughout your ride the more often you do this, the more evolved your riding skills will become!

Ride The Cobbles

“Cobble” is a word often used in cycling. The cobbles are usually broken pieces of hard stone that form flat sections on roads and paths. You’ll find them in Paris-Roubaix, which is one of the most famous races in professional cycling.

What makes riding over cobbles so difficult? They can be slippery and uneven, making it difficult to maintain balance while riding at high speeds (which means you have to pedal faster). 

By practicing how to activate your glutes while climbing hills with good form, you’ll become more efficient at powering up inclines and keeping your cadence steady when the road gets rough or crowded with riders around you.

Cycling is a highly technical sport, and small adjustments can make a significant difference in your overall performance. Check out our easy tips on getting better at cycling to learn how to improve your speed and endurance and take your cycling skills to the next level.

Don’t Sit Down All The Time

Another important factor is to not sit down all the time. When you’re on your bike, it’s easy to get into a rhythm of sitting and standing up without really thinking about it. 

But when you’re riding for long distances or climbing steep hills, this can lead to some serious leg fatigue.

Standing out of the saddle will help engage your glutes and give you a more efficient pedaling position plus, standing out of the saddle will help establish better balance on technical sections of trail or road. 

You’ll also get faster speeds overall because each pedal stroke contributes more power from both legs at once (compared with just one).

Sprint Over Hills

One of the best ways to activate your glutes is by performing hill sprints. According to studies, sprinting over hills may be more effective than traditional weightlifting for developing athletic strength and power. 

The key here is to not go too hard in your first few attempts, which can result in injury if you’re not accustomed to it yet. 

Instead, start by doing a few short sprints up an easy hill at a low intensity until you build up enough endurance and confidence before trying longer and more difficult hills.

You can also perform this exercise while coasting down a steep incline: simply engage your glutes while standing on the pedals (with them at their most extended position), then coast down as fast as possible without pedaling! 

This variation will not only increase speed but also help strengthen those muscle groups responsible for stabilizing hips during fast descents on technical terrain

If you are a regular cyclist, you are likely familiar with the burning sensation caused by lactic acid buildup. Learn how to reduce this discomfort while improving your overall performance with our easy tips on stopping lactic acid during cycling.

Put On Your Biggest Gear And Ride It Out

To begin, find your biggest gear. This will be the smallest number on your cassette and chainring. If you are not sure what this is, ask a friend or ride shop employee for help.

In this gear, pedal as hard as possible without any resistance from the pedals themselves (i.e., no resistance of gears). 

As you pedal, pay attention to how it feels compared to riding in other gears when you have more ability to accelerate using smaller numbers on the cassette and chainrings. 

When riding in large gears like this, it’s impossible not to push down really hard with each stroke of the pedal; however, even if these strokes feel exaggerated at first they should feel very natural after doing them for a few minutes.

After going through such heavy exertion briefly (three minutes), shift back up into an easier gear and check how fast your heart rate is beating (if wearing a heart rate monitor). 

Also notice how quickly your legs recover from their exhaustion this speed indicates how conditioned they are!

Lose 2 Pounds Off Your Bike

There are two ways you can lose weight on your bike. You can change the weight of your bike, or you can lose weight yourself.

The first method is the most obvious: cut down on what you carry! If you’re carrying a lot of stuff while riding, chances are it’s making your bike heavier than it needs to be and slowing down your progress. This is especially true if you’re carrying items that aren’t necessary for every ride (i.e., snacks).

The second method involves losing weight in order to make cycling easier for yourself—and thus more enjoyable. 

Obviously this isn’t an option for everyone (there’s no shame in being heavy!), but if it works for you then there’s no reason not to try it out! 

A few pounds will make all the difference when it comes down to long rides with steep hills and hot temperatures; just ask anyone who has been biking their way through summer lately!

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Include Off-Bike Workouts Into Your Routine

You’re probably familiar with the importance of off-bike workouts and strength training for cyclists. But did you know that these exercises are just as important for triathletes?

Tightness in the core is one of the main culprits when it comes to glute weakness and underperformance, so it’s key to include a strong core in your program. 

That means working on abdominal strength, back strength and hip stability all of which can be accomplished by incorporating core movements into off-bike workouts.

Here are some examples:

  • Plank variations
  • Bird dog variation (aka “puppy pose”)
  • Side plank variation

Try To Hit A Specific Cadence

To get the most out of your pedal strokes, try to hit a specific cadence. Cadence is how many times your foot hits the ground in one minute in other words, it’s how fast you’re pedaling.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for between 80 and 100 RPM (revolutions per minute). Cycling with a higher cadence has been shown to improve performance and reduce injury, so if you’re not already doing this on your own, give it a try!

Pedal Circles – Not Squares

Pedaling circles is a great way to develop power and efficiency. It allows you to stay seated longer than traditional pedaling, which can help you maintain a smooth pedal stroke. 

It also gives you more control over your bike, allowing you to climb hills with less effort and maintain speed while descending.

If this is something that interests you, try it out during an easy ride first so that your body has time to adapt before trying it during harder efforts like sprints or races.

Take Advantage Of Stand Up Drills

Stand Out of the Saddle: Stand up for a few seconds and then sit down again. You can do this on a flat road or a hill. Do this for 30 seconds at a time, with a minute of seated riding in between.

Stand Up and Pump Them Around: When cycling on level terrain, stand up and move your hips as though you are riding an imaginary stationary bike pumping them around like pistons through each pedal stroke. You should feel it in your glutes but also get some ab workout from this drill!

Do Bigger Gear Intervals In A Group Or Race Environment

You can also take advantage of the benefits of group training to develop your glutes. The main benefit is that being in a group will help you push yourself harder. 

If you’re riding with others, they’ll know if you are trying to hold back and they’ll encourage you to keep going.

Another great way to get your glutes firing while cycling is by doing race intervals during your training sessions. 

This means doing smaller efforts at higher speeds than your normal endurance ride pace, but over an extended period of time (usually 10 minutes), instead of just one big effort like in a sprint or hill climb race where there is no recovery between efforts.

Bigger Gear Intervals in Group/Race Environment

Group AccountabilityThe sense of accountability that comes with cycling in a group can help push cyclists to new levels of performance. This is because the competitive environment of group riding often brings out the best in most cyclists.
Boosts EndurancePerforming bigger gear intervals in a group or race environment can help improve your endurance. The high intensity of interval training combined with the dynamic nature of group riding provides an energetic and engaging workout sure to challenge even the most experienced cyclists.
Increases SkillsetCycling in a group requires a high level of cycling proficiency. Therefore, joining a group or participating in racing events will help develop a broad range of cycling skillsets, such as drafting, cornering, sprinting and handling your bike in hazardous conditions.
Encourages Risk TakingCycling in a group or race environment teaches riders to calculate and take risks without endangering themselves or their fellow riders. The fast-paced nature of these sessions trains cyclists to be more decisive, handle bike with more control and react in a split second in dangerous situations.

Recovery Intervals – Seated, Light Resistance, Low Cadence

Recovery intervals are a great way to improve endurance and build strength. The purpose of this exercise is to do low intensity pedaling at a high cadence. 

How often should you do this exercise? I recommend doing it three times per week, with at least 48 hours between each session. 

How many sets and reps should you do? Typically, 3 sets of 60-90 seconds are enough to get the job done. What is the target heart rate for this exercise? You’re looking for a heart rate that matches your lactate threshold (which should be around 70% of your max heart rate). 

At this point your breathing will become heavy but not labored; if you can maintain conversation while exercising then it’s too easy! You shouldn’t need any more than 10 minutes rest between each set so keep moving!

Recovery Intervals – Seated, Light Resistance, Low Cadence

Recovery Interval TechniqueDescription
Seated RecoverySit on the saddle without standing on the pedals to minimize effort on the lower body muscles.
Light ResistanceUse minimal resistance on the indoor cycling bike, allowing yourself to maintain a cadence of 80-110 rpm (revolutions per minute).
Low CadenceKeep the resistance low and slowly lower the cadence to 60-70 rpm to let your legs rest and recover for the next high-intensity effort.


The key is to remember that if you want to get more out of your cycling, you’re going to have to put in the effort. 

You may not see results right away, but with patience and practice, you can improve your cycling technique and build strength in those glutes!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that can help you learn more about cycling and glute activation:

Best Glute Exercises for Cyclists: This article provides a comprehensive guide on the best glute exercises for cyclists and how to incorporate them into your training routine.

Recruit Your Glutes to Make the Biggest Muscle in Your Body Even Stronger: This article explains the importance of glute activation in cycling and provides tips on how to recruit your glutes for maximum power and efficiency.

Pro Tips for Glute Activation: This blog post shares pro tips from cycling coaches and experts on how to activate your glutes while cycling and improve your overall performance on the bike.


What is glute activation, and why is it essential for cycling?

Glute activation is a technique used to activate your glute muscles before exercise, which can help with injury prevention, performance, and muscle development. In cycling, glute activation is crucial because it engages the muscles responsible for power production and endurance.

What are some exercises that can help activate the glutes?

Some popular exercises for glute activation include squats, lunges, deadlifts, and glute bridges. These exercises help activate your glute muscles, making them more efficient and effective during cycling.

How often should you do glute activation exercises?

The frequency of glute activation exercises varies depending on the individual’s goals and fitness level. However, incorporating these exercises into your warm-up routine two to three times a week is usually sufficient.

Can glute activation help prevent injury in cycling?

Yes, glute activation can help reduce the risk of injury by increasing flexibility and mobility in the hip joint and stabilizing the pelvis. Strong glutes also help keep your knees in alignment, which can prevent knee injuries that are common in cycling.

Can glute activation exercises help with other sports besides cycling?

Yes, glute activation exercises can help with other sports that involve lower body movements, such as running, swimming, and weightlifting. These exercises can help improve performance, prevent injury, and build overall lower body strength.