Electromyography in cycling: difference between clipless pedal and toe clip pedal

Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol. 2001 Jun;41(4):247-52.


The purpose of this study was to verify if there is electromyographic difference in biceps femoris (long portion), semitendinous, semimembranous and gastrocnemius (lateralis and medialis) muscles, using clipless pedal and toe clip pedal. Thirty seven triathletes answered a questionnaire about their preferred type of pedal, which showed that 5.4% used toe clip pedal and 94.6% used clipless pedal. Four male triathletes (age: 21.75 +/- 2.50 years old; cycling experience: 5.00 +/- 2.45 years; preferred cadence: 83.75 +/- 7.5 rpm) rode their own bicycles on a stationary roller at 100 rpm. The subjects performed one trial with each type of pedal. Bipolar surface electrodes placed on right lower limb picked up the EMG signal during 6 s. A band-pass filter (10-600 Hz) was used. Two muscles (semitendinous and semimembranous) presented lower activity with clipless pedal for all subjects. Biceps femoris and gastrocnemius lateralis presented lower activity with clipless pedal for three subjects. This led us to conclude that there is less electromyographic activity with the use of clipless pedal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Electromyography*
  • Equipment Design
  • Exercise Test / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*