I’m still stuck on Pavel Poljanski’s veined legs pic from the Tour de France, I want to achieve that – what would it take for me to get there?
To achieve the veined-legs look, you’ll have to double your fitness. “High-level cyclists have double the blood flow to their legs compared to recreational exercisers,” explains vascular expert Dr Debabrata Mukherjee. While you may have about 20 litres a minute coursing through your pistons, a pro like Poljanski pumps 40 litres a minute. “That contributes to bulging, prominent veins,” says Mukherjee.
“These prominent veins are also due to a combination of low body fat accompanied by this significant increase in blood flow through the legs,” says Mukherjee. Elite pros have minimal body fat, so there’s no soft layer under the skin masking the veins, which are essentially sitting closer to the surface.
Prominent veins aren’t particularly beneficial; and like diamond-carved calves and second-kneecap quads, not every rider can achieve the same aesthetic.
But a few more veins rising to the surface is definitely an indicator of improving fitness, says Mukherjee.
“Since it reflects lower subcutaneous fat and higher blood volume,” he says, “it’s something that can indicate a higher level of performance.