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What Do Those “Poljanski” Veiny Legs Really Mean?

By Monica Buck

Is it a sign of extreme fitness? Is it exhaustion? And should you aspire to get them? The veiny Tour de France legs caused quite a stir on social media and raised a lot of questions. But the reality is surprisingly simple.

To get such prominent veins you need to have minimal amount of body fat, so there is no soft layer of fat under the skin to cover up those veins. Then add a significant increase in blood flow. The amount of body fat of the Tour de France riders is definitely as small as possible, and all that climbing in stage 16 made it certain Poljanski’s veins were going to be all out in the open.

Approximately 20 litres of blood circulate through the body of a recreational cyclist every minute. And in case of pros you need to double that amount. That also contributes to the bulging. So as we’ve already established, the prominent veins are not a result of physical exhaustion but are definitely a sign of extreme fitness levels. Should you aspire to get them, though?

Not necessarily. If you begin to train harder than ever before, and suddenly the bulging veins start to appear, it might be one of the indicators that you are going in the right direction. But bulging veins themselves provide no apparent health benefit. They are simply a side effect of all the things mentioned above.