Does cycling build leg muscles

Cycling is one of the best ways to give you an exceptional workout with loads of health and muscular benefits. However, for many, riding a bike can be a troublesome factor as well.

Why cycling strengthens legs that look awesome, and all genders show them off with pride. However, women want a better form without bulky calves and thighs.

On the other hand, men want a bit more muscle added to their bodies. Are you planning to take up biking? Maybe you are planning to take up biking to lose some bodyweight to get lean.

Calves and thighs

For years, there has been a big myth that riding a bicycle adds size to the thighs. The legend spread by exercisers that are un-educated, making you believe that this is true.

There is no need to worry that you will get large quadriceps and calves mainly if you only do normal riding. Endurance biking prevents you from building muscle to a great extent.

The reason is that when you cycle for a long time and push yourself, it stimulates the release of your cortisol stress hormone in the body as you experience fatigue. Therefore, any workout that is more than 90-minutes can effect and vary with exercisers.

The truth is that massive quads are not only the result of riding your bike. When you take up track cycling to specialize in short distance riding where the power to weight ratio plays an important part, you will spend more time in the gym.

A fact is that you will spend 60-minutes doing a gym workout from aerobic exercise to endurance training. However, it won’t cause you to bulk, but will give you strong legs.

You will have to lift weights regularly to get a response from the physique, providing power. Furthermore, it takes loads of refueling to help bulk up the leg.

calf muscles

For bulking up, you need loads of calories

When cycling to grow lean muscle, you need to consume the correct amount of calories to help replace what you are burning. Therefore, for losing weight, you need to consume less to help create a deficit in calories.

The opposite applies for growing powerful leg endurance and need a high-quality protein intake. A fact is that men and women build muscles differently.

Compared to men, women have a lower testosterone level with higher levels of body fat. As a woman, you need fat for a healthy menstrual cycle.

Furthermore, testosterone helps to increase bulging leg muscles, and for this reason, men naturally get bigger legs from cycling. For women, resistance training or strength training can help muscle building, but not as much as men.

Different body types

You can fall into three categories of body composition, Endomorphs, Mesomorph, and Ectomorph.

If you are an endomorph, you may find it difficult to lose fat, and the likeliness of developing muscle mass is not that high. Biking for short to hard intervals will help you shed extra fat and build leg muscle.

Ectomorph has a lean and tall figure and can gain muscle doing strength training, but with a slower rate. If you fall into this category, you benefit when becoming an endurance cyclist as you have less body weight to carry and helps strengthen legs.

Now, the Mesomorph is more likely to strengthen calves and more likely to become track riders or sprinters as the physique naturally produces power. Therefore, if you do fall into this category, embrace your muscles and use them to your advantage when biking.


For this reason, if you do start to take up cycling, it will change the shape of your calves. However, if you start doing loads of squats while maintaining the same level of fat and eating a lot, you will not get bigger.

Furthermore, while you gain muscle it makes it harder to store fat as it burns more calories. When resting, your muscles burn up to 50 calories a day compared to the same weight in fat that burns only 20. Therefore, your added muscle acts like a burner for calories.

The likeliness of gaining fat when packing on that muscle is less. A fact is that when you stand and look at yourself in the mirror, your figure is more.

So do not feel threatened that you will turn into the hulk, and even if you are putting on muscle as a man or woman cyclist, you look great.

Which muscle groups are stretched?

If you want to transform your body, take up biking as it provides you with speed and strength. Furthermore, exercise through cycling grows your muscular structure and gives you cardiovascular endurance as well.

You target the primary muscles in the lower body, the core, and arms at the same time. On the other hand, it offers you health benefits in losing fat, improves the lung & heart function, burns calories, and targets major muscle groups.

You will get a lean and fit body with stamina with regular cycling. Here are the targeted groups:

  •  Soleus that helps lift the heel and
  • Gastrocnemius the prominent part of the calf muscles
  • The hamstring is helps the knee to bend and quadriceps help to remain stable during pedaling(Thigh)
  • Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus (Glutes/Buttocks)
  • Biceps and Triceps (Arms)
  • Deltoids (Shoulders)
  • Plantar Flexors and Dorsiflexors (Foot)

The main muscles built during bike rides are your lower body, mainly the legs. Here you grow the two tissues, the calf and thigh. Riding a bike or using an indoor bike trainer, tightens the buttocks, and all of the muscles work together with the hips to help rotate the legs.

On the other hand, the calf and thigh are the leading recognized group with cycling, but there are other areas as well. You develop your core at the same with the back and stomach to remove pressure from your lower back.

Moreover, riding a bike helps improve your balance as well and strengthens your upper body and your arms. As you change position during your ride from leaning forward, standing, and ducking the upper body helps to shift your movement.

As you can see, when taking endurance rides and longer workouts, it will not develop leg muscles that are bulky. It will also boost your blood flow and is better than weight training if you want to tone the body.

So for the best workout, get on your bike and take a long ride for the best exercise available. While pedaling, you develop stamina, leaving you less fatigued to keep you in shape,and gives you endurance and better all-round cycling performance at the same time.


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