Have you ever seen a cyclist’s legs? Well, they look bigger than usual, isn’t it? The extreme buildup of bodily mass and those cuts around the quadriceps and hamstrings give a very different look to the legs. But, are they bigger or well-toned?
As a cyclist, you need to build extreme leg strength to push harder and faster through the pedals. This becomes more relevant when you’re into competitive cycling. However, you wouldn’t want your legs to look unusually bulky and out of shape in your attempt to build leg strength.
Well, the fact is you don’t have to worry about that either. As an aerobic exercise, the most cycling would ever do to your legs is tone them and make them look pretty; in fact, great. Basically, it depends on a lot of factors such as the way you train for cycling, your genetics, calorie burn, etc. As such, you mostly need to take care of your weight training, and you’ll be good to go.
To witness a considerable change in your legs, you have to practice strength training. The main goal of bike riding is to burn calories and increase your heart rate, which means unless you train your legs consistently by hitting the weight room, you cannot expect huge gains.
But how do you exactly go about this weight training? Let’s have a look!
How to Do Weight Training for More Toned Cyclist Legs?
Weight training will not only save your legs from getting bulky, but it will also make them more toned and strengthened. In short, you should do both off-bike and on-bike weight training to work your endurance muscle fibers and experience muscle hypertrophy.
Here are some of the things you can do.
On the Bike Weight Training
Bike weight training involves building your leg muscles while cycling. There are some ways you need to ride your bike to go through with this training. Here’s what you can do:
Stand Up Climbing
This exercise requires you to ride uphill and that too off your seat. So, what you need to do is find an uphill climbing route, take your bike, start riding and then slowly leave your seat to continue the climb. The weight and gravitational pull of your body will make pedaling harder, and you will have to use your legs more. That shall, in turn, build your leg muscles and tone them.
Low Cadence Riding
When you pedal a bit slower than your normal cadence, it helps work your leg muscles more. In this training exercise, all you need to do is gear up and ride with a lower pedaling speed.
Specifically, this exercise works your hips. All you need to do is focus on your upstrokes while riding and reduce that hip flexor.
Off the Bike Weight Training
Off the Bike Weight Training involves you hitting the gym to build your leg muscles responsible for power. You basically lift heavy weights and work your legs with them to add to the difficulty and endurance. You can also use an indoor bike trainer stand.
Some exercises that you can do are leg presses and squats. If you’re not confident with using the weights in the beginning, you can start the exercise without them and level up slowly and gradually.
With all this strength and resistance training, your cyclist legs will be much toned and strengthened and would look anything but bigger.
But when you do this strength and resistance exercise, it’s necessary that you put some other factors into consideration in addition to your training routine as well. So, let’s move on and have a look at them.
Other Factors to Consider When Training for More Toned Cyclist Legs
Well, all it requires is consistent efforts into your strength and endurance training. Other than that, your gender and genetics play a key role. Let’s see how!
Just go on and compare the legs of male and female cyclists and sprinters. You’ll see the difference for yourself.
Female cyclist legs are leaner in comparison to those of males. That happens due to the difference in hormonal secretions in both male and female bodies. Since males produce higher levels of testosterone, they naturally have lower body fat as compared to women, which is the reason male cyclist legs look stronger and more toned while female cyclist legs look leaner and slender. The higher levels of body fat in women is necessary for a healthy menstrual cycle. Moreover, testosterone also helps in creation of bulging muscles.
In simple terms, it can be concluded that if a woman practices resistant exercise, she’ll gain muscle, but not as much as a man, which is also the reason sedentary men naturally have more muscle than sedentary women. As such, you could do nothing about it, but you can prepare your mind and have a vision of how your legs would look, considering your gender.
Building muscle mass is highly dependent on your genetics as well. Some people naturally build muscle mass quickly, while some others need to work really hard to achieve that. In fact, for some people, it does not matter how hard they work, they still have skinny legs.
There’s again nothing you could do about it. You just need to understand your genetics, embrace them, and plan your training accordingly.
Related: Does Cycling Build Leg Muscle?
So, that was all about building your leg strength and making them more toned as you ride your bikes. While some cyclist legs look different and unusual, cycling mostly helps tone your legs and never make your legs bigger. All you need to do is keep up with the right strength, weight, and endurance training, and you shall have fantastic, strong, and toned legs!