Does Cycling Build Leg Muscle?

Cycling helps strengthen and build your legs muscles

The stronger your legs, the better your cycling performance. With more muscular legs, you’ll be able to push better through the pedals and enhance your speed. This comes down to building your leg muscles.

Now, you could hit the gym for strength and endurance training, do some squats and heavy lifting, and build your leg muscles. But did you know cycling builds leg muscles too? Well, not as much as gym training would, but there are definitely some ways it helps. Let’s get into more details.

How Does Cycling Build Leg Muscles?

Leg Muscle Anatomy
Leg Muscle Anatomy

When you are cycling, you constantly work your legs and core primary muscles. As you push through the pedals, your quads and hams are in constant motion. They contract and relax simultaneously. Moreover, even your calf muscles get worked during cycling. With all that work on your muscles, they definitely get strengthened and become more toned at the same time as you lose a significant amount of body fat in the process.

However, just cycling will not do a lot to build your leg muscle mass unless you do it right. This means that while cycling builds leg muscles, you have to be particular in the way you ride to ensure that you’re benefiting the primary muscles of your legs.

So, what is it that you need to follow to build muscle around your leg from cycling? Read on to find out for yourself!

How Can You Build Your Leg Muscles While Riding a Bike?

Robert Forstemann
Robert Forstemann

Well, there are just some little things you need to do to build lean muscle, and you definitely do them inadvertently sometimes during your endurance rides. It’s time you started following those things consciously. Here’s everything you need to do.

Get Off Your Seat

Have you ever stood while pedalling? Well, if you have, you know that it gets a little harder to pedal that way, and you need to put in more effort and strength to move forward. Well, that’s what does the trick for building your leg muscles.

When you keep sitting in your seat, you’re quite comfortable and not really putting much effort into pedalling. The result is your leg muscles have less work to do, and they only get toned quite a bit.

As soon as you get off the seat, you’re adding your body weight to the pedals, and that serves as increased resistance. The result is that you work your leg muscles, especially your calf muscle, harder and reduce more body fat to progress well towards muscle growth and strengthening.

Moreover, as difficult and challenging it is, you’ll feel it is more adventurous and entertaining too, and it will be an amazing journey for you.

Go Uphill

Uphill Mountain Bike
Uphill Mountain Bike

You always have to put in additional effort when cycling uphill as you’re riding against the natural gravitational pull. The gravity will pull you downwards as you try to climb. 

As a result, you’ll have to fight against this increased resistance by pushing harder through the pedals, and that would mean working more on your leg muscles, contracting the quads and hams a lot more in comparison to what you do when riding on plain courses.

The more you work on your leg muscles through an aerobic exercise like uphill cycling, the stronger they become.

Track Your Cadence and Work Better on It

Cadence refers to your pedalling speed. You may not give much importance to it and would want to enhance it as much as you can so that you can ride faster and achieve better performance. However, managing your cadence is highly essential, especially when you want to build muscle on leg through cycling.

First of all, you need to know what your cadence is, and then you can work on it. You can just gear down to pedal faster and increase your cadence. Once you’re comfortable with that, then you can gear up, enhance the resistance, and pedal at quite a slower speed than your normal cadence to work your legs better and build the leg muscles.

What Other Ways Can You Develop Leg Muscles?

Robert Forstemann Split Squat

Now, while cycling builds leg muscles, that would not be enough. If you want to increase your cycling performance, you need to have strong legs with well-built and well-toned muscles. This simply requires more workouts and bike strength training on your part.

So, while you follow the ways to build leg muscles through cycling, what else you could do is go for off the bike training. You can hit the gym for weight training and strength training. That will add up a lot to helping build up your skinny legs muscles with cycling.

Related: Will Cycling Make Your Legs Bigger?

Summing Up!

When you’re cycling, your legs need to be strong, and that simply comes down to building leg muscles. Now, while cycling builds leg muscles, everything has to be a combination of on the bike and off the bike training.

So, plan your training as per your specific goals and see how it works in helping you build your leg muscles and enhancing your cadence, speed, and overall cycling performance in addition to other health benefits.

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