Is It Possible To Build Muscles By Cycling?

By Rachel Lee
Published on
This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

Strong leg muscles enable cyclists to pedal harder and faster. This is important for increasing speed and successfully cycling through the difficult sections of the course.

The popularity of cycling is steadily increasing. Numerous cyclists have asked if muscles can be built by cycling. The answer is yes. Cycling can be used to effectively build leg muscles. The two main muscles targeted are the hamstrings and quadriceps.

When riding a bicycle, the hamstrings and quadriceps perform most of the work while pedaling. The soleus and gastrocnemius muscles in the calf are also impacted. There are specific techniques for building muscle while cycling.

Cycling Techniques for Building Muscle

Cyclists can increase the rate at which muscle is built by using a variety of different techniques. Some of the best and most frequently used techniques are defined below.

Standing While Riding

Cyclists who sit while riding will not build a lot of muscle. Sitting not offer enough resistance while pedaling. The most common result is increasing endurance, toning up and strengthening the muscles.

In order to really build muscle, one of the best techniques is standing while cycling as opposed to sitting. The weight of the body increases the level of resistance to provide a great workout, especially for the calf muscles.

The best option is beginning with a slow ride, staying in the standing position and gradually raising up the heels. This will apply extra weight on the down-stroke, while creating additional resistance for the upstroke.

The added tension and weight will help the cyclist build muscle. Starting slowly is important to help ensure the cyclist does not become imbalanced, leading to a potential fall.

Monitoring Cadence

When cycling, cadence is the rate at which the cyclist is turning the pedals or the number of times the crank is turned per minute. Cadence is extremely important for the development of leg muscles.

Once the cyclist determines their peak cadence, cycling can be adjusted to ensure peak power levels are achieved. The cyclist needs to begin by determining their natural cadence in accordance with their level of fitness.

This simply means the cadence the cyclist achieves when cycling smoothly at peak power levels. For the majority of cyclists, this is between 90 to 100 RPMs.

Riding Uphill

Building muscles cycling on flat surfaces is difficult because there is not enough resistance. The best option is cycling uphill as much as possible. Gravity will force the body to use the leg muscles a lot more.

Once the muscles are no longer in a comfort zone, cycling against the added resistance will result in muscle growth. Cycling uphill forces the body and bike to fight the resistance. This is an excellent way to build both hamstrings and quadriceps.

Cycling uphill on a regular basis will build up leg muscles quickly. The individual will have a lot more power when cycling on a flat surface.

Benefits of Cycling

Cycling is classified as an aerobic activity. The lungs, blood vessels and heart all receive a good workout. Cyclists have to breathe deeper, the body temperature increases and perspiration occurs.

The result is an improved level of overall fitness. The health benefits of cycling on a regular basis include:

• Reduces stress levels
• Increased flexibility and muscle strength
• Strengthens bones
• Manages or prevents numerous diseases
• Increased cardiovascular fitness
• Improves coordination and posture
• Decreases depression and anxiety
• Improves joint mobility
• Reduces levels of body fat

How Do I Build Big Leg Muscles?

Cycling using different techniques offers a variety of benefits. Short, hard efforts and constantly sprinting will substantially increase the size of the leg muscles. Endurance cycling will result in stronger legs with the muscle less apparent.

Individuals interested in especially large leg muscles generally need to combine visits to the gym with cycling. The best way to increase the size of the leg muscles is through low reps and high weight.

It is important for cyclists to understand building up the leg muscles beyond a certain point will be detrimental for certain types of cycling. Excess muscle will decrease speed for longer rides.

The best option is to combine endurance rides such as a 40 km with sprinting and weight training. The cyclist will increase muscle mass, without enough excess muscle to substantially decrease speed.

Building Strength and Power on the Bike

Force is generally defined as the ability to get past resistance. For cyclists, force is the ability of the muscles to move the cycle forward by turning the cranks. Speed drills and cadence offer cyclists the ability to increase velocity.

Increased velocity helps the cyclist apply additional force to the petals to help increase both power and strength. The result is an improvement in both speed and power output.

Increasing Resistance

The best way to improve force is to increase the cyclist’s resistance on the bike. There are several different ways to accomplish this. The most popular is by using the force of gravity.

Another option is cycling directly into a headwind. If neither of these options is available, resistance can be increased by using either an inside trainer or extremely large gears.

Working the Core

Every cyclist needs to understand the critical importance of a strong core. No matter how well developed the calves, hamstrings, quads and extensors, a strong core is essential.

The only way to optimize the full potential of a cyclist for the best possible force on the petals is by strengthening the core. The core encompasses all the muscles both surrounding and in the abdomen and lower back.

There are good workouts to increase the strength of the core while on a stationary bicycle. The cyclist starts by riding in an aero position. The hands must be placed on a parallel with the ground. This is referred to as on the hoods or in the drops.

The cyclist must keep the torso in this position, then remove the hands from the bars. The hands are then clasped behind the back. The upper body needs to be kept as still as possible. During this exercise, the individual must continue cycling.

As the cyclist uses this technique, the importance of the core should become apparent. The core is responsible for transferring power from the body to the bike. There are options for increasing the amount of time the technique is performed.

The technique can be performed at different cadences or by using different gears. The recommendation is beginning with five-minute sessions. The cyclist should gradually increase the length of each session to a minimum of 15 minutes.

A helpful tip is elevating the front wheel of the bicycle. This is a good way to simulate an elevation in terrain.

Cycling FAQ

Can I Improve My Health by Cycling?

Cycling generally improves both mental and physical health. Cyclists also decrease the risks of numerous health issues. Regular cycling can lessen the effect of several mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression.

The effects are due to the pleasure of cycling combined with the impact of exercising on a regular basis. Cycling enhances, coordination, balance and strength. Cycling can additionally help prevent fractures and falls.

For individuals with osteoarthritis, cycling is ideal. The exercise places extremely little pressure on the joints and is classified as low-impact. Cycling decreases blood fat levels and strengthens the muscles of the heart.

According to research, individuals who ride a bike to work decrease their exposure to pollution two to three times as opposed to individuals driving cars, This improves the lung function.

Will Cycling Give Me Big Legs?

Although this is a common concern of many new cyclists, the answer is no. One of the most frequently performed Google searches is whether or not cycling will result in big legs.

Unfortunately, there is an old myth that cycling results in big legs. This has prevented many women from enjoying cycling. This is just a myth and not true. The myth has resulted in a lot of women associating incorrect body images with cycling.

Cycling will improve the leg muscles, increase leg strength and can even help with weight loss. Since cycling is an aerobic exercise, endurance muscle fibers are worked to increase resistance while cycling and help decrease fatigue.

Legs will not bulk up due to cycling alone. There are individuals desiring more bulk and power than achievable through cycling. Additional training using weights is required on a regular basis to achieve this effect.

Any cyclist with a large thigh circumference has most likely spent numerous hours cycling in addition to working out at a gym on a regular schedule. Women cyclists much work a lot harder than men to increase muscle mass.

The majority of women have approximately 15 percent less testosterone and 10 percent more body fat than the typical man. Men can build muscle more easily due to the higher percentage of testosterone in their bodies.

If a man and a woman both cycled on the same course length and difficulty level for an identical period of time, the man would build more muscle than the woman, especially in the quads.

See Also:
Can Cycling Give You Ripped Abs? Read this First!
Folding Clincher or Wire Bead? Choose the Best for Your Bike!
Do Mountain Bikes Need Shocks?
How To Store A Bike Outside Without Rusting It

  • 36 SUPER BRIGHT LEDs - As the original and patent-pending invention, our TOSY Disc is 100x brighter than any other light-up flying disc. It looks super cool, especially when you throw it outdoors at night.
  • SMART MODES & MOTION SENSORS - Easily select the Brightness level and Timer mode you want. LEDs light turns on and off automatically for battery-saving.
  • RECHARGEABLE - 30-minute charge that lasts up to a thousand throws (at B1&T0 modes) or a full Ultimate match of 90 minutes. Package includes 1x USB Type C to C cable (charger not included).
  • 175 GRAMS - Our disc meets the Professional Ultimate standards for long, straight, precise flights and highly comfortable grip. It is great for freestyle tricks too!
  • GAME-CHANGER DISC - Spice up your gift ideas list and favorite disc bottle and tossing games (Beersbee, Polish Horseshoes or others) with our highly durable, waterproof and premium discs!
  • Boing, boing, squeak! The My First Flybar foam pogo stick is hours of healthy, bouncy fun. Crafted from durable foam, this is an ideal first pogo stick for kids; each jump makes a fun squeaky sound
  • Use anywhere: We’ve designed our kids jumper for indoor and outdoor use, and unlike inferior jumping toys, this pogo jumper for kids is made to last! A great boys or girls toy for ages 3 and up
  • Train balance: Pogo sticks make great active toys for kids because they help train hand eye coordination, balance, and gross motor skills; Give your kid a headstart in life with a toddler pogo stick
  • Healthy: Get your kid off the sofa with a jumping toy that encourages fitness; Our bungee jumper is a foam pogo stick that promotes healthy activity whilst being incredible bouncy boing fun
  • Manufacturer promise: At Flybar, we pride ourselves on seamless customer service; If you don’t love our foam pogo jumper, simply return it within 30 days for a total refund
  • [BRIGHT HANDS FREE LIGHT]: Two (2) lightweight, durable Energizer Universal Plus LED Headlamps offer bright light for a variety of activities. Includes four (4) Energizer MAX AAA alkaline batteries.
  • [COMFORTABLE AND VERSATILE]: Lightweight, compact hands free light offers comfortable wear for a variety of activities.
  • [LED HANDS FREE LIGHT]: Headlamp with red light is ideal for indoor and outdoor activities that require two hands such as DIY projects and outdoor adventures at night.
  • [SUPERIOR LED TECHNOLOGY]: 12x brighter than standard LED technology with 100 lumens of light that illuminates objects up to 40 meters away with a red light for night vision mode.
  • [DURABLE CONSTRUCTION]: This High-performance headlamp features a Rugged yet lightweight LED design and is impact resistant up to 1 meter for reliable use- headlamp does not pivot or rotate
  • Reinforced heel and toe for enhanced durability in high-wear areas
  • Rib cuffs for a snug, comfortable fit
  • Arch support for a secure fit
  • 【Stay Safe, Stay Visible with High Visibility】: This LED reflective vest uses top-tier LED lights and reflective strips, 360° lighting at night to ensure your safety, even in the harsh environment of 1000 feet away. And keeping you seen and safe during low-light outdoor activities with the reflective running vest.
  • 【5 Light Colors & 3 Light Modes】: Our LED reflective vest features 5 vibrant light colors, including White, Green, Blue, Pink and Red. Additionally, you can choose between 3 dynamic light modes - Steady On, one color flashing or 5 colors flasching cycle, to meet personalized visibility and individual preferences. (Tip: press the button to turn off after displaying the 3 lighting modes)
  • 【USB Rechargeable Reflective Running Gear】: Enjoy the convenience of USB charging with dual Type-C ports for fast charging in just 50 minutes. Revel in an impressive usage time of 7-20 hours, depending on your selected light colors and modes.
  • 【Comfortable and Adjustable】: Designed to fit all body types, this reflective vest with adjustable shoulder lengths 33" to 65" (84-165cm) and waist sizes 26" to 49" (66-124.4cm), ensuring a comfortable and secure fit. The light up running vest is stretchy, breathable, and weighs only 0.35lb(160g) for wearer's comfort. (Attention: Suitable for men , women, and kids aged 8 and up)
  • 【Protecting You at Night】: Zacro LED reflective vest is suitable for morning or night running, cycling, walking, jogging, night working and other nighttime outdoor activities. Even in rainy and foggy weather, the reflective gear will always ensure your safety.
  • SMART ENOUGH: Simply press a button, and the ETENWOLF ball pump automatically inflates each ball to the desired pressure in just 1 minute
  • TOUGH ENOUGH : The ETENWOLF basketball pump can survive a 5 feet drop test and still function normally, ensuring that it can handle whatever life throws its way
  • PRECISE ENOUGH : Equipped with a highly sensitive pressure sensor, the ETENWOLF ball air pump can detect current ball pressure and reach the exact target pressure you set( ±0.3 psi)
  • CONVENIENT ENOUGH : The ETENWOLF air pump for balls comes with 2 brass needles that are conveniently stored in a compartment on the top side of the pump, making it easy to carry and ensuring that you never have to worry about losing the needles
  • 4 PRESET INFLATION MODES: The ETENWOLF ball pump has footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, and a custom mode for inflating any balls from 2 to 17 PSI. It also has a shut-down memory function that saves your last pressure setting for quick and easy use
  • EXCLUSIVE DEFLATION FEATURE: ETENWOLF ball pump can not only inflate, but also deflate to save space while travelling or just soften the ball
  • Especially suitable for Coches and Kids
  • ✅【Be Seen,Be Safe】 The SIMKET LED Reflective Vest is bright at night and has high visibility to protect your safety, even in the harsh environment of 1000 feet away, the LED night running equipment can be clearly seen. Providing you with 360-degree ultra-high visibility in low-visibility scenes and activities such as early morning and night, suitable for morning or night running, cycling, walking, pet walking and other activities
  • ✅【Rechargeable&Long Battery Life】Simket will give you one Reflective Vest with 2 Micro-USBs, therefore the vest can be charged for both front and back at the same time. And we've greatly increased the charging speed and battery life of the battery, which makes the Simket LED Reflective Vest with only one charge, it can meet the long battery life of more than 48 hours. The situation of running out of power during exercise will never happen again! keep inner peace
  • ✅【Lighting Modes】 Equipped with three lighting modes, fast flash, slow flash, always bright, various lighting modes provide you with a variety of choices. Guarantee that you can be seen 100% in the dark environment, and can play a good alerting effect on vehicles in the distance. Even in rainy and foggy weather, its presence cannot be ignored. And has a rainproof function.
  • ✅【Comfortable and Adjustable】The reflective running vest shoulder length has been expanded from 33" to 65", and the waist circumference has been expanded from 26" to 49". Just slide the buckle to achieve a size suitable for all age and gender. And the Reflective Vest is only 110 grams ,It doesn't feel like wearing it, the elasticity is suitable, it is durable, and it will not fall off
  • ✅【Lifetime Warranty】We are so confident you will love our LED Reflective Gear , and hope to provide security for your night activities, so don't hesitate, choose SIMKET LED Reflective Vest and you will get the fun and safety of outdoor sports . We offer a MONEY BACK guarantee if you are unhappy for any reason of course
  • 【Unisex urine bag for emergency】Our disposable urinal bags are suit for female and male(adult/child/elderly) to relieve emergency urination, strong sealing don’t worry it will leak, great for patient people and pregnant female during traffic jams or travel.
  • 【Strong sealing and Large-capacity】800ml large capacity urine bag, one size fit for all people, which is sufficient for adult in emergency situations. The bags for urine are well sealed, each packaging bag is equipped with a sealing strip, leak-proof. Pls remember to seal it after using.
  • 【Easy to use and Eco friendly】Open the urination bag, make sure there is white absorbent pad in it, (WHEN USE, NO NEED TO OPEN, NO NEED TO EMPTY IT) which can absorb the liquid into gel within 45 seconds. After using, pls seal it and throw it in the trash can.
  • 【Compact and foldable】Each disposable travel urine bag is individually packaged, very light and portable, folded size is 6 x 3 inches, each weighs 0.7 oz, you can take it in your pocket or your bag whenever you go, small just like a mobile phone, very convenient to carry and store.
  • 【Multi occasions emergency urine bag】 When you are in a wild during hiking, fishing, camping, traveling, biking and other outdoor activities, the pee bag can be used as a small toilet to relieve yourself, it also can be used as a vomiting bag during long-distance bus trip. If you have any questions pls contact us, we will help timely.