Cycling & Health

Ways that Cycling Affects your Legs

  • Ninety One
    Team 91
  • 2-minute read
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Ways that Cycling Affects your Legs

Start typing in the search engines search bar- 'Does cycling make your legs?', and the more common searches that show up are 'thicker' and 'bigger'. That seems to be the constant fear amongst people who want to start cycling.

We'll clear the air and put your doubts to rest by explaining the true effect of cycling on your legs and the myths that abound around this.

Cycling, like any other aerobic activity, is considered a full-body workout. Still, your legs primarily get most of the exercise effect because you have to continuously move your leg to pedal. And when you move your legs, there are different muscles in use. Let's find out what are these muscles and how pedaling a cycle affects them.

Muscles that you Use when You Cycle

So when you cycle, or are in the pedaling motion, these three are the main muscle groups that get exercised:

1) Quadriceps

A quadriceps is a group of four muscles located on top of the leg and in the front of the thigh.

2) The Hamstrings

This group of muscles is at the rear of the leg on the upper thigh.

3) The Gluteus Maximus

These are your buttock muscles and are the primary muscles to drive the pedals producing the required power that propels you forward.

The muscles in your calves, ankles, and feet do not contribute as much to cycling even though they are a part of your leg that is in motion when you pedal. However, expect your calve muscles to benefit, especially the gastrocnemius and the soleus.

Additionally, though not directly involved, your abdomen and back muscles are employed when you cycle. They are responsible for keeping your upper body stable. Your shoulders and arms get a workout when you hold the handlebars while maneuvering and handling the bike. They also are used when you climb in and out of the saddle.

Let's look at the effects of cycling on your body, especially your legs

What to Expect When You Cycle?

Toned Legs &, Calves

With your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus in play when you pedal, expect to see your legs getting toned and your calves' strengthened.

Burns Calories & Lose Weight

Riding a bike burns calories, thus helping you to lose weight.

Decreasing Fat & Shaping Leg Muscles

Regularly riding your bike is more likely to make your legs thinner than bulkier, and more defined. You will notice that the fat in your legs decreases with regular cycling, and it helps shape your leg muscles.

So yes, cycling improves your leg muscles, like any other aerobic activity. The physical change may be minute and not apparent, but you will experience an increase in the amount of energy. And, of course, the cognitive benefits as well.

You may argue that you have seen some cyclists with impressive thighs girdles. They spend their time in the gym exercising to bulk up those muscles specifically. Additionally, the food you eat and your hormonal makeup contribute to thick and bulky legs.

What are your thoughts about the effect on your body, especially on your legs, when you cycle regularly?

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