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  1. #1
    Registered User IbramGaunt's Avatar
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    Does riding a bike build muscle?

    Before I get attacked by people saying "it's an endurance exercise", I understand that. But my question is really about when you're cycling up hills.

    Where I live it is quite hilly and everytime I climb these hills on my bike, my legs feel serious burn as though I was after doing weights. I assume it is building muscle seeing as your legs are put under a high amount of stress to push yourself up that hill, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Registered User amyfit's Avatar
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    You are right. Once I started cycling my thighs really took on a good shape. I trained for and competed in an Ironman down in KY. I rode hills every week to prep for that, the comments on how much better my legs looked were amazing. High gears and steep hills are amazing for building the thighs. I'm not saying that it should replace good ol' heavy lifting, NEVER!!! But it certainly helps bring those thighs and hams in. Calves too.
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  3. #3
    "Never walk alone" creationd's Avatar
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    I would say yes. I ride my bike a lot long distances, got good leg developement from it. I used to neglect legs somewhat in the gym, bike riding def. Kept my legs in shape. Really gives the quads a pounding.
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  4. #4
    Registered User IbramGaunt's Avatar
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    Thats good to hear. I am currently lacking in gym equipment to do leg exercises so I guess keeping up the cycling will have to do for the time being!

    Cheers.
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  5. #5
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    It certainly builds muscle, but will not imitate bodybuilding.
    Bodybuilding is 60% training and 50% diet. Yes that adds up to 110%, because that's what you should be giving it. Change the inside, and the physique will follow.
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  6. #6
    Doesnt even lift BigD_SEVA's Avatar
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    i can tell you after starting to ride my quads have exploded in their definition and strength.

    if only i can get rid of the inner thigh flab
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  7. #7
    Registered User VEight's Avatar
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    Yes biking is a great exercise, obviously you won't get the same gains as you would with heavy squats, but its still good to do.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Suedec's Avatar
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    Cycling will help build your calves, thighs, and hammies especially on climbs. You won't get the build like you would from weights but it is a great start. I have been cycling for years and when I started, I noticed a good tone in my leg muscles. After last year when I started to competitively race, I did notice some more increase in my leg size.

    Hill climbing is great especially if you can do climbing intervals in a low gear or a high gear at a faster cadence. If you are really looking to hit the muscles on a bike climbing hills, stand and climb. If you can tolerate the lactic burn (stay hydrated), you will give your legs one hell of a workout!

    If you want a real good leg tone try cycling 2-3 days a week doing climbs and then 3 days a week do squats, presses, and weighted lunges and you will notice a GREAT tone and size increase in time.
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  9. #9
    Registered User partsbook's Avatar
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    I don't own a bike but my wife convinced me to try spin class with her. After just 2 weeks I can already tell that the inside of my thighs and my quads are really firming up. So my answer would be a big yes cycling does build leg muscles!
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  10. #10
    Amateur Strongman dbluegoat's Avatar
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    I believe so yes......there is this world class speed skater in my gym, now its not biking but similar in that its an endurance type thing, his legs are massive and cut and he does not do bodybuilding leg exercises, its from using them all the time for his sport.

    this is an older picture, does not really do them justice, they are much bigger now
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  11. #11
    Doesnt even lift BigD_SEVA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by dbluegoat View Post
    I believe so yes......there is this world class speed skater in my gym, now its not biking but similar in that its an endurance type thing, his legs are massive and cut and he does not do bodybuilding leg exercises, its from using them all the time for his sport.

    this is an older picture, does not really do them justice, they are much bigger now
    damn dude nice stats, you look like youre my build too. repped
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  12. #12
    Do what u love whatevergirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by IbramGaunt View Post
    Before I get attacked by people saying "it's an endurance exercise", I understand that. But my question is really about when you're cycling up hills.

    Where I live it is quite hilly and everytime I climb these hills on my bike, my legs feel serious burn as though I was after doing weights. I assume it is building muscle seeing as your legs are put under a high amount of stress to push yourself up that hill, but correct me if I'm wrong.

    Thanks.
    omg yes! not many hills in florida, but when i biked in pa? yes...very much so ...I also have a spin bike in my home, and do spinning routines...and those really help build muscle and stamina...it's nice because you're getting a cardio workout, too.
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  13. #13
    Shreveport chitown70's Avatar
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    got some cycle friends who ride the bike a lot in the city and they have huge eye popping calves and they don't lift
    they look kinda funny with thin upper body and big legs but bottom heavy is better than top heavy!
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  14. #14
    Doesnt even lift BigD_SEVA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chitown70 View Post
    got some cycle friends who ride the bike a lot in the city and they have huge eye popping calves and they don't lift
    they look kinda funny with thin upper body and big legs but bottom heavy is better than top heavy!
    im the opposite my calves are pretty cut for someone with my BF% it looks like somone cut my legs off below the knee and replaced them with someone elses



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  15. #15
    Registered User Pump Freak 86's Avatar
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    look at a picture of a cyclists's legs and report back
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  16. #16
    Registered User Suedec's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by chitown70 View Post
    got some cycle friends who ride the bike a lot in the city and they have huge eye popping calves and they don't lift
    they look kinda funny with thin upper body and big legs but bottom heavy is better than top heavy!
    There is a guy I race with and he doesn't lift and his calves look like cantaloupes... Monsters!
    But jsut because they may give you big muscles and definition, don't expect to be able to do monster weights. But, it does look good!
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  17. #17
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    as mentioned, mainly the calves that get the hypertrophy from cycling. i quit riding a year ago and hardly do any direct calf work and they're still heart-shaped.

    for what it's worth, rock climbing (which i used to do often as well) is also an awesome calf builder.
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  18. #18
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    Yes it does!!!! My legs were skinny and now they are getting shape and I'm so happy! I started a few months ago riding my bike to work. It takes me about 5 minutes to get there and I ride fairly quickly. Later my buddy showed me a trail off base that has some decent elevation, AND IT IS A BLAST! I love when it is muddy too, it is a full body work out. I do that about once a week. I also do leg exercises in the gym for added strength.

    Now to get these scrawny arms up to snuff.
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  19. #19
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    Im going to go against the grain and say no with a maybe.. This is IMO

    If we are talking hills, and enough resistance then quite possibly youll see some change in shape and definition possible hypertrophy.

    If your talking flat ground riding for long periods of time and not pushing hard really and going through the motions then no. Youll be hitting the wrong muscle fibers and not stimulating the type II.

    I have had experience and have rode a bike from the age of 12-18 yrs of age. I had seen changes such as more sharpness but for mass and sheer size of the quads hit some heavy squats.
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  20. #20
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    Cycling is great for your legs . . . like others have said, it's not going to turn you into Tom Platz or anything but it does build the legs up and builds strength/endurance. I don't ride a lot, but I do some mountain biking and the effects are definitely noticeable. Some of my buddies who don't lift at all but ride quite a bit have pretty incredible leg development (for not lifting).
    What . . . you've never heard of a 30-year bulking phase before??

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  21. #21
    Registered User sportyaccordy's Avatar
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    My squats and deads are stronger when I am biking regularly
    Intensity, Recovery, Nutrition, Sleep- the only things that matter.
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  22. #22
    Registered User iDontSkipLegDay's Avatar
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    My starting strength for the squat was over 2 plates. I biked frequently prior to starting lifting and I think thats what attributed to my squat.
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  23. #23
    oldballs oldballs's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by iDontSkipLegDay View Post
    My starting strength for the squat was over 2 plates. I biked frequently prior to starting lifting and I think thats what attributed to my squat.
    I bet you are squatting high
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