There is a lot of question about what biking do to your legs. Some people say that it makes them stronger, while others claim that it ruins their knees. So what is the truth? Does biking affect our leg muscles? In this blog post, we will answer the question of “what does biking does to your legs” by taking a closer look at what happens to our legs when we start biking.
In short, biking can help you build muscle and burn fat which can give you bulkier or toned legs. It’s up to you and how you want to ride which will determine how much you bulk or get toned/
The “real” cyclists recognize and gauge each other by the degree of their muscle tone and the number of their muscles and bulging veins on the thighs and calves when most non-athletes find it rather very ugly.
Biking builds leg muscles, it’s obvious. But biking is also an endurance activity, so it does not necessarily develop muscle volume. A gentle but regular practice tones and strengthens the muscles, and gradually shapes the legs and buttocks.
Not only are the shapes progressively more harmonious because you get all those sagging muscles back on track, but this exercise also has the benefit of increasing your basic metabolism because a muscle consumes more calories if it is developed and active than if it is systematically tested. Thus, for the same effort and also during daily life, a more muscular, more toned body consumes more calories than a flaccid body.
The practice of regular physical activity such as cycling, therefore, promotes the long-term loss of superfluous fat, especially in the legs and buttocks. However, to avoid having muscles that are too large and too prominent, it is better to focus on duration rather than intensity and favor the use of small developments.
For the leg muscles to develop strength, you need to consistently challenge the muscles with different activities.
You can gain maximum strength on the bike by performing sprints with a standing start or almost, 7 seconds, and with a high gear ratio (to be defined according to the basic level). There is little risk of gaining muscle volume because the exercise mainly has the effect of going to recruit the fibers deep in the muscles.
There is also “sub-max strength” which is worked on with a series of a few minutes while riding at a high but not maximum intensity (about 80% of capacity) and a low pedaling rate, around 40/50 revolutions per minute. In this case, the muscles are strengthened more than they are made to gain in volume, unlike long outings where too high a gear is used, which can have the effect of making them swell a little in volume.
To have legs that look like those of professional cyclists, that is to say, both muscular and sharp (or lean, with the muscles visible), it is above all necessary to combine several types of outings. Most of the time, a large volume of intense training is enough to “dry out”. But not everyone can handle 20 hours of cycling a week or more, especially regularly.
Whatever the effort, the body consumes a mixture of carbohydrates (sugars) and lipids (fats), in different proportions depending on the intensity. By riding at a reasonable intensity – at around 60% of your maximum capacity – you primarily consume fat and a little carbohydrate. To guide the body toward this almost exclusive consumption of lipids, refrain from refueling with fast sugars during this outing. In this way, your body will draws on fat reserves to continue to operate.
You can also ride from time to time in the morning on an empty stomach, again exclusively in endurance. With the last meal taken a dozen hours earlier, the body will have to tap into its fat reserves even more quickly to move forward. These sessions produce the same benefit on this level while using less time.
To get toned and muscular legs, you will need to combine longer rides with shorter and more intense training sessions. With shorter intense rides you should neither leave on an empty stomach nor skip an appropriate supply of sugars. If there is no immediate effect on the melting of fat (because it is no longer the first energy substrate used), this type of session has the effect of seriously increasing the basic metabolism, and therefore the calorie consumption after exercise which would work against our goals by introducing too many calories.
In the end, good endurance combined with very intense sessions will have the effect of toning the body, and therefore the legs of the cyclist. Provided, of course, that you eat a balanced and reasonable diet on the side.
Biking can help you build strength and get you toned depending on the type of riding you do and your diet. Choose your goal work at it consistently to achieve your results.