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View Full Version : Will regular cycling make your legs/calves bigger??



Melstar
08-23-2006, 10:55 PM
Now I know the question may sound a tad on the vain side, but i've been hearing different things around the block, so bear with me :o

I'm familiar with the fact that you only get muscle size increase in power excercises like in sprinting. Endurance excercises on the other hand, works to increase your muscular endurance as well as toning.

However, i'm not so sure anymore. From what i've heard from a couple of people, they swear that any form of regular cycling is going to add some bulk to your legs...:confused:

I'm pretty light weight, so obviously i'm not keen on adding any bulk to my legs. So i was hoping if some of you could shed some light on this matter.

~E~

bcipam
08-24-2006, 08:16 AM
It really depends on how your body works and operates. I have very large and muscular calves and thigh muscles but I am also very muscular all over and can add muscle (and bulk) fairly easily. I have a friend, who rides much more than I but is tall and slender and for the life of her can't add muscle. She is now hired a trainer and is seriously weight lifting in order to add muscle.

Actually adding muscle is a good thing - it will make you a better or stronger cyclist. What you are worried about is "bulk". It prevent bulk, keep spinning, using lower gears, make sure to ride aerobically not anerobically (ie spin not mash).

To me nothing looks better than a toned, muscular pair of cyclist's legs - on both men and women!

mimitabby
08-24-2006, 08:20 AM
i always had bird legs until i started cycling. Now i have beautiful muscles on my calves, around my knees and my thighs.

If you are bicycling just for a beauty stand point, you're in the wrong field.
Some of the strongest bicyclists i know have sausage legs.

FreshNewbie
08-24-2006, 10:26 AM
Melstar,

I've been lifting weights for 6 years already trying to put on some muscle in my legs. Although, my legs are strong now, the muscle definition only shows in my calfs, but they always been big. I am jealous if I see some girls with nice defined muscles on their legs. In my opinion if you see some muscle definition -BE PROUD and SHOW THEM OFF!!! Otherwise, I agree with bcipam- spin on lower gears.

Good luck!!!

alpinerabbit
08-24-2006, 11:45 AM
In my experience, it makes them tougher, not bigger. I have lost fat, but little weight, and only a litle in circumference of the legs.

Geonz
08-24-2006, 01:21 PM
There was a long thread about this earlier... basic result seems to be if you have big thighs, they're gonna stay big, maybe get bigger.
I've always been told that fewer reps with big weights makes for bulk; lots of reps with lighter weight makes for strength and tone and endurance. Translating to a bike that would mean staying out of the Mashing Gears.
I'm a big-legged person but cycling has made them shapely, not bulky. And that layer of body fat means that I don't look like a muscle dissection kit; unless I'm actively flexing 'em, the muscles aren't that well defined, so I don't *look* as strong as I am :-) So when I'm wearing sneakers and riding a hybrid... (ah, but TWO commuters went by me this morning... oh, my poor flailing pride!!! No, I am *still* going to stop at the stop signs, all the more fun when I pass you...)

Bikingmomof3
08-24-2006, 02:35 PM
Mine have stayed the same size, yet changed shape. Much more muscle definition, which in my opinion is lovely. I want to be a strong rider and to do so I need to work on musclke strength and endurance.

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-24-2006, 02:35 PM
As for myself, I kind of ENJOY the feeling of leg muscles pushing in a slightly higher gear than needed. I LOVE getting new muscles!
My thighs are most definitely thinner since I lost 24 pounds of fat. Now I look forward to seeing the muscles build up more.

Melstar
08-24-2006, 11:18 PM
It really depends on how your body works and operates. I have very large and muscular calves and thigh muscles but I am also very muscular all over and can add muscle (and bulk) fairly easily

I think thats an important point.

I had a bit of a chat with the trainer at the gym today, and he was talking about the the different body type categories. From what i gather, these are: Ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph. And it seems most people are actually a mix of two, or even three.

And to add to the mix of things, you can't really tell which categories you are under, until you start going through weight training to see how your body responds to the workouts. So i might turn out to be an ecto-mesomorph... and become all muscley. HAHA.

But i guess it doesn't really matter seeing as to how i only ride once a week.. and besides cycling is more fun than the walking sessions i used to have before.

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-25-2006, 03:57 PM
(Still scratching my head wondering why anyone would not want muscles on their legs....) :confused:

betagirl
08-25-2006, 05:48 PM
My musles are certainly bigger, especially my calves. But at the same time I lost all the fat in my legs too. So they look good :D I'm pretty tall and slim, so I think I carry extra muscle well.

tygab
08-25-2006, 08:02 PM
I think well muscled legs look great, and on overall fit people even better. Ok, now a side note: I got to see thousands of Ironpeople prepping and strolling around pre IM Lake Placid, and the thing that I came away with was, what incredible shape these people were in. But yet, they were ordinary people from all over, with careers they were taking time away from, and families in tow.

They had different body types too. Some predisposed to being muscley, some thin types that looked like they could run across the Sahara with the best of them... and most in between. It just stuck in my mind that it was possible to be in so much better shape and something that I, a cycling newbie focused on just getting base fitness, could work toward. The best part is it's a very balanced look, across the body types. It's not all legs, or arms, or shoulders, or back. It's not just heaps of muscle on someone who can't run around a block (I've seen those too). It's just a level of balance in fitness you can see and appreciate in person.

I am not saying I will ever be at that level, but it's a pursuit for me now to attain that balance.

Anyway, after completing our big ride, my husband a few weeks ago said to me, I guess I can't call you chicken leggies now (this was a name I'd made up for myself long ago). My legs haven't really changed size, though, they've just been made into defined muscles. Anyone looking at me would probably still assume I am a weakling, but they are solid now, very solid, and I love it! I now am trying to build on what I feel I have achieved so far.

I guess this is a very long winded answer to say, I'd encourage you to enjoy the resulting muscle from bike riding! It's something to be proud of, IMO!

Dogmama
08-26-2006, 04:41 AM
It is difficult for women to grow big muscles anywhere because we lack testosterone. So, unless you are lifting big weights, eating lots of protein, resting and taking certain supplements, you won't get huge.

Leg definition is beautiful. When you can see the separation of the hamstring from the quad, it is impressive. Of course, you'll need to get to a lower body fat, if that is an issue.

My experience is that even if you are mashing big gears, your knees will give out before you look like a body builder. And if you're just riding one day a week, enjoy it!

light_sabe_r
08-26-2006, 12:26 PM
from personal experience my calves HAVE grown bigger. I was pretty thin to begin with anyway.

BUT The upside is they're less wobbly! I love it! I'll take toned legs over wobbly ones anyday!!

mimitabby
08-26-2006, 12:42 PM
httP://www.sersale.org/bike/oldlegs.jpg
http://www.sersale.org/bike/legs.jpg

Here are a couple of fotos, one is quite old because with legs like these, you just don't exhibit them very much. I am standing with my grandmother and my mother; both of whom had much nicer legs than me.

The second foto is recent, uh, today. Shows firmer legs with muscles rather
than just bones and skin. The only thing that changed was bicycling.

KnottedYet
08-26-2006, 01:43 PM
Mimi - like the "after" photo! Whooooo-eeeee, check out those gams!

BleeckerSt_Girl
08-26-2006, 03:13 PM
Woo-HOOO!!! Great NEW legs, Mimi!!!!
Biking gals just get better and better as they get older!

telegirl
08-30-2006, 11:35 AM
Let me answer that question with a story:

I have a hard time finding ski boots because my calves are quite muscular. In demoing some boots, the sales guy grabbed my calve and said "wow, you have athletic calves". I told him I ride a lot and he hemmed and hawed.....finally found a good that fit me.

This particular guy knows my hubby and one day, about two weeks later, was riding with hubby in a gondola, when he said, 'wow, your wife has REALLY athletic calves. I mean, wow!' Hubby almost fell over laughing.

I tend to build a lot of muscle, therefore leading to rather muscular legs. I agree that it depends on your body type, but hopefully your calves won't make the rounds for discussion on ski lifts. :D

aicabsolut
10-21-2006, 07:40 AM
(Still scratching my head wondering why anyone would not want muscles on their legs....) :confused:

I've got a sprinter's body type, though with skinny calves (my only real muscle trouble area), and more muscle on my legs means it's even harder to find pants that fit and are remotely alterable. Perhaps if fashion houses would design more clothes for athletic figures then I wouldn't complain so much :p

liberty
10-21-2006, 05:36 PM
telegirl - I can totally relate... I have big/muscular calves and legs. Forget wearing boots, some rollerblades, and even some pants are no fun either. It has always been a point of low self-esteem for me. I've always wanted slender girly legs. My muscular calves story comes from a few weeks ago when I was getting my clipless pedals at the bike shop. The owner was fitting the bike and so forth. He stopped dead and said, "You've got calves." Pause. "You've got calves." Another pause. "I mean, you've got calves." Pause. He asks me if I play soccer. No. He comes around to the side of the bike and says, "You have calves; nice quads. You've got nice looking legs." Could have knocked me over with a bike pump. Cracked me up. I don't feel so self-conscious about them anymore... :)

rocknrollgirl
10-22-2006, 04:33 AM
Well, my gift from mt biking was more muscle on my legs and a BOOTY!!! It really showed up this summer while I was training. It is not huge, but it is pretty solid and round. My clothes still fit, but I am filling my pants, that is for out for sure.

At first I was totally freaked out. And then I started winning races, and beating guys, and I realized that THE BOOTY, and the quads, are my power source for really hard hill climbing, and going fast.

So now THE BOOTY is here to stay. How can I feel badly about a strong, athletic, competent body, that at 44 has almost no fat on its legs and butt.

I say if you like to ride, don't worry about the muscles that come, if you have a well rounded program, you will not get big, and if you do, be proud of your strength.

Just for the record, my DH LOVES...the new BOOTY.....

Ruth....
sportin' the new and improved booty in NJ....

BTW just for laughs, do you all know they sell undies and pants to make your booty look this way?

latelatebloomer
10-22-2006, 05:31 AM
LOVE the photos! What a great change in those legs!

My calves are smaller AND more muscular, but I was a very large woman to start. I like that rather than just losing weight all over as I used to on the diet rollercoaster, my body is completely reformulating itself. And I like looking like a woman who can kick a little butt - or shake it.;)

mimitabby
10-22-2006, 05:42 AM
Ruth....
sportin' the new and improved booty in NJ....

BTW just for laughs, do you all know they sell undies and pants to make your booty look this way?

Wasn't that called a Bustle once upon a time??

Glad you got one. I have a cousin who lacks one. Maybe I should convince her to start riding!!
:)

aicabsolut
10-22-2006, 08:13 AM
So far, cycling has made my legs look better and less bulky than in my track and field days. Leaner, more muscle definition, slightly less of a quadzilla.

This is about as shapely as I think my calves are ever gonna get. (skinny calves, quadzilla thighs). It's hard to find boots because they're too skinny..lol. So long as they don't get too wide for my riding boots, I don't care. But I love hot cyclist / soccer player calves on a guy. Maybe it's because I'll never get them myself.

As for the BOOTY... My cycling butt is rounder than my horsebackriding butt--which kind of becomes nonexistent from the endurance nature of using the glutes versus the power climbing on the bike. But it's smaller than my sprinting/hurdling butt. Good compromise, I think.

CyclChyk
10-22-2006, 09:44 AM
I for one relish the onset of calve muscles. That means the jiggle is gone :D

rocknrollgirl
10-22-2006, 01:01 PM
This morning as I was typing my response to this thread , DH came in the den and said "whatcha typin' " I said a girl on TE posted that she is concerned about getting big quaddies from biking...he looked at me and said...I swear...

Are you telling them about the BOOTY?

I am still laughing about it........


Ruth

Melstar
10-23-2006, 02:02 AM
This morning as I was typing my response to this thread , DH came in the den and said "whatcha typin' " I said a girl on TE posted that she is concerned about getting big quaddies from biking...he looked at me and said...I swear...

Are you telling them about the BOOTY?

I am still laughing about it........


Ruth

lol! Well said.

makbike
10-23-2006, 02:09 AM
I would say yes it does, for my chiropractor (a cyclist himself) noted that the muscles in my quads and calves had more bulk and definition - YES!!!!!

BleeckerSt_Girl
10-23-2006, 05:25 AM
Well, my legs are definitely more nicely shaped than before I started biking.
Before losing the 25 pounds, my legs were rounder all over, no noticable muscles to speak of. Jiggly areas (ugh).

Now (and I'm by no means finished reshaping yet!) the jiggle is pretty much gone. thinner knees by far, no big love handle lumps around hips, air space between thighs (bigtime). I can see nice strong calf muscles and some nice long front thigh muscles where there used to be just flab. Can also see muscles on the fronts of my shins (never had such things before!). I can feel the back thigh muscles. My waist is thinner, my "booty" is better shaped and some excess fat is gone. Shoulders have some muscle and are better defined. My arms are thinner but with more muscle.
And I don't even consider that I ride that much!

It's GREAT. How anyone can object to getting muscles is beyond me. I LOVE the way my body is reshaping itself!!

KnottedYet
10-23-2006, 05:54 AM
I just keep getting leaner and leaner. Haven't lost a single pound in maybe a year, but all my clothes (even my "these are too tight but maybe they'll fit later" clothes) are getting too big.

If I could afford it, I'd purge my wardrobe and buy new.

My butt has shrunk and completely changed shape, thighs are tighter (and smaller) calves are tighter and much more defined (but no bigger)

Arms are smaller, with some little tight muscles.

I have tiny wrists and ankles, and I'm starting to look proportionate rather than like I just have tiny wrists and ankles.

And my arms and legs look longer, optical illusion but I like it.

Still have some fat on my butt and hips that I wouldn't mind losing. Got a little fat on either side of my belly-button which I like (makes me look like I have abs!). I worry a little that my face is getting too bony, but some folks like it so I won't complain.

You know those little dogs that look like greyhounds? I think they're called whippets? Think I'm turning into one of them.

Plus I feel fabulous, and am more flexible, getting fewer migraines and less joint pain.

Yay, biking!

mimitabby
10-23-2006, 06:42 AM
You know those little dogs that look like greyhounds? I think they're called whippets? Think I'm turning into one of them.

Yay, biking!

Let us know when you start howling at the moon..
Perhaps we need a before photo for you?

CyclChyk
10-23-2006, 10:29 AM
You know those little dogs that look like greyhounds? I think they're called whippets? Think I'm turning into one of them.
Yay, biking!

Whipp It! Whipp it good.......

Sorry. I guess I really am a geek.

KnottedYet
10-23-2006, 11:40 AM
<sniff> oh, that was beautiful, CC! <wipes away a tear>

Can't believe I missed that association! (Might have to get it on iTunes. All my Devo was on tape)

Mimi- I have an astounding "before" pic. Nobody at work believed I ever weighed as much as I did until I brought that pic in. and I am NOT putting that sucker up on TE! Ewwwwww!

when i am miserable I gain weight. When I am happy I "whippet"!

BleeckerSt_Girl
10-24-2006, 05:03 PM
Mimi- I have an astounding "before" pic. Nobody at work believed I ever weighed as much as I did until I brought that pic in. and I am NOT putting that sucker up on TE! Ewwwwww!

How about just a link? :D