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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Santa Monica/ NYC
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    67

    Question Will regular cycling make your legs/calves bigger??

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    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

    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...

    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~
    Muahahahahaha! I know Kung Fu.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tustin, CA
    Posts
    1,308
    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!
    BCIpam - Nature Girl

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    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.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Bayside, New York
    Posts
    499
    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!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    2,033
    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.
    It's a little secret you didn't know about us women. We're all closet Visigoths.

    2008 Roy Hinnen O2 - Selle SMP Glider
    2009 Cube Axial WLS - Selle SMP Glider
    2007 Gary Fisher HiFi Plus - Specialized Alias

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,079
    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...)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    2,824
    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.
    Jennifer

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
    -Mahatma Gandhi

    "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."
    -Aristotle

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    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.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Santa Monica/ NYC
    Posts
    67
    Quote Originally Posted by bcipam
    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.
    Muahahahahaha! I know Kung Fu.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    (Still scratching my head wondering why anyone would not want muscles on their legs....)
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    806
    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 I'm pretty tall and slim, so I think I carry extra muscle well.
    "Only the meek get pinched, the bold survive"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    497
    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!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    2,498
    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!
    Contributing to global warming...one hot flash at a time.

    Trek Project One
    Fisher Sugar 3 FS
    Trek FX 7.4 Hybrid

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Posts
    529
    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!!
    @LIGHTSABE*R(::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Beginner Triathlete Log

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548



    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.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

 

 

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