What Muscles Does Cycling Tone?

Effect of Cycling on Body Shape – Transformation Male & Female

Whether you are just starting cycling or a dedicated rider that trains every day, riding often can have a positive impact on your body shape which you can observe by using the best body shape calculator available online. In this article, we study the effect of cycling on body shape and how it changes in both males and females over time.


Cycling Body Transformation Male – What You Should Know?

Unlike running, body transformation in cycling takes a longer time to see. Cycling is prominently a leg-dominant sport, which means that the legs are the first to transform in definition and muscle mass.

Luckily, you won’t end up looking like a track sprinter with large muscular legs and jeans that don’t fit around them. Sprinters spend the majority of the time in the gym building explosive power and endurance.

For the majority of us, we are doing slow aerobic riding with some hard bunch rides thrown in each week. So we will see a more gradual improvement in leg definition and weight loss, much less than a track or professional cyclist.

Cycling body transformation in males often takes 12-16 weeks to see improvements, whether this is fat loss, definition, or size and a lot of this comes down to the diet. The more strict you are with the diet, the quicker the weight loss will be, so don’t expect to see a transformation in size or weight within the first few months if your diet isn’t right.

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Kids may also see body transformations from riding a bike, and often faster as they are growing and their bodies are producing elevated levels of growth hormones

During the first 12 weeks, you can expect to see some definition develop in the triceps and biceps. Your triceps and biceps although not used as much as the legs do some of the work to keep the upper body and pelvis stable while riding. You may also start to see definition develop in the calf muscles, quadriceps, and hamstrings, as these do the majority of the work on the bike.

Cycling Body Transformation Female – How it Differs?

While the body transformation of a female cyclist mimics the same as the males, the process is much slower than their counterparts.

Hormonal limitations play a large role in muscle development between males and females, so women have to work much harder to build muscle mass or definition than men.

Since females generally hold more body fat, the transformation in size and weight is slightly longer than males.

One study in England found that putting both men and women on the same weight loss programs found the men lost twice as much weight as females in the same time period. They also found that body fat was reduced three times more than females, so this gives you an understanding of why it may take females to see a longer transformation in their cycling body.

Effect of Cycling on Body Shape

What Should You Expect?

If you are riding more than 4 times per week and more than 60 minutes, you should expect to see some gradual weight loss. After a period of 12 weeks or more, you should start to see some definition develop in the lower body, this usually happens once the body fat starts to decline.

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Below is a great example of sustained weight loss and consistency in training. This transformation took around 12 months to see the full effect of cycling on body shape. But as you see there was a large decrease in weight and an increase in the legs and upper body definition.

Cycling Body Transformation Male

While this transformation won’t be the same for everyone, as long as you focus on a clean diet and include regular riding (4-5 times a week) you will start to see the effect of cycling on your body shape.

If you are struggling to lose weight or tone your muscles from cycling, contact one of our coaches today. We can help put you on a specific training plan that not only tones your muscles but helps transform your body.

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Cycling body transformation

What Muscles Does Cycling Tone?

Now you know the transformation cycling has on both female and male bodies – What muscles does cycling tone?

While you may think cycling only tones the lower body, you can’t be further from the truth. Cycling involves many muscles when pedaling, and don’t forget you stand up multiple times during a ride too. Taking this into account, below is a basic outline of the muscle groups used in cycling, and what muscles you tone during cycling.

Lower Body
Calf Muscles – Soleus and gastrocnemius.
Thigh Muscles – Hamstrings and Quadriceps.
Glutes – Gluteus maximus, medius and minimus

Upper Body
Arms – Triceps, and Biceps
Shoulders – Deltoids

Abdominals – Transverse abdominis, Rectus abdominis and internal and external obliques.
Back – Lower Back

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While there are many more muscles used in cycling, these generally are classed as the most prominent. So, this gives you reasonably accurate insight into muscles that get toned during cycling.

While some may get more toned than others, especially the calf muscles, quadriceps, and hamstrings, you can often find cyclists have very defined triceps and biceps. The upper body plays a large role in creating stability on the bike, especially in beginner cyclists where they haven’t developed a strong core or aren’t fitted correctly.

You should also expect to see the gluteal muscles get toned after time, as the glute muscles play a large role in your pedaling on the bike.

However, don’t expect to see the same changes in body shape as you do running, running burns much more calories and associated weight loss is much greater than cycling. That doesn’t mean cycling is bad for toning the body, it will just take a longer period than running.

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