I have met health enthusiasts and fitness freaks who have a conception that cycling helps in shaping the lower parts of the body. Personally, I have been cycling for more than a decade. I realized that this is a versatile exercise that benefits in strengthening body parts and maintain a good shape.
To give you some idea, cycling helps in increasing your height, losing the weight, toning your biceps and triceps, strengthening your calf, ankles, and hamstring muscles, and building core strength in your legs. Besides, you can fancy a flat stomach on cycling regularly. No wonder, why people who find it tough to find time for regular workouts at gyms engage in cycling.
I have extensively discussed the effect of cycling on body shape in this article for your help.
1. Cycling Tones Your Lower Body Muscles
Cycling directly tones most of the muscles in the lower parts of your body, particularly your legs and thighs. I have listed the muscles that get toned when you cycle regularly.
- Thigh Muscles: You lift your legs while paddling up and down periodically. This keeps the quadriceps and hamstrings, two important thigh muscles active and toned.
- Calf Muscles: As you paddle using your legs, the pressure passes on through your calf muscles to the upper parts of your legs. So, the gastrocnemius and soleus (calf muscles) significantly benefit from cycling.
- Foot: All the pressure from your thighs passes through the calf and ankle and culminate on your foot. Naturally, you use this energy to paddle the bicycle as you proceed. Therefore, cycling strengthens your foot as well.
- Buttock Muscles: The buttock region has some muscles that work in a close sync with the hips. This ensures proper movement of the thighs, that help in paddling the cycle with your feet.
- Shoulder Muscles: The deltoid muscles present in our shoulders help in maintaining the balance of our arms while we touch the handlebar. Cycling, therefore, trains up our shoulder muscles too.
- Biceps and Triceps: The coordination between your biceps and triceps help in managing the handlebar. Channeling more strength to your arm, you can stabilize your ride.
2. It Helps You Gaining Muscle Mass
Being an avid cyclist, I have significantly benefitted from resistance training as I experiment with different types of cycles. For instance, when you use a mountain bike to ascend a hill, you might feel that the lower part of your body is having a aching sensation.
Actually, you are losing body fat and weight, and eventually gaining muscle mass. The thighs and legs gain muscle mass first since these parts of your body do most of the hard work.
Think of your calf muscles, hamstrings, hips, and glutes. All these parts of your body gain muscle mass and enhance their respective sets of functions. More muscle mass implies that these muscle groups would become more defined in your body.
3. Cycling Helps You Increase Height
You might not be knowing, but you can actually increase your height by engaging in cycling. The shin bones of your body elongate by 1.5 cm to 4 cm through this exercise. This is a visible effect of cycling on the body shape. For the best results, I would recommend you to start cycling before reaching the age of 18.
While 80% of your growth potential depends on genetics, you can still grow taller when you indulge in regular cycling. It generates the human growth hormone (HGH), which helps in increasing the height. So, cycling can help you grow taller when you regularly indulge in it.
The results take more time to show up in women compared to men due to hormonal limitations. So, if you are a female, looking for maintaining your body shape with cycling, you should be intensely active in cycling.
4. Cycling Shapes Your Legs
When I started cycling, I noticed the muscles on the lower part of the body toning up after a few months. However, when I interacted with other cycling enthusiasts, I noticed a distinct difference in the way cycling shapes our legs. This is a clear impact you can see after months of rigorous cycling.
For instance, if you happen to be a track cyclist, your legs are likely to be bulkier and heavier. On the other hand, mountain bikers and long-distance cyclists have sleeker legs, as rigorous strength training differs in these activities.
I have also interviewed some long-distance cyclists. They primarily focus on endurance training. Rather than spending time in the gym lifting heavy weights, they try to build their aerobic cells. Cycling is a low-intensity exercise that helps in achieving such results.
5. It Strengthens Your Fingers, Wrists And Forearms
Well, I have already talked about how holding the handlebar can strengthen your biceps and triceps while helping you gain body balance. Cycling also involves clasping the brakes. This way, you get to train up your fingers, wrists, and forearms.
When you press the brakes regularly, the muscles train up the same way when you visit the gym and use spring clamps. Ultimately, you would love the toned appearance of your forearms and gain more strength.
6. Tone Your Upper Body Muscles With Cycling
Depending on whether you are riding a hybrid bike, road bike, or mountain bike, you would be seating upright or leaning forward. Both these postures determine the corresponding impact on your body.
When you use a road bike, the natural riding position makes you crouch. To ensure that you remain seated, you would channel more power to your arms than what you would need while seating on a hybrid bike. On the other hand, the rides are bumpy when you use a mountain bike to navigate rough terrains. This calls for a stronger grip on the handlebars.
Extreme riding does the maximum when you try to tone the muscles of your arms. This enables you to maneuver the handlebars to the maximum extent. This way, you can tone up the muscles in the upper parts of your body.
7. Lose Excess Fat Without Dieting
Well, I have interacted with several cyclists who bought their first bike not out of their hobby or passion. Rather, they wanted to lose excess fat from their bodies without dieting.
Interestingly, even after they shed their fat, they continued engaging in the activity regularly as they had already benefitted from cycling in other ways. While dieting puts a restriction on your food intake, it can deprive you of your favorite stuff!
However, with cycling, you can continue with your regular diet, with a slight restriction on junk food. Cycling for an hour can help you lose 300 to 400 calories, which will ultimately help you losing your weight gradually. This cycling effect largely depends on the intensity of your ride.
8. Cycling Helps In Achieving A Flat Belly
While cycling, you need to follow the right breathing pattern. Particularly, when you cycle uphill, the correct rhythm of breathing helps in achieving a flat stomach. So, if you are looking for a viable way to get rid of your bulky figure, try to start cycling on off-roads and hilly trails.
When you ride uphill, you would feel your stomach coming under pressure. This is when you burn calories, and the fat disappears around your abdomen. It also defines how your belly will look once you shed the fat and lose the extra weight.
However, cycling alone would do little good to your body shape. Try to pair up your cycling schedule with deadlifts, squats, and lunges. When you cycle, the movement of muscles helps in activating the glutes.
I have been enjoying cycling not only as a hobby but as a means to maintain my fitness and agility. Besides giving your body the perfect shape, cycling also enhances your heart and mental health.
Now that you know how cycling effects your body shape, make sure to include it for at least 30 minutes for 5 days a week in your routine. If you do not have the time to go outdoors, try indoor cycling, which is also good to maintain the shape of the body, both for men and women.
Apart from the effects of cycling specifically for your body shape, if you want to know the overall effects, check out this video: