1

Does cycling build muscle? (Read 6411 times)

onesharpchick


    I hope that this isn't a lame question but I was wondering if intense cycling (spin classes) builds muscle or is mostly just cardio?  I run, cycle, and weight train and wanted to know how cycling affects the muscles in comparison or contrast to weight training and running.  I hope that my question makes sense.  Thanks Lisa
      Cycling works the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh, other muscles too, of course, but that's where you usually feel it. Don't know about spinning, I have a road bike, but should be very similar.

      PBs since age 60:  5k- 24:36, 10k - 47:17. Half Marathon- 1:42:41.

                                          10 miles (unofficial) 1:16:44.

       


      Team HTFU NCTR Driver

        12,000 miles later, I have 28" thighs. YMMV.


        did





          Cycling can also work your hamstrings if you get clip on shoes and pull back / up with the opposite pedal as your power stroke. Thats why racers and serious riding enthusiasts wear clip on shoes.

           

          Also riding a "Tri" or "TT" bike puts alot more emphasis on the hamstring muscles due to its forward seatpost geometry. Triathlete and Duathletes use these bikes so the transition from biking to running is a quicker smoother adaptation. Running is flat out difficult after riding really hard on a raod bike since the emphasis is on the Quads.. 

           

          The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

           

          2014 Goals:

           

          Stay healthy

          Enjoy life

           

            Cycling builds muscle to a certain point just like running. Really it's just low weight high rep weight training.

             

            To build muscle the principle of progressive overload apply. If you are new to cycling you will be providing the overload at first so will see some(not a lot) of muscle- providing you are eating excess calories( because you can not gian any mass without excess calories). You will adapt to the load and unless you progress with resistance, gains will stop. This is why bodybuilders keep adding more and more weight. You are not going to get 30" bicepts curling the same 50 lbs as when you first started out.

            PR's: 5k 19:34 2008 10k 41:05 2008 Half 1:34:34 2007 Marathon 3:29:49 2009 Up next, Spring Marathon NJ?
              When I tought spin classes, I would do hill intervals, and sprint intervals. These high intensity, "low time to fatigue" reps can create overload and lead to more tone. You are a female so I wouldn't worry about having massive thighs. More than likely you will like the look. Genetics play a part on muscle growth as does diet. I really don't think you should be concerned. Believe me, either way you will look good and "better".

              Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                I have tried cycling and found it to be counterproductive; your trying to run faster. Having said that, I will use the recumbent bike once or twice a week as a substitute for a recovery session where the HR is very low and just try to watch some TV and get some blood moving in the lower limbs. In this way, its can useful, but I don't like going to the gym and doing EFX, biking or even StairMaster. You want to save your hard workouts for the road, but a lot of bodybuilders use biking as their source of cardio because its not a weight bearing activity.
                onesharpchick


                  Thanks for the replies Smile  I was curious because I am always trying to balance my week with a little of everything, I can never do just one thing.  So I run, spin and do weight training.  I have increased how many days I do spin classes because I have had to decrease my mileage severly (9-10 miles a week from 25 - 30) as I build back up after a calf injury.  So I get my intense cardio in thorugh spinning and then take it easy on my runs.  I also do weight training a couple of times a week.  I just wasnt' sure  how much the spinning would blend into weight training, I guess  I am asking do I need to do as much strength training if I am doing spinning 3 times a week.
                    I would not replace weight training with spinning. Spinning is like low weight high rep weight training- which everyone knows isn't an optimal way to improve strength.
                    PR's: 5k 19:34 2008 10k 41:05 2008 Half 1:34:34 2007 Marathon 3:29:49 2009 Up next, Spring Marathon NJ?
                    Geiger001


                      I think it does.  It has been my limited experience that it helps. Tempo workouts seems to add strength, and interval helps endurance and speed.   I disagree with the one post in regard to running.  Prepping for my last race, I focused entirely on the swim and bike.  I only ran 4 times, but my race time was a minute faster a mile.  The cycling made my run faster, but alot of it was due to proper fitting on a tri bike...  Not sure you could do the same thing in a spin class.
                      xor


                        I hope that this isn't a lame question but I was wondering if intense cycling (spin classes) builds muscle or is mostly just cardio?  I run, cycle, and weight train and wanted to know how cycling affects the muscles in comparison or contrast to weight training and running.  I hope that my question makes sense.  Thanks Lisa

                         

                        I teach spinning (though not much lately).

                         

                        It somewhat depends on the class, how often you go to class (basically a question similar to mpw in running), and how much you crank the resistance. Spinning really fast isn't going to build any muscle.  Cranking the "hills" and doing jumps may. A little.  Quads, mostly.

                         

                        But, primarily, spinning is a cardio thingy.  If you want to build leg muscle, spend that time lifting.  If you are worried that spinning classes are gonna give you mega-quads, don't.  The tri folks and cycling folks you see with the thick legs spend a whoooooole lot more time on the bike than you and I do on a spinning bike.