What Muscles Does Bike Riding Exercise?



roseblanchgte

New Member
Jun 1, 2015
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When you ride a bike what muscles are you working out, and what are the main areas you'll lose weight?

At first, I thought this would be a dumb question. But I heard you have thousands of muscles in the leg, so I figured I'd ask just in case.
 

9lines

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May 7, 2015
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The quadriceps and hamstring in the upper leg. Gastrocnemius and soleus in the calf. The muscles contract in sequence that creates the pedaling action.
 

jhuskey

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Oct 6, 2003
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There is no guarantee you will lose weight. Weight loss still hinges on calories burn vs intake. If you burn 600 calories cycling and take in 4000 you will probably gain weight. Another factor is where your body is storing fat. Men and women store fat in different areas , generally and even individuals within genders vary as to where they store fat.
 
May 9, 2015
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It's mainly a cardio exercise, meaning the heart. But if you are adding resistance to your biking like on a stationary bike machine, or by biking hills, then you will work your abs, and every major leg muscle. (gluts, hams, quads, calves). This won't build muscle for everyone though. Best way to build muscle is lifting heavy weights for low reps.
 

tarverten

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May 26, 2015
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Your quads and calves in your legs. Depending on how far away you are from the pedals. Closer would be more of a quadricep workout, and farther from the pedals [like standing up] would be more of a calf workout. But mostly its the same.
 

blastguardgear

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May 9, 2015
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Biking works primarily your butt, upper and back legs, and calves.

Do it enough, and you'll lose body fat all over.

(you can't just lose fat in certain areas, you just lose overall body fat)
 

thepieeatingjay

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Feb 22, 2015
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It mainly works your legs of course. More to the point, it works the thigh and calve areas the most. It even works your abdomen to some degree
 

Corzhens

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May 26, 2015
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I have slender legs with a nice proportion of muscles. When I started biking, people tell me that I would develop big muscles in my legs. I was conscious at first until I enjoyed biking and forgot all about it. But after some years of biking, I don't see any difference with my legs. The have the same look although they are stronger unlike before when I had difficulty climbing up stairways. Another muscle in question is that of my arm - biceps and triceps. Again, there was not much difference except that I gained strength in those parts.
 

katherine25

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May 4, 2015
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When exercising you are losing weight everywhere. As long as you get your heart rate up it helps the whole body however in regards to muscles you would be working your leg muscles, ham strings, calf's and the heart.
 

Bonzer

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May 25, 2015
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jhuskey said:
There is no guarantee you will lose weight. Weight loss still hinges on calories burn vs intake. If you burn 600 calories cycling and take in 4000 you will probably gain weight. Another factor is where your body is storing fat. Men and women store fat in different areas , generally and even individuals within genders vary as to where they store fat.
I'm afraid your information is not quite right. Exercise reduces fat set point and controls our hunger mechanism. If you don't feel hungry, how can you eat more? Exercise not only burns calories it also conditions our vital organs, increases metabolism and regulates hunger pangs. Cycling or any other exercise would help in weight loss.

You just have to avoid high-calorie diet and consume voluminous foods like Green-leafy vegetables, fiber, proteins and an all round nutritious diet. In any case, people who exercise cannot consume more food and thus lose weight.
 

Catsyo

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May 6, 2015
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Bonzer said:
I'm afraid your information is not quite right. Exercise reduces fat set point and controls our hunger mechanism. If you don't feel hungry, how can you eat more? Exercise not only burns calories it also conditions our vital organs, increases metabolism and regulates hunger pangs. Cycling or any other exercise would help in weight loss.

You just have to avoid high-calorie diet and consume voluminous foods like Green-leafy vegetables, fiber, proteins and an all round nutritious diet. In any case, people who exercise cannot consume more food and thus lose weight.
I think jhuskey is accurate in that merely riding a bike isn't a miracle weight loss cure. You're correct in that avoiding a high-calorie diet coupled with bike riding will lead to health benefits but not everyone follows through that. I know plenty of people who ride bikes that drink a lot of beer and eat too much pizza. They aren't losing weight even though they ride. Eating well plus exercise should be common sense, but a lot of people don't seem to get it. Weight loss takes a lot of self discipline. If you're just gonna excuse crappy eating habits, you aren't really gonna lose.
 

BikeBikeBikeBike

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May 19, 2015
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Does road cycling have any effect on your core muscles?
I know mountain biking does give my core and some of my upper body a little work.
The primary muscles it uses are quads, hams, calfs and those ones in the hips.
 

kylerlittle

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Apr 25, 2015
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It exercises a lot of your body muscles, mostly your legs and thighs. It also exercises your stomach muscles and your shoulders.
 

joshposh

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Apr 16, 2015
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The major muscle groups that are being worked on is of the lower extremities. You do tense your lower back and arms so there is some exercise happening in the upper body as well but nothing as close to what your legs and hip areas.

As someone already mentioned you just need to keep you heart rate up and you will burn calories. Even when you have stopped working out your body continues to burn calories hours after riding. So to day you only burned X amount of calories in one hour of cycling is wrong. You will continue to burn calories because of cycling hours afterwards as the body heals and adjust to the stimulation.

If you consume a lot of animal and vegetable calories, those will burn off faster as opposed to other forms.
 

Viking55803

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Oct 3, 2013
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Duluth, MN
I'd like to add that strength work (with weights) can be beneficial to cycling. I'm an old guy (66) who had open heart surgery a little over 2 years ago and lost a good deal of muscle mass in the upper body due to the inactivity following surgery and normal sarcopenia (muscle loss) from aging. I started weight training early in 2014, mainly to strengthen my upper body and core strength. I hoped to be more comfortable on the bike, but didn't really think too much about my legs which have always been strong due to years of hiking, snowshoeing, x-country skiing and cycling.

This year I am really noticing an improvement in not only comfort and less leg fatigue, but also in my power numbers at a given heart rate. I suspect this is due to the building of Type II muscle fibers and the subsequent recruitment of Type IIA muscle fibers to generate power. This has been an unexpected benefit of weight training, which I always disliked and never mastered. During the riding season I am dropping down to 1 day/week of leg work. There are things you can do in a gym you simply can't do easily in any other way - like leg curls to strengthen hamstrings (where I've seen the most muscle development.) It's definitely making me a stronger and more comfortable rider.
 

kylerlittle

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Apr 25, 2015
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joshposh said:
The major muscle groups that are being worked on is of the lower extremities. You do tense your lower back and arms so there is some exercise happening in the upper body as well but nothing as close to what your legs and hip areas.

As someone already mentioned you just need to keep you heart rate up and you will burn calories. Even when you have stopped working out your body continues to burn calories hours after riding. So to day you only burned X amount of calories in one hour of cycling is wrong. You will continue to burn calories because of cycling hours afterwards as the body heals and adjust to the stimulation.

If you consume a lot of animal and vegetable calories, those will burn off faster as opposed to other forms.
I completely agree with you, sums it up rightly.
 

sbatz72

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Jun 23, 2015
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I think like horseback riding, cycling exercises all muscles. I think this is a great way to get your whole body into condition.
 

ZXD22

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Mar 21, 2015
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I would assume most of your legs so your quads and hamstrings as well as possibly some of your abs. It uses up a lot of different muscles which is pretty cool.
 

AtlantaSports

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Jul 14, 2015
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9lines said:
The quadriceps and hamstring in the upper leg. Gastrocnemius and soleus in the calf. The muscles contract in sequence that creates the pedaling action.
That's really the main muscles that the bike hits.