Cycling is an intense aerobic activity and is primarily targeted at the major muscle groups in our legs. While some people crave bigger thigh muscles, others are worried about developing bulky thighs through cycling, which causes them to avoid the activity altogether.
Cycling will not lead to bigger thighs unless you pair it with another form of exercise. Cycling targets the endurance muscle fibers in your legs, making your legs resistant to fatigue rather than bulking them up.
This article will explore why cycling alone won’t make your thighs bigger and what you can add to your cycling routine if you’re hoping for bigger thighs.
Why Cycling Won’t Make Your Thighs Bigger
Cycling is an aerobic activity that targets the major muscle groups in your legs, including your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quads.
However, cycling primarily targets the endurance muscle fibers, exposing your muscles to a similar level of strain over an extended period. Even when you cycle regularly, the resistance placed on your legs remains the same throughout.
This means that when you first start cycling, your legs must work on building enough muscle to push past this force. However, once you get comfortable, your legs don’t need to exert much power, and you can cycle without pushing against additional resistance.
Sure, we’ve all seen people with tree-trunk-like thighs looking like they can pedal through a snowstorm. But it’s not just cycling that gave them those thighs.
While cycling may increase thigh circumference, a real gain in size cannot be solely attributed to this activity.
Why Your Body Type Matters
Your body’s natural tendency to build muscle will depend significantly on your genetics and body type. If your parents tend to put on muscle quickly, this muscle-building gene will likely have been passed on to you.
Body type also plays a significant role in whether you will be able to build thunder thighs through cycling alone.
Those with a mesomorph body type gain muscle mass easily and can quickly build the size of their thighs through continual exercise (not including cycling).
However, endomorph body types find it challenging to lose fat and gain muscle. When they begin cycling, they tend to build a significant amount of muscle mass without much reduction in fat.
As a result, many cyclists with endomorph body types notice how they aren’t fitting into their jeans anymore because their thighs have gotten bigger. This increase in size is a combination of an increase in muscle mass without much reduction in fat, leading to the greater circumference of the thighs.
Testosterone Levels Won’t Help Much
Your testosterone levels will also determine how much muscle mass you can gain through strength training. Again, it’s important to reiterate that cycling is an endurance activity, and even with high testosterone levels alone, it’s unlikely that you will carve out significantly larger thighs for yourself.
On average, women have lower testosterone levels than men (nearly 15% less), and it’s more challenging for them to build bulging muscles, even with vigorous exercise. As such, women who take up cycling are unlikely to build massive thighs just from pedaling.
However, while men have higher testosterone levels, cycling alone will not lead to enormous thighs as the activity doesn’t target muscle building. As such, your body sees no need to bulk up to resist greater force.
So, while testosterone levels play a crucial role in muscle development, even higher levels can’t be correlated with significantly bigger thighs.
Nutritional Intake Will Only Get You So Far
The essential component of building muscle mass is to ensure you supplement your body with a healthy, wholesome diet. What you eat constitutes your body, and a diet of whole foods can help significantly boost muscle size.
You’ll require adequate quantities of protein if you want to build muscle mass in your thighs, and a diverse diet can help ensure you’re getting the necessary nutrition.
However, upping your protein intake will only take you so far, and massive thighs can’t be sculpted simply through eating right.
How Additional Training Can Help
Here’s where the cyclists with massive thighs make real gains – in the additional training they include in their routine. You can bet that most cyclists with bulky thighs spend a significant portion of their time at the gym, adding weight training to their regular cycling routine.
Weight training is the only effective way to sculpt larger thighs. Even with the right body type, diet, and high testosterone levels, it’s nearly impossible to build bigger thighs without mixing weight training into your routine.
When you first start cycling, there’s a certain level of resistance you’re required to push against while pedaling. In a sense, this resistance is a kind of weight, and the act of your legs pushing against this weight will lead to an increase in thigh circumference to a certain extent.
However, beyond a point (after a few weeks), your legs will get used to this level of resistance and will possess the strength to push past it without exerting any additional force.
Once your thigh muscles get used to a certain weight, they stop growing because there’s no need to get bigger to deal with greater weight.
In essence, muscles can’t increase in size unless they are forced to push against heavier weights, and this resistance is gradually built up over time. The increase in resistance leads to a corresponding increase in muscle mass, helping the body lift or push more.
There’s a good chance that cyclists with massive thighs spend at least a few hours at the gym every week adding additional weight training to their cycling routine.
And while bigger thighs may help them pedal faster and with ease, they are not a direct outcome of cycling.
So, for those worried whether cycling will increase the size of your thighs, it’s unlikely to do so unless you specifically work on improving thigh circumference. There may be a slight increase in girth, but it’s usually marginal and not worth worrying about.
Steps to Take if You Want Bigger Thighs
Some of us are conscious of larger thighs as they look bulky and out of place on specific frames. But if you’re not taking up cycling because you’re worried about thigh size, you can rest assured that pedaling alone won’t get you there.
On the other hand, some of us have taken up cycling in the hope that it will grant us bigger thighs. Well, that’s a bummer because, as we’ve explored already, you won’t get swole just by cycling.
If you’re looking to enhance your thigh size, you can add specific activities to your daily routine that will supplement your cycling workout and help build muscle mass in your thighs. That said, keep in mind that (as mentioned above), you will need to include weight training in your daily routine.
While eating right and increasing your testosterone levels does help, they’ll only take you so far. You’ll need to implement a balanced, well-rounded routine if you want to see real gains.
A proper diet can’t be stressed enough, especially when it comes to fitness, building muscle mass, or any physiological improvement in the body. Your diet plays a crucial role in determining your overall state of health and a significant role in building muscle mass.
In this case, the quality of the protein you consume will help determine the speed at which muscle development occurs in the body. It’s crucial to eat nearly one gram (0.03 oz) of protein for one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight (that’s 0.36 g or 0.01 ounces for every pound or 450 grams of body weight).
When consuming protein, you need to ensure you’re getting all the amino acids as they are crucial for protein synthesis, which will aid in building big muscles.
If you aren’t getting enough protein on your diet, consider adding a protein blend or powder mix to get the essential amino acids into your system. These nutrients will help build your muscle mass by giving you the raw material you need for bigger thighs.
Increase Testosterone Levels
Boosting your testosterone levels is also an effective way to enhance muscle mass and build bigger thighs through cycling. Exercise is one of the quickest ways to produce this hormone, and cycling is a natural testosterone booster.
Here are a few other natural ways to boost testosterone levels in the body:
- High-Quality Sleep: Seven to eight hours of high-quality sleep helps the body replenish the raw materials required to sustain testosterone production. Conversely, a lack of quality sleep causes a significant drop in testosterone levels.
- Balanced Diet: Aside from protein, your diet must comprise a healthy balance of the essential nutrients required by the body. It’s best to include carbs, healthy fats, and fiber in your daily intake, as these nutrients will give your body the right fuel to keep your testosterone levels high.
- Destress: While some stress can be productive, chronic stress can significantly lower testosterone production in the body and lead to other physiological complications as well. Luckily, you’ve got an activity like cycling to help you destress! So, the next time you’ve got a lot on your mind, hop on your bike and take a ride.
While the other tips will help prepare your body to build larger thighs, weight or resistance training is the only way to increase the size of your thighs. Those with bigger thighs spend a significant portion of their time sculpting their legs at the gym.
Squats, lunges, deadlifts, and quad exercises with the help of gym equipment can quickly give our thighs the definition and muscle mass you’re aiming for.
Working out is effective when we continually increase the resistance we are required to push against.
For example, if you’re performing a quad exercise with 10-pound (4.5-kilogram) weights, your legs will build fibers up to a point where pushing those weights won’t strain your muscles much.
Once you get to that point, your body will stop building muscle mass as it doesn’t require more power to lift the same amount of weight.
If you want your thighs to build more muscle, you’ll need to increase the resistance, so your body develops additional muscle fibers to deal with the added weight.
Cycling alone won’t get you big thighs as the weight becomes constant after getting used to it. At this point, cycling will work on your muscle endurance or your ability to perform the activity for an extended period rather than building mass.
While eating right and boosting testosterone levels may impact thigh size, weight training is the only way to effectively increase your muscle mass.
Will Cycling Regularly Make My Thighs Bigger?
A. Cycling regularly will not make your thighs bigger in the long term. You may see a slight increase in the size of your thighs immediately after you first start cycling regularly. However, this increase will stagnate after a couple of weeks, and you’ll need to start weight training for further gains.
Is Cycling Still Good for My Legs Even if My Thigh Size Stays the Same?
A. Cycling is good for your legs even if your thigh size stays the same. It will help keep your thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and quads lean, muscular, and mobile. Additionally, cycling works on the endurance muscle fibers in your thighs, allowing you to develop your endurance.
Is It Easy for Women To Build Bulky Thighs?
A. It is not easy for women to build bulky thighs. This is because women have lower testosterone levels than men, and testosterone is the hormone responsible for building bulging muscles.
Women usually possess more fat in their bodies than men (up to 10% more). This fat content is essential for menstruation and can be concentrated in the thighs in some women. Cycling builds thigh muscles up to a certain extent, and this combination of muscle mass and fat can make it seem like your thighs are bulking up.
However, as with men, it’s unlikely that women will be able to develop tree-trunk-like thighs through cycling, and they will need to include weight training in their exercise regime. Additionally, women often require more involved weight training if they’re looking to make their thighs bigger.
Cycling is a healthy, wholesome activity that most people practice for pleasure. However, it can also yield tangible physical benefits.
Instead of thinking about whether your thighs will look large, consider how healthy you’ll be from cycling and taking care of your body. The beauty lies in accepting healthy physical transformations and enjoying the benefits these changes bring to you.