T Nation

Cycling for Big Legs?

Hey guys, not sure where to post this, but as I’m new to the site, beginners seems the right place.

I’ve recently started cycling a few miles everyday (about 10) to get to and from work and I’m wondering how it will effect leg hypertrophy.

My legs are thin and therefore a priority, so I squat regularly. At the moment I’m not doing heavy squats as I’m using a GVT programme, so although my legs are often a bit tired from cycling, this is not affecting my leg day in the gym much.

I was just wondering if this small amount of regular cycling would be beneficial or detrimental to hypertrophy? All thoughts welcome, thanks…

I have done this and it fucking works. A few years ago I started cycling EVERY DAY during the summer (meh… I was bored). I cycled with great intensity, until my quads were burning and I could barely cycle properly (but NOT to total failure). When I came home I would eat immediately a meal of protein and carbs.

By the end of my two month summer holiday my quads had gained a lot of size (sorry I don’t remember exactly how big, I didn’t take measurements, but my legs have never regained the size I had then, despite me nowadays training them regularly with squats).

I’m not sure about only 10 miles a day (don’t get me wrong that’s a lot), but I had a client who was a long distance cyclist who would do like 490 miles over 6 days, and her quads were outrageous.

However, I am pretty sure if it is a grueling 10 miles (hills, wind, and a higher resistance on your gear ratio) it will help your quads. Just be sure to switch up your route so that you will keep your legs guessing.

I do about the same, but there are a few simple rules.

Do about 8 of those ten miles on a relatively small gear, move the legs fluidly, if you start to get jerky, too fast. But you must not put too much pressure on the pedals.

Then on the last two, put the biggest gear, and move the legs slowly, the bike speed is not important, but you must have constant pressure.

In any case the best buy you can get for your bike are clip pedals, so that you can pull AND push.

G

[quote]Smellysam wrote:
In any case the best buy you can get for your bike are clip pedals, so that you can pull AND push.

G[/quote]

Agreed, clip pedals are a must to work through the complete pedal stroke.

Biking has helped with my quad development. It gets them bigger and more vascular, especially if you’re doing a lot of climbing on your bike: that’s some good lactic acid inducing exercise right there. But make sure you keep your riding away from your leg workouts, or both will suffer as a result. Try to keep two nights between a leg workout and a ride.

To make it effective, add distance every two weeks to your ride. Keep intensity levels high, but at the level that will allow you to ride for several hours. Don’t think you’ll get jacked quicker by trying to power through inefficient gears. Try to ride as efficiently as possible and keep pedal stroke RPMs around 80-90. You should really invest in some biking shoes and clipless pedals so you can have a more efficient pedal stroke.

Use a real road bike if you can that has quality components. You may be able to find a good deal if it’s used. I was able to get a 2003 Cannondale for $800 that, at the time it was sold, was worth over $2000.

And eat carbs.

It’s just a matter of intensity.
I bike every single day ,riding to classes and to work doing almost 30Km a day every day.
I don’t have big legs.

[quote]FightingScott wrote:
But make sure you keep your riding away from your leg workouts, or both will suffer as a result.[/quote]

yeah, that’s what i was concerned about, not giving my legs enough rest after workouts. hmmm, it’s gonna be tricky as i’m using the bike as a transport necessity, not a leisure pursuit.

will look into getting some clips too. at the moment i’m using a heavy mountain bike for road riding and it’s far from ideal, though i’m not in a financial position to splash out a few hundred on a decent road bike.

thanks for everyone’s feedback.

[quote]HRV wrote:
FightingScott wrote:
But make sure you keep your riding away from your leg workouts, or both will suffer as a result.

yeah, that’s what i was concerned about, not giving my legs enough rest after workouts. hmmm, it’s gonna be tricky as i’m using the bike as a transport necessity, not a leisure pursuit.

will look into getting some clips too. at the moment i’m using a heavy mountain bike for road riding and it’s far from ideal, though i’m not in a financial position to splash out a few hundred on a decent road bike.

thanks for everyone’s feedback.
[/quote]

You can always put slicks on your mountain bike to help. All you want is a good workout. If you can’t get a road bike, the mountain bike will be fine. If you start really getting into cycling, then you may want a different bike. But until then try out the recommendations on your mountain bike.
Good luck.

It’s strange, some people thrive on bicycling. My roommate was a mt. bike racer (expert class) and he had huge quads. He also never lifted a weight with his legs either.

As much as I loved mt biking, as soon as I took it up, my squat poundages dropped. But that could also be due to the fact that I didn’t allow enough rest between workouts.

If you want bigger legs through cycling, I recommend a fixed gear track bike, keeping your ass in the saddle, and aiming for the hills. don’t have a track bike? simple, keep your gear ratio at or above 3/1 at all times and never, ever coast.

while i don’t know much about this i want to put in my 2 cents, correct me if im wrong cuz i don’t want to put out bad info to anyone and i’ll be glad to say sorry but here goes.

IMO Just make sure to keep the cycling intense and not super long endurance cycling. Take this into account: Lance Armstrong has the skinny ass physique of his for a reason.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
while i don’t know much about this i want to put in my 2 cents, correct me if im wrong cuz i don’t want to put out bad info to anyone and i’ll be glad to say sorry but here goes.

IMO Just make sure to keep the cycling intense and not super long endurance cycling. Take this into account: Lance Armstrong has the skinny ass physique of his for a reason.[/quote]

That One Guy, You’re absolutely right. A lot of people at my job talk about Lance (particularily his legs) like he is a bodybuilder, but his legs aren’t big at all.

He is an amazing physical specimen, but only in an endurance context.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
while i don’t know much about this i want to put in my 2 cents, correct me if im wrong cuz i don’t want to put out bad info to anyone and i’ll be glad to say sorry but here goes.

IMO Just make sure to keep the cycling intense and not super long endurance cycling. Take this into account: Lance Armstrong has the skinny ass physique of his for a reason.[/quote]

Yes indeedy, this is spot on. The cyclists with the really big legs are generally the track sprint specialists.