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  1. #1
    Riding, Fishing, Living
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    Gaining Muscle by Riding?

    I've been riding more and more lately, and I've noticed I've been more muscular. I've lost about 2 pounds (I'm not fat at all), but I notice I'm more muscular and then I gained the 2 pounds back. I was talking with my friend and he said you can't gain muscle by riding, just lose flab. But my arm muscles are bigger, my leg muscles are bigger, and I actually have seeable abs now.

    Have I just lost flab or am I gaining a little muscle? I definitely feel stronger, and my girlfriend says I look even "sexier" now.

    Just wanted to know if you can gain muscle riding.

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Yes, you can "build" muscle by riding. The more important function of riding (training really)
    is the loss of excess body fat which is much more important to overall health & well being.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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  3. #3
    Senior Member envane's Avatar
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    You can definitely gain muscle by riding, but the majority of the mass will be, unsurprisingly, in your legs.

    Also, you can lose fat which makes you more toned and muscular looking.

    What is happening to you is a combination of the two things above. Especially with the abdominal muscles - revealing those is 100% about losing fat.

  4. #4
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    I've never been fat, I'm not fat but I think I'm losing the little fat that I do have.

    Do your arms gain muscle? I know it won't be much if they do though.

  5. #5
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Back in my 20's I used to be a gym rat...
    And all the different types of calf raises didn't do squat compared to what 5000mi/year has accomplished.

    Calves are notoriously hard to develop (in the gym) but my 40y/o calves look like they belong on that long-gone 20 year old gym rat!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by clarkemp3 View Post
    I've been riding more and more lately, and I've noticed I've been more muscular. .... I was talking with my friend and he said you can't gain muscle by riding, just lose flab. But my arm muscles are bigger, my leg muscles are bigger, and I actually have seeable abs now....
    You are not gaining muscle probably, just storing water in the muscles.
    What's the difference?
    The maximum weight you can lift, that's what.
    You look better though, so it isn't all a bad deal.

    Bike riding is (for the most part) an endurance activity and when taken to extremes tends to decrease your muscle mass. Endurance runners for instance certainly are fit, but they never develop large muscles. Sprinters develop huge leg muscles, but they stick to training over shorter distances and generally do not distance-run at all (like what marathon runners will regularly do).

    To build muscle fastest, stay inside the weight room.
    ~

  7. #7
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    Did you every notice the thighs on the pro riders? Any physical activity done with repetition will gain you muscle mass.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67 View Post
    Back in my 20's I used to be a gym rat...
    And all the different types of calf raises didn't do squat compared to what 5000mi/year has accomplished.

    Calves are notoriously hard to develop (in the gym) but my 40y/o calves look like they belong on that long-gone 20 year old gym rat!
    My calves are about the only decent part of my 60 year old, overweight body! I wear shorts, but somehow refrain from taking my shirt off!

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Of course you can gain muscle from cycling. You can gain muscle from any exercise.


    Some people have such odd ideas about the body.

  10. #10
    Bottecchia fan
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    These come strictly from cycling (well, and good genes of course):



    Alas, if only I could get my arms to match - so no, cycling doesn't build arms
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
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  11. #11
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    You are cutting the flab. That's why I'm doing it. You can't beat riding to provide 3 hours of intense cardio in a single day. Most people also don't consume nearly enough protein. Lots of riders talk about eating enough carbs but never do they talk about protein. Do yourself a favor and take whey protein as a shake and eat lots of meat, real solid food. I'm enjoying my new definition all over! But I can't wait to get back to the gym to pump some iron after my summer cutting pase ... ARGH!!!!!!!!!!! HOORAH!!!!!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  12. #12
    Senior Member desederada's Avatar
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    I started cycling about 3 monthes ago. At the same time I went from a 4-5 Coke habit a day down to 2 cans a day and also really started watching what I eat and how much. I also do other exercise. I haven't lost a pound but I'm looking fit and my clothes are getting lose. I'm not overweight just wanted to trim down some with it being bikini season I'm planning to crank up the workout when the weather cools down some to see if eventually I will lose some weight.

  13. #13
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    If you don't weightlift biking will help gain some muscle as if you trained with weights for a short period of time. But there is so much it can do for the long term in gaining muscle mass.
    For me i lost muscle while riding this summer. If i didn't supplement it would be worse 10lbs like last summer. I expect to lose more weight riding because of over-training also the heat and sweat brings my weight down. Also can't ride and eat so i take in less meals or burn more energy then just doing nothing. Combine heavy weight training then cycling for my cardio outdoors is more intense then 30 minutes riding on bike in the gym. Spend hours riding till i'm numb.

  14. #14
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    I'm thinking, if I try to ride 5 miles in 15 minutes (I can do 5 miles in 17 right now), and do short bursts like that instead of long 100 mile rides, would I gain more muscle that way? Think of runners, those 100 meter runners have big huge muscles, the long distance trail riders are lean and slim.

    What do you guys think?

  15. #15
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I think bicycling has a place in bodybuilding. However, I also think that bodybuilding and "transformation" can best be done with a combination of techniques with alternating phases of muscle building and fat burning using various exercises such as weight training, pullups, running and cycling.

    I like the way you are thinking but do more research to serve your specific goals.

    For me, I ran most of last fall and did weights at night, then this spring I did just weights, then this summer I did lots of bicycling and kept the weights, then tailed of on the weights for a months and really rode alot. Now I'm gonna run again, cycle just for fun, and get back on the weights at night.

    I continue to see improvements week to week, month to month and year to year.

    Good luck with YOUR programs. :-)
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by clarkemp3 View Post
    I'm thinking, if I try to ride 5 miles in 15 minutes (I can do 5 miles in 17 right now), and do short bursts like that instead of long 100 mile rides, would I gain more muscle that way? Think of runners, those 100 meter runners have big huge muscles, the long distance trail riders are lean and slim.

    What do you guys think?
    You have the right idea but it's more complicated than that. Intervals, training for power, training for muscle endurance, hill repeats, and all sorts of other stuff come into play. Track cyclists have very large leg muscles compared to other cyclists just like those 100m runners but that is a very specific type of riding. It also helps if you have a high percentage of fast twitch muscle fiber which is mainly a genetic thing. If you really want bigger legs I'd say go to the gym and do lot's of squats and leg presses and such and eat lot's of protein. Then cycle for fun and cardio training.
    1959 Bottecchia Professional (frame), 1966 Bottecchia Professional, 1971 Bottecchia Professional (frame),
    1973 Bottecchia Gran Turismo, 1974 Bottecchia Special, 1977 Bottecchia Special (frame),
    1974 Peugeot UO-8, 1988 Panasonic PT-3500, 2002 Bianchi Veloce, 2004 Bianchi Pista

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