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  1. #1
    Member slayer_track's Avatar
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    Building leg mass (skinny legs)

    I've been training a while now and my legs are really tone, but still really thin.
    Whats the best way to gain mass in the leg muscles?
    Longer rides in a hard gear?

    Right now im running 3 days a week and i've noticed a slight
    difference.

    any tips?
    or am I stuck with these twigs?

  2. #2
    Bikes are good El Julioso's Avatar
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    If you're looking to build muscle mass, you have to ensure that you're eating more calories than you're burning. You especially need to make sure that your protein intake is adequate (if you eat meat and drink milk you're probably fine on that front). Also eat immediately after workouts.

    If your diet is fine, the best way to add muscle mass on a bike would be hill repeats. Find a steep hill and hammer up it. Coast back down. Repeat.

    Off the bike, the best leg exercise is generally considered to be the squat. I like the deadlift and incline leg press too.

    Don't make the mistake of thinking that huge legs are necessarily going to make you a speed demon on the bike, however - on an upright bike, you can never press harder on the pedals than your own weight. And if you can stand up with one leg, which I assume you can, you have that much strength already. Becoming faster is more a function of muscle tone, pedaling efficiency, cardiovascular conditioning, aerodynamics, and good bike handling.

  3. #3
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Alberto Contador, the winner of last year's Tour day Frantz, has thin legs.

    It's an American obsession with large things that assumes that larger always means more powerful.

    I have huge legs and I'm weak as a baby kitten with the sniffles.

    Embrace your genetic strengths and get on with it. If you're genetically skinny, you're going to spend a lot of time and effort on very little benefit. As my dad used to say, "you can't make chicken salad out of chicken *****".

    Az

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    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    A photo of Ned Overend usually pops up in this discussion. One of the most gifted cyclists ever:


  5. #5
    Videre non videri
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    Cycling, no matter how hard, will not build any muscle mass worth mentioning. The load is too low.

    Lift heavy weights and eat a lot, and your legs will grow.

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    Why do you want to getter bigger legs?
    If it's for the looks, do bodybuilder!
    If not "just" ride your bike and your legs may get bigger or not. But you will be able to ride longer and/or faster, depending on your training. And that's what matters right? ;-)

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    fair enough, I notice I gain more leg muscle and strength by riding in 2 gears to hard (rpm between 60 and 70, the lower the better) do this for the middle 10 mins of every 30 and do 2 hours of this training roughly once a week. But like the guy says, there are too many repetitions and too little load to become really big!
    FitRider

    Train Pro, Ride Pro

    buying too many Bike Parts?

  8. #8
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    Be glad you are skinny. It will pay off in a few decades. I drank Weight-On in high school but I am sure glad for the high metabolism now.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

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    Member slayer_track's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

  10. #10
    Recumbent Ninja
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf View Post
    Cycling, no matter how hard, will not build any muscle mass worth mentioning. The load is too low.

    Lift heavy weights and eat a lot, and your legs will grow.
    +1, but le me also add that cycling is a CATABOLIC activity. This is what so few people on this forum understand. long distance aerobic workouts (running/cycling) are detrimental to muscle mass. You LOSE muscle mass when cycling.

    All you have to do is look at the olympic sprinter's legs versus the marathon runner's legs.

    If your most important goal is to build bigger legs, then you need to stop doing rides above 20 miles, and keep all those shorter rides as hard HIIT sessions. 3 days a week max, off days when you're not lifting heavy. A calorie surplus is also critical for muscle growth.

  11. #11
    Pat
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    I developed really large thighs and calves by cycling. I have known nationally ranked body builders whose legs really are not much better than mine. But I never ever intended to get them. They just happened when I put on the miles. I think some people do and some people don't. Keep up the work and eat an adequate diet and if it happens, it happens.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf View Post
    Cycling, no matter how hard, will not build any muscle mass worth mentioning. The load is too low.

    Lift heavy weights and eat a lot, and your legs will grow.
    Two words:

    HEAVY Squats

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    Quote Originally Posted by slayer_track View Post
    I've been training a while now and my legs are really tone, but still really thin.
    Whats the best way to gain mass in the leg muscles?
    Longer rides in a hard gear?

    Right now im running 3 days a week and i've noticed a slight
    difference.

    any tips?
    or am I stuck with these twigs?
    In order to build leg muscles with cycling you must ride always on the highest gear possible. The people who claim you can't build muscles with cycling are climbing highs on a lower gear because they don't have the pure muscle strength to do so on a high gear in the first place. I'm experienced rider and I must warn you that climbing on a high gear is dangerous-you can strain or stretch muscle if you don't know your limits and the way of exerting the most strength by riding on your legs transferring weight from leg to leg is putting strain to your back so you can get back aches . But it's rewarding you not only get bigger and stronger muscles but you get stronger back too. Out of the bike by Squats you can gain muscle weigh but you legs will become stiff and less agile so I don't recommend it. Instead do sprinting-50, 60 and 100 meters sprinting will build up your legs. Also as strange as it sounds build up your upper body. Heaving heavier upper body for your legs to support will make them bigger.

  14. #14
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    I agree with those who question the "Size matters" hypothesis...

    I look at a child who has almost no muscle mass at all yet has incredible strength... Or, isn't an ant supposed to be able to carry 50 times his own weight? Yet where is HIS muscle mass?

    Conversely, when my mom had a stroke, her left side ended up having little or no strength -- even though immediately after the stroke, her muscles had not changed...

    And, then you get to my experience with CoQ10 adding 10-20% to my strength -- because suddenly my body was able to make ATP again...

    In short, I there there is far more to strength than the size of the muscles...
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Univega View Post
    Two words:

    HEAVY Squats
    Heavy squats are not enough on their own. Bodybuilders get bigger by eating and sleeping.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    get on a strength program that involves squatting
    get plenty of rest
    eat more food than your body requires to maintain weight

    repeat that for a year.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    SQUATS AND MILK!

    An old school lifters true-ism. It's amazing what this can do. Heavy a$$ squats and a gallon of milk a day... You put on mass.

    But add dead lifts anyway.
    Start with dumbell stiff leg dead lifts if you have to.

  18. #18
    Senior Member GeneO's Avatar
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    Wow, resurrected after 5 years!
    2012 Felt F55X

  19. #19
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post

    SQUATS AND MILK!

    An old school lifters true-ism. It's amazing what this can do. Heavy a$$ squats and a gallon of milk a day... You put on mass.

    But add dead lifts anyway.
    Start with dumbell stiff leg dead lifts if you have to.
    Milk protein good, milk fat not so good.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  20. #20
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    Milk protein good, milk fat not so good.

    Myth...

    You need calorie surplus to put on size.
    The OP asked about curing skinny legs.

    I lift.
    This years maxes:
    575 dead, 550 doubles for squat, 450 for decline bench (hammer strength).
    For a 47 year old, with x-rays like mine. not too shabby.

    SQUATS and MILK! is both a joke and a true statement. But the whole statement was:
    SQUATS and MILK and Pullovers.

    Squats have the highest hormonal response, followed by dead lifts and pull-ups. The old school lifters had it dead right for uh, "unassisted" people.

    Fat doesn't make you fat. It makes you feel full, high satiety. Gotta love all the crap from the 70's that was pounded into us and is exactly opposite of true.

    Carbs do!
    The higher the Insulin response the more fat storage.
    Interestingly, 4% milk has higher calorie density it has a lower Glycemic Index. I have not seen it's Insulin Response curve though, which is what actually matters as there are many surprises in the difference between the two. GI is much easier to measure, then IR, but IR is what matters.

    Alcohol is especially prone to store as fat, worst fat there is, visceral fat. As it has a different recently evolved metabolic pathway to detox it as quickly as possible.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    ^^^
    Nice to know someone else lifts heavy as well.
    550x2 squat is pretty insane.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by slayer_track View Post
    I've been training a while now and my legs are really tone, but still really thin.
    Whats the best way to gain mass in the leg muscles?
    Any progress reports, OP?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    This years maxes:
    575 dead, 550 doubles for squat
    I'm curious how that extra weight affects you on the bike. Years ago when I was doing 500+ squats and deadlifts (~25 lbs more body weight than now) I had speed out the wazoo, but was pretty useless on rides longer than 10 miles.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprince View Post
    I'm curious how that extra weight affects you on the bike. Years ago when I was doing 500+ squats and deadlifts (~25 lbs more body weight than now) I had speed out the wazoo, but was pretty useless on rides longer than 10 miles.
    I'm not in the best shape, and spent the last 18-24 months training for powerlifting.
    i don't have trouble riding in the 25-30 mile range now, and I've only been riding for 8 weeks.

    While my squats aren't anywhere near that strong, I have a decent deadlift, and I think being strong is beneficial to my riding. Clearly if you're lugging around an extra 30 pounds of bodyweight, you get to a point of diminishing returns.

  25. #25
    Senior Member dadof7's Avatar
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    To get big legs, you may need to pick different parents....

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