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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 03-17-08, 07:45 PM   #1
slayer_track
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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?
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Old 03-17-08, 08:03 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 03-17-08, 08:13 PM   #3
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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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Old 03-17-08, 09:28 PM   #4
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A photo of Ned Overend usually pops up in this discussion. One of the most gifted cyclists ever:

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Old 03-18-08, 03:31 AM   #5
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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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Old 03-18-08, 06:00 AM   #6
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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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Old 03-18-08, 06:33 AM   #7
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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!
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Old 03-18-08, 08:41 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 03-18-08, 12:46 PM   #9
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Thanks guys!
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Old 03-18-08, 12:54 PM   #10
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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.
+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.
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Old 03-20-08, 01:35 PM   #11
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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.
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Old 03-21-08, 10:47 AM   #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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Old 11-05-13, 02:49 AM   #13
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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.
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Old 11-05-13, 06:05 AM   #14
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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...
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Old 11-05-13, 07:02 AM   #15
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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.
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Old 11-05-13, 07:11 AM   #16
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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.
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Old 11-05-13, 08:19 AM   #17
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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.
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Old 11-05-13, 08:35 AM   #18
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Wow, resurrected after 5 years!
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Old 11-09-13, 03:14 AM   #19
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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.
Milk protein good, milk fat not so good.
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Old 11-09-13, 09:15 AM   #20
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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.
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Old 11-11-13, 06:06 AM   #21
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^^^
Nice to know someone else lifts heavy as well.
550x2 squat is pretty insane.
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Old 11-11-13, 06:19 PM   #22
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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?
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Old 11-12-13, 10:20 AM   #23
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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.
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Old 11-12-13, 10:35 AM   #24
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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.
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Old 11-12-13, 11:18 AM   #25
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To get big legs, you may need to pick different parents....
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