If you are a newbie cyclist, one of the first questions you may ask yourself is "What muscles does biking work?" Biking, also known as cycling, is one of those sports that work a variety of muscles. It is a great exercise to burn calories, shed fat, and tone and strengthen muscles all over your body.
Bike for Healthier Calves, Thighs, and Glutes
Obviously, biking works your legs, but the muscles in the body are all connected. It is nearly impossible to isolate just one muscle. In fact, that is one of the benefits of this great exercise. Here are three specific muscle groups you will be toning with a cycling regimen.
Cycling works the two main muscles in the calf.
- Gastrocnemius - This is the muscle most prominent on your calf. It attaches at the back of the knee and is responsible for helping to lift your heel, which allows you to walk, climb a flight of stairs, and, of course, to ride a bike.
- Soleus - Also responsible for helping to lift the heel, the soleus is not quite as visible, but just as important. When you bend your knee during exercises like cycling, you are using the soleus muscle.
The thigh is made up of more than a dozen muscles and tendons, working together to power you through a biking workout. Here are two of the major muscle groups exercisers generally aim to tone and tighten.
- Quadriceps - The quads are actually a muscle group, which include four major muscles on the front of the thigh: vastus lateralis (outer thigh), rectus femoris (middle thigh), vastus medialis (inner thigh) and vastus intermedius (between the inner and outer thigh muscles). These muscles effectively make up the "meaty" part of the thigh that surrounds the femur bone. In most people, even those who are not physically fit, the quads are the strongest of all the muscles in the body. The quads attach to the kneecap. They are often worked heavily during a hard session of cycling, so it is fairly common to feel tightness in this area after a good workout.
- Hamstrings - Another important thigh muscle group, the hamstrings sit behind and above the knee and attach to the femur bone, as well. These muscles allow the knee to bend as you pump the pedals of a bike.
Because both the quads and the hamstrings work as a cohesive unit, it is crucial that you strength train both muscles, rather than focusing on just one. Many professional athletes run into injury issues because they have over-trained their quads in comparison to their hamstrings.
The gluteals are more commonly known as the buttocks. Though the gluteus maximus is the most well known of buttocks muscles, it is only one of three muscles in the gluteal group.
- Gluteus Maximus - With its fleshy, round shape, the gluteus maximus is the most prominent of the gluteal muscles. It has earned various nicknames over time. In fact, a number of exercises and classes have even been created to target this single muscle. "Booty Blast," "Booty Bootcamp," and "Butt Buster" are just some of the names you might find on a gym class schedule. Biking, however, is also an excellent way to tone this unique and very strong muscle.
- Gluteus Medius and Gluteus Minimus - The two remaining muscles of the gluteal group, the gluteus medius and minimus muscles, work in conjunction with the hips to rotate the thighs when a body is in motion. Obviously, the ability to rotate the thighs is especially important when running, climbing, or cycling.
Biking Provides Very Beneficial Exercise
Biking works a lot of muscles. In addition to the muscles of the lower portion of the body, almost every exercise requires the use of muscles that remain mostly stationary. Holding your body in a certain position while bicycling will call on the muscles of your back, arms, and neck, as well. Remember, biking is not only a great way to work those muscles and burn fat; it is also a sport that can be very social. Just grab a couple friends and locate a biking trail near you to work off your stress, create amazing memories, and tone that gluteus maximus to boot!