Does Riding an Exercise Bike Make Your Butt Bigger?

Riding an exercise bike can reduce body fat and improve health.
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Misconceptions can make finding the answers to fitness questions a challenge. With so many unreliable media sources, exercise myths are rampantly perpetuated. One such misnomer is that training on a bicycle will make your butt big. While cycling may increase the size of your gluteus muscles, it may also cause a reduction in overall body fat, resulting in a smaller, shapelier derriere.

The Myth

The myth that cycling will cause your butt to get big is just that -- a myth. We already know what makes a butt big, and it isn't cardio; it's poor food choices and a lack of exercise. According to, to build bulky quadriceps and glutes from indoor cycling, you'd have to climb in a very difficult gear for extended periods of time. Unless you put a concerted effort into building substantial glutes from cycling, it is unlikely you will develop a "big butt" from the exercise.

The Truth

Bicycling, whether on a stationary bike or outside, is an excellent form of fat-burning cardiovascular activity. A 40-minute indoor cycling class can burn 400 to 500 calories, which is equivalent to running at a moderate pace. Cycling can also increase your VO2 max, improve heart health and boost lower-body strength and stamina. Because it is virtually impact-free, it is also a great option for people with joint problems.

Muscle Hypertrophy

The bottom line is that if riding a bike does increase the size of your butt, it is the result of muscle growth. Unless you already have a very low level of body fat, it is unlikely you will see much of an increase. To build muscle, a process known as muscle hypertrophy, your body has to break down muscle fibers through training, and rebuild them. Progressive overload will lead to adaptation, which causes this growth. However, as long as your training is a variation of speed and resistance work, you won't be using enough continued load to result in substantial hypertrophy.

Staying Lean

Use cycling to stay lean and keep your butt small by avoiding heavy, continuous climbs. Vary your workouts between steady-state endurance rides at a cadence of 80 to 110 rpm and high-intensity interval work that includes high-cadence sprints. By keeping your cadence above 60 rpm at all times, it is unlikely you will be able to train with enough resistance to increase the size of your backside. This is also a good strategy to avoid putting too much pressure on your knees.

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