You may not have the genetics of J-Lo or the celebrity budget to pay a personal trainer, but that doesn't mean you can't have a great butt. A round, shapely booty that fills out your jeans -- but doesn't spill out of them -- is the goal of many women. Unfortunately, myths about the effects of certain exercises often scare ladies away from the very things they should be doing to reach their goals. A common misnomer is that cycling will give you a big butt. Maybe it's misinformation, or maybe it's denial, but we all know what creates a big butt. Couches and cheeseburgers are the culprit, not cardio.
There are three muscles in your butt: the gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus. The largest is the gluteus maximus, which is responsible for creating the rounded shape of the butt. If a better butt is your goal, you'll want to pay special attention to this muscle. Bicycling is a great way to work all three glute muscles, especially the big one. A large amount of the power behind every pedal stroke comes from the gluteus maximus, with the medius and minimus acting as stabilizers. You can maximize the workload of the glutes by riding with resistance or climbing out of the saddle; just be sure to keep your cadence above 60 rpm to avoid unnecessary torque on your knees.
Blast That Fat
You may already have an incredible posterior that's hiding underneath a layer of body fat. Unfortunately, the butt is one of the places your body just loves to store fat. The good news is that bicycling will not only help you build great glute muscles, but it's also an extremely efficient fat-burning exercise. According to Spinning.com, the originators of indoor cycling, a 40-minute class can burn 400 to 600 calories. If you're not keen on group fitness or just prefer to be outdoors, cycling outside can provide you with the same calorie-incinerating benefits, especially if you live in a hilly or mountainous region.
The most effective way to boost fat burning on the bike is to throw in interval training. You can get the same calorie burn in a much shorter amount of time while performing intervals than you can during a steady-state endurance ride. Even better, interval work burns significantly more calories post-workout than steady-state rides. What's not to love about that? A simple interval workout involves two-minute intervals composed of 60 seconds of maximal effort, followed by 60 seconds of recovery. Warm up for five minutes, perform 10 intervals and cool down for five additional minutes.
Always consult a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. Whether you are riding indoors or outdoors, it's extremely important that your bike is correctly adjusted to fit. An improper fit can lead to many joint and muscle problems. If you're trying to shed excess fat, remember that you must keep your caloric intake lower than your output. Stay dedicated to a clean diet and training, and build a beautiful bike booty you'll want to show off.
Jessica Bell has been working in the health and fitness industry since 2002. She has served as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Bell holds an M.A. in communications and a B.A. in English.