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Will Spinning Make My Legs Big?

Big Thighs Spinning
Photo by: johnthescone

No, Spinning won’t make your legs big.

OK thats the short answer out of the way!  I guess you want to know more about why spinning won’t give you legs like tree trunks?

There are a number of factors that go into determining your body shape and we will look at these and show you how you can enjoy your exercise and keep the legs you want.

Your Natural Body Shape

There are three main body shapes, Ectomorphs, Endomorphs and Mesomorphs.  Knowing which you are will help determine how your body will respond to exercise.

Ectomorphs tend to be thinner, and have trouble putting on muscle mass.  Endo and Mesomorphs respond well to exercise and are able to put on weight well.

Cardio Vs Resistance Workout

If you are spinning then you are performing a cardio workout.  The main muscle that is being worked is your heart.  It can be beating away at 70-90% of its maximum rate, which is the ideal training zone.

Muscles that grow as a result of cardio workouts are these involved in breathing and pumping blood, such as your heart.

During a resistance workout, like weight training, the opposite is true.  As you lift weights your heart is not working at a high rate for long, it’s the muscles targeted by the weights that will grow.

Will spinning give me big legs?
British racer Bradley Wiggins is the winner of the 2012 Tour de France

But are the hills sections not like weight training?

For a muscle to increase in size it needs to have be loaded with a weight that you can only lift between 6-20 times.  If you can employ good form when cycling, buy choosing a good indoor or spin bike and using a quality pair of cycling shoes you will also avoid injury and keep training longer.

When you are climbing hills on a bike you may be going for a minute or two at with the legs moving 120 times over the exercise.

Just look at some of the riders in the Tour de France, the world’s biggest cycling race, the best hill climbers are lean, strong, and have normal sized legs!

I have seen big legs on the cyclists at the Olympics.

You have me there. These cyclists do have big legs. Sir Chris Hoy 6 times Olympic Gold medallist, the most successful Olympic Cyclist of all time had a 27″ thigh circumference.  This is what gave him his explosive power.

It’s easy to make the link between big thighs and cycling when seeing Sir Chris.  Let’s have a look at his training routine:

“I will do two gym sessions a week, working for two hours.”   “I’m focused on doing really heavy weights for maybe four to 10 reps. You are basically trying to lift all you physically can for those repetitions in three main exercises: the squat, the deadlift and the leg press.”

It is these four hours in the gym a week that is giving Chris his big legs!  The cycling is developing fitness and speed, not muscle.

In Short

Spinning or any form of cardio will keep you lean, and not give you the physique of Chris Hoy. If you want strong lean legs, Spinning is a great form of exercise.  For big legs then you need to lift heavy weights in the gym.

Spinning won’t make your legs big, so get on your bike and enjoy!