A common question among men and women looking for a workout routine is whether or not using a stationary bike will make thighs bigger or smaller. Women in particular may not want to take the time to exercise only to have their thighs get bigger. Strong legs as a result of stationary biking are desirable, but big legs may not be a wanted result.
Unless you are training for a tremendous amount a day with heavy resistance, a stationary bike will not make your thighs bigger. This exercise is a great aerobic activity to improve the strength of your leg muscles and make them leaner over time.
Using a stationary bike is the perfect non-impact aerobic activity to burn calories, lose weight, and attain slimmer legs in that your legs are doing all of the hard work. As long as you limit the bike’s resistance, it can also help you lose weight, flatten your abs, and slim your thighs, giving you an overall healthier look when combined with a healthy diet.
Bigger Thighs Are Not From Cycling Alone
Have you been afraid to try stationary cycling because you have seen men and women competing in the Tour de France and noticed their legs and thighs are huge? There is no way simply stationary biking will build muscle that much that your thighs will grow bigger. Those gigantic thighs that professional riders have are not from cycling alone.
Professional cyclists spend hours upon hours in the gym working on building up their leg muscles. So, when you see massive thighs and quads, they are more than likely the result of strength training more than stationary cycling. Lifting multiple sets of heavy weights is more than likely the culprit of bulking up these athletes, not cycling alone.
This is because aerobic activities like stationary cycling work your endurance muscle fibers. This is not a strength-training exercise, so these muscle fibers will become fatigued during aerobic activity and become fatigue-resistant the more you stationary bike. However, this muscle fatiguing will never cause your thighs to get larger.
It all comes down to how our muscles work, grow, and fatigue over time. Bulky muscle growth will only occur if you are lifting heavy weights for several sets on a regular basis to affect power-strength muscle fibers. These power-strength muscle fibers will not grow to any considerable degree when doing aerobic exercise such as stationary biking.
Can Stationary Biking Make Your Thighs Smaller?
Stationary biking is more about endurance than strength training, so it focuses on losing weight and toning up, not making muscles bigger. This means stationary biking can make your thighs look smaller over time. This does not mean you can use the bike to spot reduce your thighs, but lose weight throughout your body, including your thighs.
No exercise can target where your weight comes off or what part of the body will get smaller. Stationary biking, in particular, focuses more on your quadriceps and glutes than the thighs. But, if you do an aerobic activity like stationary biking, you will burn calories and lose weight all over. This does not happen overnight and does have conditions:
- Keep resistance low since, as discussed, muscles do grow bigger with more resistance and strength training. If you ride a stationary bike with a higher resistance for short durations, it could increase the size of your thighs.
- Focus on endurance activity instead of strength-building, which means you should bike for more than ten minutes at a sustainable rate that keeps your heart rate up.
- Although you want to keep the resistance level down, you can use the climb feature on the stationary bike to burn more calories and slim down fat. This will not, however, be enough to bulk up your legs and make your thighs larger.
- Since biking uses mostly the quadriceps, which are the fronts of your upper legs, and the glutes in your buttocks, they will be toned more than the thigh area. The thighs will slim down simply due to the calorie loss from the aerobic exercise.
Stationary biking is a great choice for individuals worried about their knees, ankles, and hips in that it is a non-impact exercise. However, biking alone will not help slim the body, including the thighs. Combining any aerobic activity like stationary biking with a proper diet will help combat fat, lose weight, and attain thinner thighs over time.
Burn the Right Amount of Calories and Maintain a Healthy Diet
If you want slimmer thighs, using a stationary bike a few times a week may not get you there. Everyone who has been on a diet knows that if you want to lose weight, you consume less calories and exercise. However, if you want to build lean muscle that tones your body but does not bulk it up, consume just enough to replace what you burn.
If you want to lose weight, you need to burn 3,500 calories more than you consume through your diet to lose a pound of fat. Here are some examples, according to HealthStatus.com, of how much weight you will lose using a stationary bike depending on how much you weigh and how long you consistently use the stationary bike:
- A 160-pound individual will burn around 509 calories after using a stationary bike for one hour at moderate intensity and 826 calories at a more robust intensity.
- A 200-pound individual will burn around 626 calories after using a stationary bike for one hour at moderate intensity and 1,032 calories at a more robust intensity.
The 160-pound individual can lose a pound of fat after seven workouts, and the 200-pound individual can lose a pound of fat after four workouts if maintaining the more robust intensity. However, all this work is lost if not combined with a healthy diet. If you consume more than that target 3,500 number, you will not slim down your body.
Gender May Also Play a Role in Weight Loss and Muscle Building
Weight is just one factor when using a stationary bike to attain slimmer thighs. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so the less body fat you have, the more weight you will lose during a workout. Gender also plays a role since men and women tone up and lose weight differently during aerobic activity such as a stationary bike.
Women normally have around ten percent more body fat than men, so gaining muscle is that much more important for women to lose weight and look slimmer. They also have less testosterone, which helps build muscle. So, women can use a stationary bike and not worry about bulking up at a low resistance while toning up the body.
So, the lack of testosterone means a woman can add a little resistance and gain muscle, but not as much as a man with more testosterone. In fact, women will lose fat from their lower body when they use a stationary bike often, which means your thighs will begin to look smaller.
Both women and men should also cross-train if they are worried about bulking up their thighs. Exercises such as walking, running, or swimming are a perfect alternative to stationary biking because they work different muscles. You can use the stationary bike three to four days a week and then fill in the other days with a different workout.
If you want to begin a stationary bike workout but are worried about larger thighs, limit the resistance on the bike and ride it for a long period at a moderate intensity. You will lose weight over time when combined with a healthy diet so that you can burn the calories to reach that 3,500-target number. Your thighs will get smaller, not larger.
The bottom line is, stationary biking will make your thighs smaller, not larger, over time if you keep the resistance low and workout consistently. You will burn calories, strengthen your heart, and look and feel more fit over time.