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Cycling - Will I get big legs and how fast should I pedal?

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Jez99
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2006/07/11 12:55:10 (permalink)

Cycling - Will I get big legs and how fast should I pedal?

Hey all!

I have a few questions regarding cycling:

1. If ive just started cycling 20 miles a day at a medium pace (flat-ish ground, 60-70% max heart rate, slightly out of breath etc) will my legs get bigger, will they stay the same size and just get better at endurance, or will they even get smaller?

I have trouble fitting jeans around the thighs as it is, I really dont want my legs to get any bigger. Im on a cutting diet, 17% body fat, 12stone 10 pounds, 5'8", loosing 1-2lbs per week.

2. For cardio work should I use a high gear (hard to pedal) and pedal slow, or a low gear (easy to pedal) and pedal fast, or does it not matter what I do as long as my heart rate is around 60-70% of my maximum?

3. What are your thoughts generally on using cycling as your main form of cardio for cutting?

Thanks!
Jez.
post edited by Jez99 - 2006/07/11 12:56:08
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3 Replies Related Threads

    gangboy
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    RE: Cycling - Will I get big legs and how fast should I pedal? 2006/07/11 16:33:53 (permalink)
    I can't answer your Q on development of your legs as I am not fully sure, although over the course of 5 years mine have developed a fair bit, particularly with speed/interval training.

    You will find that a lot of leisurely cyclists operate at a cadence of around 50-60. On level terrain I would always try and conciously keep my cadence between 80-100, sometimes increasing above on climbs. If you operate around 80rpm as opposed to 50-60 you will notice a difference.

    Have a look at this website:

    http://www.cptips.com/toc.htm

    Full of a lot of useful info and it certainly has helped me.
    #2
    gingernut
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    RE: Cycling - Will I get big legs and how fast should I pedal? 2006/07/11 16:55:50 (permalink)
    I have used cycling for years to keep fit, as a runner and to cut up as a bb'er.

    Cycling is good for overall leg development, esp around the knee but if you are lifting then cycling is purely used as a form of cardio. Aim for a lowish gear and steady cadence (pedalling), i.e. don't go racing off then suffer later, also don't use too big a gear - there is no need and you will just hurt your knees.

    Make sure your saddle is the right height - the height they tell you in most popular cycle shops and hire places is too low. This can cause back and knee problems as well as affect comfort and limit your speed (and we all like to look good and go fast!).Your leg have a slight bend in it when the middle of your foot in on the pedal, and you will be on your tiptoe to the ground.

    Cycling at steady pace is good for general cardio conditioning and can strengthen the knees. I find after 4-6 weeks of cycling 40 - 60 mins 5 x a week my legs lean up well but that's along with good diet.
    #3
    tokar
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    RE: Cycling - Will I get big legs and how fast should I pedal? 2006/07/14 00:31:02 (permalink)

    Hey all!

    I have a few questions regarding cycling:

    1. If ive just started cycling 20 miles a day at a medium pace (flat-ish ground, 60-70% max heart rate, slightly out of breath etc) will my legs get bigger, will they stay the same size and just get better at endurance, or will they even get smaller?


    They will probably get smaller. You must have a fair bit of fat on them so as you lose weight you will lose fat from them and you certainly won't gain any muscular size from 20 miles of cycling a day.


    2. For cardio work should I use a high gear (hard to pedal) and pedal slow, or a low gear (easy to pedal) and pedal fast, or does it not matter what I do as long as my heart rate is around 60-70% of my maximum?


    To the first question - it doesn't matter much; and to the second: it also doesn't matter much. If you use a very high gear you won't be able to sustain a sufficient power output to be able to do long distances, ie distances which are sufficient for cardiovascular exercise and fat loss. So not too high a gear.

    But also, don't be overly fussy about sticking to 60-70% of your max heart rate. Although this is often called the "fat burning zone" because in this zone your body preferentially burns fat for fuel, nonetheless at higher %s of MHR, you will burn more calories overall and possibly even more fat calories in absolute terms. The best bet is to vary what you do - especially if you're cycling every day. A couple of days you might do 20mins @ 80-85%MHR; on another you might to 45mins @ 65%MHR.


    3. What are your thoughts generally on using cycling as your main form of cardio for cutting?


    It's a very good choice.
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