Is Cycling a Full Body Workout? (ANALYSIS)

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The Short Answer

Cycling primarily targets leg and trunk muscles, but it can provide a full body workout when riding out of the saddle or engaging in intense efforts. It can fix your body in 6 ways: It offers cardiovascular exercise, promotes weight management, fat loss, improves mood, reduces stress, and benefits overall physical and mental health.

We all know and appreciate that exercising is an important aspect of a balanced and healthy lifestyle, but for many of us, finding the energy and time, on top of work and life commitments, to exercise regularly can be a chore in itself.

That’s why so many people find commuting to work by bike a brilliant way to incorporate exercise into their daily routine without it taking any real time away from their busy schedule. 

What Muscle Does a Bicycle Work?

The muscles most at work while riding a bike are leg and trunk (core and back) muscles. Legs muscles predominantly in use while riding a bike hey, who’d have known?

All jokes aside, it’s important to note that although these are the muscles most often at work, at times cycling is and can be a full body workout. For example, when riding out of the saddle, climbing, or sprinting, your body also uses your arms.

However, arm muscles don’t get the same workout from riding a bike as legs do. That’s why you often see cyclists who ride a lot with toned and muscular legs but fairly slim arms. In other words, everyday is leg day.

More so, if you ride to work and wear a backpack then you give your trunk muscles an even better workout as the weight of your possessions adds to your overall weight. Meaning, more watts are needed to ride at the same speed.

What Does Riding a Bike Do For Your Body?

Riding a bike does a lot for your body, both physically and psychologically. First and foremost, cycling of any kind, whether that be specific training or commuting to work, is a great cardiovascular workout. 

This is because the physical demands of riding a bike means that you work your body, most notably your legs and cardiovascular system, a lot; sometimes without even really realising it thanks to cycling being so fun. 

Similarly, regular exercise, such as riding a bike, will also help you to manage your weight in a healthy way as well as potentially promote fat loss. This is of course because any physical exercise increases the amount of calories burnt in a day. Then pair this with adequate calories in, and it can be a great tool.

Additionally, riding a bike is also fantastic for your mental health as it can help improve your mood as well as reduce stress levels. This benefit is thanks to exercise leading to a release of endorphins (feel good chemicals) in your brain. Thus, making you feel happier. 

Therefore, picking up your bike and riding to work could help promote weight loss and both reduce your risk of cardiovascular illness, as well as help fight depression and low mood. What’s not to love about that?

Cycling Body Transformation: Female

Cycling can be a great way for women to exercise or get around. As a physical activity it offers numerous health benefits, both physical and psychological, as well as being a great way to get in shape if aesthetics is what you’re focused on.

In a physical sense cycling can be a great way for women to maintain a healthy body weight as well as gain and tone muscles. Mainly benefitting the legs and trunk muscles. Fat loss can also be another benefit women can see from riding a bike regularly alongside adequate eating.

Also, cycling can offer a great outlet to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing thanks to the endorphins released while riding a bike. This can help overall health both mentally and physically. 

In addition to all of these benefits, riding a bike can also be a great way to exercise when menstruating if you suffer with period pain. This is because light exercise has been found to reduce the pain from period cramps. Although, I appreciate a bike won’t be the first thing you reach for when they set in…

Cycling Body Transformation: Male

Similarly, the transformation and benefits male’s can attain from cycling both range from physical as well as psychological. Aesthetically, cycling can also help to change your body composition, if that’s what you’re looking for. 

Likewise, physically cycling can be a great way for men to maintain a healthy body weight as well as gain and tone muscles. Mainly benefitting the legs and trunk muscles. Fat loss can also be another benefit men can see from riding a bike regularly alongside adequate eating.

Additionally, cycling is a great way for men, as well as anyone, to improve their mood and mental health. This is because physical activity helps the brain to release endorphins. Not to mention, cycling is also a great way to get out and enjoy nature as well as socialise. Both of which can contribute towards an improved wellbeing. 

Does Cycling Give You a Full Body Workout?

Overall, cycling does give you a full body workout to some degree. Especially if you are riding out of the saddle, climbing or riding particularly hard, therefore putting a greater demand on your body.

It’s especially good, as previously mentioned, if you wanted to get your daily exercise in while riding to work as it doubles up as your transportation. Walking is also another good option if you were wanting to get to work in a more beneficial way health wise.

But, all in all cycling is a great form of exercise that is both fun and can offer a full body workout. Therefore, it’s a really great hobby to pick or, alternative mode of transport.

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