Cycling Myths That Are Actually Kind of True: You Can Spot Tone

Have you looked at a cyclist’s legs? Strong, chiseled quads and calves are the hallmark of the sport.

    Photo: Ant Clausen/Shutterstock

Everyone tells you that spot toning isn’t possible, likely because of all the folks flopping up and down on the floor trying to whittle away their middle. But have you looked at a cyclist’s legs? Strong, chiseled quads and calves are the hallmark of the sport. Heck, the New York Times even did a feature on how competitive riders can’t find pants that fit because of their small waists and powerful thighs and glutes. The reality is this: Cyclists turn the pedals about 90 revolutions per minute—that’s 5,400 times an hour—using their quads and glutes to do the work. All that spinning also sheds fat—from all over. The end result is rock solid sculpted legs with the signature bulge over the knee.

To maximize cycling’s toning potential, head to the hills. Fighting gravity forces you to push down on the pedals with all your might, which triggers the same physiological adaptations and muscle building as resistance training. Full throttle sprints—hammering as hard as you can for 30 seconds and recovering for a minute (repeating 10 times) will also fry fat and build lean muscle for great legs.

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