15 Reasons That Cycling Doesn’t Make Your Bum Flat


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Do you look at your butt in the mirror after cycling to make sure it hasn’t shrunk or looks a bit flatter than it did before? If you do, you’re not alone! This strange ‘cycling makes your butt smaller’ myth has been around since the dinosaurs (well, almost, right?)

But is there any truth in it? Does cycling make your bum flat?

Cycling can be effective at building some muscle in the glute area. However, it is primarily effective at toning your butt rather than building large-scale muscle. It is highly unlikely that a person’s butt would look flatter through cycling – rather a more appealing, toned shape, and possibly bigger.

So cycling is highly unlikely to give you a flat bum! But it’s not the best way of growing a giant bubble butt either.

There’s quite a few things to know about if this is a priority of yours. In this post, I’ll look at 15 facts and reasons all linked the idea of why cycling doesn’t make your bum flat.

Reasons cycling doesn't make your bum flat

1. Cycling Reduces Fat Deposits

Although this may be the case at first glance, cycling has been shown by specialists to improve your posterior by reducing fat deposits in that area.

This is probably the most important impact of cycling on your posterior – cycling will make your rear seem nicer by toning those butt muscles, so there’s no need to worry about getting a flat bottom from it.

It’s effective for shaping your butt by reducing fat storage there. According to experts, cycling does not reduce butt size but rather improves its look.

And that’s great news all round? Yeah?

2. The Glutes Are The Engine Room Of Cycling

There are four main muscle groups that are activated and strengthened in cycling. These are:

  • The quadriceps
  • The hamstrings
  • The calves
  • the glutes

And which of these is the primary driver of the whole engine? You guessed it – the glutes! In fact, cycling is one of certainly the best handful of cardio exercises for the glutes in existence.

And, to an extent, cycling acts like weight lifting in miniature form. The glutes are continually creating a force against the resistance of the pedals.

This will not build muscle as fast as lifting weights, but there will be some muscle build-up.

Here is a range of common cardio exercises and how much each develops the glutes:

ExerciseLow Level of glutes workoutMedium Level of glutes workoutHigh level of glutes workout
CyclingX
WalkingX
EllipticalX
SwimmingX
Stair MasterX
YogaX
RowingX

3. Anatomy of Your Butt

Your butt is composed of the three gluteal muscles. One of these does the majority of the work in cycling while the others do less so. This is one of the reasons why cycling is not the optimal exercise for glute development (although it does develop it to an extent).

Here is a rundown of the muscles:

The gluteus maximus is responsible for extending your leg beyond your hip, such as when you swing your leg back behind your body or when you push through from a flexed to a straight posture, as in a squat.

Your butt also consists of the gluteus medius and minimus, which are primarily engaged during lateral rotation – abduction and adduction – with relation to the body’s midline.

Bicycle pedaling doesn’t need considerable use of these muscles since it doesn’t require any significant lateral rotation.

4. Cycling is Not the Reason for a Flat Butt – But These Are

Here are some of the most prevalent reasons for a flat bum to debunk the myth:

  • Excessive body fat
  • Not squatting or performing other butt-toning workouts sufficiently
  • Deficiencies in protein intake
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of fluid intake
  • Advancing age. Muscle mass declines along with aging, and so does the body’s metabolic rate. Because of this, your butt may get smaller and less firm.

Cycling actually works to counteract several of these issues. Of course, it is no silver bullet – but it certainly will have an impact.

Let’s take sleep, for example. Several studies have demonstrated the positive impact cycling has on sleep.

The same is true of excessive body fat.

Even though cycling may not be actively increasing the size of your butt (even though it probably will be), it will be counteracting some of the negative forces that are trying to give you a flat bum!

5. Cycling as Cardio and Butt Sculptor

Because of its cardiovascular and muscle-building effects, cycling is an effective way to sculpt your posterior.

Working your glutes + getting your heart beating = sculpted posterior

The cardiovascular element is important! Cycling gets your heart beating faster, which directly helps in reducing the fat that collects around the glutes. Rear ‘aesthetics’ will improve as a result of this since the extra fat will be gone.

If you are still wondering, the answer is no, this won’t flatten your behind, but it will tone it a little.

And now for some pro tips…

If you want to improve your butt shape by cycling, I suggest that you should cycle often and continuously.

You need to push your body by increasing the bike’s resistance and pace. Gaining strength in your behind is only one of the many health advantages you may get from doing this.

In a nutshell, the four priorities to increase butt health through cycling are:

  • Pick up the pace
  • Pick up the resistance
  • Cycle often
  • Stick to a schedul

6. Improve Your Cycling Posture To Improve Your Butt

What you are learning about the effects of cycling on your derriere should motivate you to learn how to maximize those benefits.

Here’s how to optimize the effects on your butt:

Step 1

The first step of every cycling training is to fine-tune the bike. If you want to get the most out of your bum exercise while cycling, you need to ride correctly.

Make sure your legs are in the right place and your glutes are engaged by correcting your bike seat when you begin.

It’s not hard to see that, as with squats, bending your knees to an angle close to 90 ° is ideal for working your buttocks. When you put your foot down on the pedal, you’re working the same muscles as in a single-leg squat – the glutes.

If your seat is adjusted such that you have to pedal with your knees too high, you will develop discomfort or pain. Another tip is to raise the handlebars so that your chest is held in a more vertical posture, which shifts more of the weight to your buttocks.

Step 2

Change up your cycling routine by going from a completely sitting to a fully standing posture.

The combination of these two actions is extremely beneficial to the buttocks, as is squeezing the buttock cheeks when jumping the bike.

Step 3

Resistance is also important to get the most out of your riding session. It controls the rate at which you will burn fat and the degree to which your derriere will tone up.

7. Cycle Alongside Weight Lifting

If you really are paranoid about cycling making your bum flat (clue – it isn’t), then why not at least try cycling alongside a targeted weight-lifting schedule that is focused on adding muscle mass to your buttock-area.

Some excellent glute strengthening exercises include:

  • Back squat
  • Front squat
  • Barbell hip thrusts
  • Bulgarian split squat
  • Deadlift

Doing some of these twice a week, alongside your regular cycling, gives you the best of both worlds.

Here’s an excellent youtube video that demonstrates four simple exercises to use to grow your glutes:

8. Watch Out For Sore Quads!

If you do have undeveloped glutes, you might find this out in a surprising way!

The fact is, it’s not just the glutes that are worked by cycling!

The extension of the hip joint required to pedal does work the gluteus maximus, so that’s excellent news.

However, the butt muscles of the vast majority of individuals aren’t as effective as they might be because of their underdeveloped glutes. Muscles other than the glutes (such as the quadriceps) take over when the glutes become sedentary. This is why a lot of cyclists report hurting their quadriceps but never their butts.

So, if you ever feel pain in the quads (which is pretty common), then that could be sign you need to work on your glutes (see some of the exercises above).

9. Cycling Is an Effective Way to Reduce Body Fat

One of the reasons that cycling has additional benefits for butt tone is that it can create a reduction in overall body fat.

There is a greater caloric expenditure when cycling than at rest. As a result, you will have a better chance of losing weight and a more even distribution of the fat that you possess.

The hips, thighs, and buttocks are common trouble spots for excess fat.

So, you can aid in the reduction of fat in these regions by frequently riding. Many women, in particular, will lose fat in the buttock area first before they lose fat in other areas.

10. Cycling Boosts Metabolism

Cycling sessions are a great way to work on your endurance.

Your metabolism will boost when you cycle at high and low intensities, either on an indoor trainer or outdoors.

An increase in metabolism will instigate fat burning throughout your body. Your butt will change for the better as you lose weight.

11. HIIT Training Integrated Into Your Sessions

One way to up the level of glute action is to integrate a level of HIIT into your cycling sessions.

For example, if you’re using a stationary bike, try intervals of cycling at different speeds or resistances.

This will also happen naturally if you cycle over a landscape of natural variety, with hills and troughs, and other obstacles.

12. Extreme Cardio Can Be Bad For Your Butt

Here’s a warning!

It’s unlikely to ever get to this point, but intense cardio, so I’ve heard, may be harmful to your posterior if you overdo it.

Note that your butt musculature is responsible for a large percentage of your butt’s shape, so if you have a fast metabolism and find it difficult to acquire muscle, doing a lot of exercises may be counterproductive.

If your butt is a high priority, and you have very little body fat or muscle on you, then cardio is not the way to go to increase your butt size. You will a much higher calorie intake, and targeted weight work.

13. Hill Cycling To Maximize Butt Growth!

There is one type of cycling that stands head and shoulders above the others if you want to grow your butt.

Building up the size of your butt muscles is essential if you want a larger butt, and this usually entails utilizing a lot of weight as resistance. This high resistance may, fortunately, be provided by…

riding up hills.

Going up hills provides many times more resistance to work against. Also, this can be simulated indoors on a stationary bike by just upping the resistance.

Going up hills also forces you to stand up out of the saddle, and this adds body weight force to the action on your glutes.

Also, the type of terrain you ride on will impact what happens to your glutes. Very rough or uneven ground, with lots of ups and downs, will require much more effort on the part of the glutes.

14. Consistency Is The Secret To Toning

Consistency is the name of the game when butt transformation is involved.

There is research that shows that consistently sticking to an exercise schedule will outperform a more sporadic schedule, even if the level of exercise is the same in both.

So try the following:

  • Stick to a realistic schedule
  • Cycle for practical reasons if you can (i.e. going to the store, or commuting to work)
  • Try to motivate yourself to cycle on the days when you can’t be bothered. This will make you have fewer of these days in future

15. Better Butt And Better Life

There has been a rise in the prevalence of sedentary lifestyles recently. At work, at home, and even during leisure time, people are sitting for increasingly lengthy periods.

This inactivity is the leading cause of a flat bottom and is linked to a host of other health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

It is no secret that consistent physical activity is essential for good health.

The negative health impacts of inactivity may be mitigated by cycling. The mild stress on the joints makes cycling a great form of exercise.

Weight loss and lower-body toning are among two of cycling’s many benefits.

Bicycling accomplishes this goal in two ways: first, by increasing muscle growth, and second, by decreasing fat formation over the whole region impacted by riding (including your stomach).

Martin Williams

Martin has been tearing up all sorts of trails on a range of bikes ever since he was young. He once cycled across France, and once fell into a canal on a hybrid. He writes about everything to do with cycling on our site. You can find out more about him at bicycle2work.com/about-martin-williams/

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