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Can Cycling Replace Leg Day? (Is Cycling Enough For Legs?)

If you’re wondering whether cycling can replace leg day, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we cover whether cycling can replace leg day, whether you should train legs if you cycle, the best form of cycling to develop your legs, and more!

Can Cycling Replace Leg Day?

While cycling provides many of the same benefits as leg day, cycling won’t develop your leg muscles as much as training legs. So, you should still do leg day if you want to build your legs.

group of cyclists

3 Reasons Why Cycling Can Replace Leg Day

Cycling Burns A Ton Of Calories

Your legs are the biggest muscle group so that when you exercise them, you burn more energy (calories) than if you were training a smaller muscle group, like arms.

Also, many leg exercises, like squats, train other muscle groups too, like your abs.

So one of the top benefits of leg day is that it burns many calories.

Similarly, cycling is a great way to burn calories.

Because like leg day, it involves exercising the biggest muscle group.

(It’s estimated that a 5-mile bike ride can burn up to 357 calories!)

So if the main reason you do leg day is to burn a ton of calories, then cycling is a great alternative.

Cycling Works Your Lower Abs

The key to building six pack abs is having low levels of body fat and well-developed ab muscles.

Leg day helps you build abs by working on both these factors.

It helps you lose body fat by burning a ton of calories.

And it helps you build your abs by indirectly training them with compound exercises like squats.

Well, the great news is that cycling also helps build abs.

As covered earlier, it burns a ton of calories which helps you lose body fat.

And the cycling motion helps work out your lower abs to develop your ab muscles.

So if you train legs because you want a dazzling six pack, then feel free to cycle instead.

Cycling Is A Good Form Of Cardio

Leg day is an excellent form of cardio.

Why?

Well, cardio (cardiovascular exercise) is any form of exercise that works the heart muscles.

And if you’ve ever done leg day, you’ll know just how much your heart pounds after a gruelling set of squats.

Similarly, cycling is another excellent form of cardio as it gets your heart rate up.

So if you train your legs to help improve your cardio fitness, then cycling is a suitable alternative.

Reasons Why Cycling Can’t Replace Leg Day

Cycling Is Repetitive

A benefit of leg day is that it targets your leg muscles from many different angles.

For example, squats work your leg muscles differently to lunges, which work your leg muscles differently to leg extensions.

As a result, you’re training as many muscle fibres as possible, which helps you build and develop your leg muscles.

Whereas with cycling, you only perform one movement which is repeated over and over again.

This means you’re not training as many muscle fibres, and so it’s harder to build strong, muscular legs purely from cycling.

Cycling Is Limited Resistance

Another drawback of cycling is that the resistance on your leg muscles is limited.

When training legs in the gym, it’s super easy to add extra resistance – you just need to increase the weight.

But the same can’t be said for cycling – you’re limited to the resistance of the highest gear.

Since increasing the resistance over time is key to building bigger and stronger legs, you’re limited to how much muscle you gain solely from cycling.

Can You Do Peloton Instead Of Leg Day?

peloton bike

Again, this boils down to the benefits you want to see from leg day.

If you’re doing leg day to burn calories and improve your cardio fitness, then Peloton would be a suitable replacement.

Whereas if you’re doing leg day to get bigger and stronger legs, then Peloton may not do the trick.

Should You Train Legs If You Cycle?

If you want to build a more balanced physique, and have bigger leg muscles, then you should definitely train legs if you cycle.

Whereas if you’re not too fussed about having big leg muscles and do leg day for other reasons (burn lots of calories and improve your cardio health), then you can skip leg day.

That said, you should always aim for a balanced physique, as if your legs are lagging behind your upper body, you’re more susceptible to injury.

The Best Type Of Cycling To Replace Leg Day

So…

You’ve decided that you’re gonna skip leg day and do cycling instead.

But what’s the best type of cycling to replace leg day?

Well, you want to focus on cycling that puts the most resistance on your leg muscles.

(This means you get as many of the same benefits of leg day as possible.)

So, you ought to focus on cycling somewhere that has an incline slope.

In other words, you want to cycle uphill as this means you’re cycling against gravity which puts more resistance on your legs.

Conclusion

In summary:

  • Depending on your goals, cycling can replace leg day.
  • If you want to burn a lot of calories, develop your lower abs, and improve your cardiovascular system, then cycling would make a good replacement to leg day.
  • If you want to build and develop your leg muscles, cycling wouldn’t be a sufficient replacement for leg day.

Hope this helped!

Jay Singh

Tuesday 29th of March 2022

Great article, you read my mind. I have a pinched nerve in my lower back which causes pain and numbness in my left leg so although I do Romanian deadlift without a issue I can't do squats, but I suppose its better then not doing nothing and I add my commute to work and back which is about a total of 1hr 3 times a week