Cycling will not give you a bigger butt, but it may give you a more shapely one due to its cardio and muscle-building benefits. Cycling works your legs and glutes, especially when you are climbing, but it does not last long enough or provide enough resistance to build big muscles.
Overall, cardio activity such as cycling will be better at burning fat surrounding your glute muscles than it will be at making your butt bigger. However, if you ride regularly at a challenging speed and resistance, you will likely see a stronger tush — and the health benefits that go with it, including less hip, knee and ankle pain.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends doing 150 to 300 minutes weekly of moderately intense cardio, and cycling falls right into that category. But nowhere in the guidelines does it mention getting a bubble butt from riding your bike.
Cycling will not give you a bigger butt — but it will burn fat and give you a more shapely one.
Read more: Which Muscles Are Used When Riding a Bike?
Cycling is often seen as a form of high-intensity endurance training, especially if you are taking an indoor cycling class or cycling outdoors on hilly terrain. The up-and-down interval-like ride is the most efficient form of cardio in terms of burning fat and speeding up your metabolism, says ACE Fitness. While your muscles have to work harder during the course of your ride, the difference you see will be in terms of fat loss rather than muscle gains.
Do You Gain More Muscle?
Muscle is built when enough stress is placed on that muscle, such as with weightlifting. The stress tears the muscle and, as the muscle repairs itself, it grows stronger and larger.
Unfortunately, cycling does not place enough load on your glutes to cause hypertrophy, or muscle growth. In fact, too much cardio can actually hamper muscle gains by slowing recovery and burning up calories that your body needs to build muscle.
Climbing a Hill
When cycling, climbing is the time when you will feel your butt kick into high gear, says Brian Mac Sports Coach. Your legs need to access their power to push you up the hill. Yet most climbs only last a matter of minutes, which is not near long enough to build big, bulky butt muscles. While climbing will make your legs and butt stronger, strength doesn't always come across in size.
Take a Break
It's regularly recommended to take a rest day or two between strength-training sessions because the muscles have to recover, says Harvard Health Publishing. However, recovering from high-intensity cardio like cycling is also necessary. Your glute muscles will be getting stronger and more shapely as you ride, but rest time will need to be incorporated to recover and prepare for your next ride. Take a day in between vigorous rides to rest your muscles. Also, mix up your types of rides. Take a flat course one day and rugged, hilly terrain the next time you ride.