One particular workout that has garnered rather split opinions is, of course, the leg workout. There are some people that absolutely love the challenge it poses, while others simply loathe it and avoid it.
So, to cater to the people who dislike it, and maybe decide once and for all – can cycling fully replace a leg day workout, while also tackling the question whether you should train your legs if you cycle, the best forms of cycling and more right here in this article!
So here’s whether cycling can replace a leg workout
The short answer is, yes, cycling can build your legs to an extent. However, while cycling provides many of the same benefits as a leg workout does, strictly cycling won’t develop your leg muscles as much as training your legs specifically will, and won’t build the same size. Judging by that, you should still definitely do leg days if you want to have jacked leg muscles.
3 reasons why cycling can replace leg workouts
Cycling does burn a lot of calories.
As your legs are the biggest muscle group on your body when you exercise those parts, you actually burn more energy, aka. calories, than if you were training a smaller group, for example your arms.
Additionally, many of the exercises meant for your legs such as squats, also train your other muscle groups too, like the abs for example.
Basically, one of the biggest benefits you can get from a leg workout specifically is that you burn a lot of calories. Similar to that, cycling is also a great way of burning a lot of calories efficiently, because, like leg day, it involves exercising the biggest muscle group!
So, by estimating, a 5 mile bike ride can burn up to around 357 calories, so if the main reason you do leg workouts is to just burn a lot of calories, you can swap that out with cycling since it’s an easier but still efficient approach.
Cycling works out your lower abs as well!
One of the crucial things that are needed to build a rocking six pack is to have low levels of body fat and already well developed ab muscles, and we can’t do that by lazing around now can we?
Besides the dedicated day for your core and upper body muscles, a leg workout also trains your abs, and works on both of the aforementioned factors.
Like we said, it helps you lose that pesky body fat by burning a lot of calories, while additionally helping you to build your lower ab muscles by technically indirectly training them with compound exercises such as squats. However, we are talking about cycling and its benefits here, and fortunately, cycling can also help you build abs!
We mentioned before that cycling helps you burn a lot of calories, which in turn makes you shed that body fat, additionally the cycling motion you will be doing helps to work out your lower abs to develop ab muscles.
Basically if you only do leg day to have a rocking six pack, you can switch to cycling, it works just as well.
It’s another good form of cardio.
We know that training our legs at the gym is an amazing form of cardio, but why is that so?
To answer simply, cardio, or cardiovascular exercise, is any form of exercise that works the heart muscles, and if you have ever done a leg day before, then you will know exactly how much your heart is pounding after a few sets of exhausting squats.
So, if you want to subtract that exhaustion and dread, cycling is a great alternative as it also gets your heart rate just as up as leg day!
We have talked about how great of an alternative cycling is to leg day, but as with everything it does come with its set of flaws.
Here are some reasons why cycling simply can’t replace a leg workout as a whole
Cycling can become repetitive after some time
One benefit of doing leg day is that it targets your leg muscles from various different angles, take for example – squats are an exercise meant to work out your leg muscles but they vary quite a bit from lunges which work the leg muscles differently to leg extensions, and so on and so forth.
So, as a result of that, you are training as many muscle fibres as you can, which then helps you to build and develop your leg muscles. But when it comes to cycling, you ultimately only perform one movement and repeat it over and over and over again.
That means, that not only are you training way more muscle fibres with a leg work out compared to cycling, but it is also a more efficient way to build strong and muscular legs.
Cycling means limited resistance
Another flaw of cycling is the fact that the resistance posed on your leg muscles is quite limited. What that means is that compared to when you are training your legs at the gym, when it is quite easy to add that extra resistance via weight increase, cycling lacks that quality.
And since increasing the resistance over a period of time is the crucial thing to build bigger and more muscular legs, then you are severely limited to how much muscle you can gain from solely cycling your days away.
Question: Can doing peloton be an alternative to a leg workout ?
This, once again comes down to the benefits you want to get out of leg day. If the only thing you want out of leg day is to burn calories and improve your overall cardio fitness, then Peloton would be a great alternative to it. Meanwhile if the thing you want is bigger and more muscular legs, then Peloton isn’t quite your best choice for the job.
Additionally to cycling, should you train your legs on the side?
If you want to build a more balanced physique with bigger leg muscles, then the answer to that question is yes, you should definitely train your legs if you cycle.
However, if you are not focused as much on having bigger and stronger leg muscles and do leg days for completely other reasons, such as burning a lot of calories and improving your cardio health, then you can comfortably skip leg day and carry on cycling.
With all of that said, it is recommended that you should always aim for a balanced physique, and not let your legs lag behind your upper body and vice versa, since you’re much more at risk of injury if that is the case.
Here is the best type of cycling to replace a leg day workout
So, you have decided to skip leg day in favor of cycling a couple miles or more, then you should definitely know what type of cycling is the best one that can replace leg day.
To replace a leg day workout to the max extent as possible, then you should focus on cycling that puts the most resistance on your leg muscles, this means that you get as many of the benefits that leg day provides.
As a result, you should focus more on cycling somewhere that has an incline slope. That means that by cycling uphill is that you are virtually cycling against gravity which puts more resistance on your legs.
In conclusion, and in a way to wrap things up, it is crystal clear that you can get many of the benefits of a leg workout solely by cycling (in the correct way of course).
But, if you want to strictly build your leg muscles, then you should definitely not skip leg day. Although a good compromise, for those that don’t particularly like doing a leg workout, is a healthy alternate between the former and cycling! Get the best of both worlds in a fun way.