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Cycle steep hills all day to build a bigger butt.
Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
The shape and size of your butt is determined partly by your genetics -- and if you're naturally lean and lithe, growing a big booty is likely impossible. However, exercises that work your glutes will help shape and tone the muscles in your butt and, yes, help add some volume. Cycling does work your glutes, and can help tone your backside, but to see serious benefits you'll need to do weight training too.
Using Your Glutes
Cycling uses your glutes as you push down on the pedal. Whether you ride a road bike, upright stationary bike or a recumbent bicycle, your glutes contract to extend your hip. The recumbent bike targets the glutes more than an upright bike as each push against the pedal is similar to a mini-leg press. When cycling outdoors, you cannot control the resistance, unless you carefully plan your route to avoid steep inclines in the terrain. On a stationary bike you are in complete control of the resistance intensity you push against.
Low Resistance Limits Your Gains
It is the intensity of the resistance that challenges your glutes. If you think of a bodybuilder who uses heavy amounts of weight during squats and lunges, you can see the butt-building effects of the exercises. When you cycle, chances are you will not use an intensity-heavy resistance level for a prolonged period of time. This is the only way your glutes will get bigger from cycling. Otherwise, cycling is a calorie-burning, muscle-toning exercise.
However, You May Tone Up
You may notice changes to the shape of your butt when you begin a cycling workout. These changes are due to the new ways in which you are using the muscles of your glutes. You are toning and tightening the glutes at the same time you're burning fat from over top of the muscle. If the fat-burning process is not proceeding as fast as the muscle-building benefits, you may feel as if your butt is getting bigger. Continue your healthy eating and exercise program and your bum should slim down and tone up.
If a bigger butt is your goal, select routes that contain many steep inclines, or set your indoor rides to a heavy resistance level. Push through your heel as you press down the pedal to target the glutes. Cycle recovery intervals in which you lower the resistance or cycle on flat roads to rest the glutes for one to two minutes before you return to the climbs. Continue the pattern of hills and flat roads for the total duration of your 30- to 60-minute workout.