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Fitness Myth: Spinning Makes Legs Bulky

I was talking to a friend recently about ways to rev up her cardio routine as she was getting bored with her elliptical/treadmill rotation. I suggested she take a spinning class but she rapidly replied, "Oh no way, I don't want my legs to get all big and bulky."

I completely understand why anyone would feel that spinning will make their legs bulk up since you are primarily working your legs the whole time, but the truth is it won't. Spinning is all about increasing and decreasing resistance while increasing and decreasing speed — there is no component of it that is geared at bulking up your legs. In fact it's quite the contrary, since the quick rotations will leave your thighs and calves lean and sculpted. Don't believe me? Next time you pass an avid biker on the road check out her (or his) legs. I'd be willing to bet they're lean and toned.

If you want to try it out, be sure to look for a free spinning class near you.


Join The Conversation
lilmama1 lilmama1 5 years
I'm so happy to have found this post. I have lost 76 pounds doing bootcamp and training for a marathon, and broke my foot, so can't do either right now. The doctor says the one thing I can do is stationary bike, and while I can't do a spin class (no "out of the saddle" activity) I can sit and cycle. I'm feeling a little less depressed now after reading all these posts, who knows, maybe I'll come away with leaner legs than what I started with! I still have 15 pounds to go, so here's to the bike!
bronzebeauty719 bronzebeauty719 9 years
Im sorry but i think it has to do with each woman's composition if you naturally you have thin legs then you wont bulk up but even at 100 pounds rather than lenghthen my muscular legs spinning bulked them up. Cant really say about running because i havent done it much but when i did for a bit last summer my sister told me i looked bigger in my bottom half. so yes it helps loose weight overall but it depends on what you need. I do plan on trying to run again as soon as the weather permits in boston.
behemoth_the_cat behemoth_the_cat 9 years
that's not true!!!! i recently got a bike and now use it to get to university and around town, and though it has many benefits (like saving a lot of money that used to go towards public transportation, making the world greener, and providing me with at least 20 min cardio excercise a day), it has made my legs so much bulkier that i went up a pant size! :(
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
All this comments really inspire me to check out a spinning class now! I haven't been really interested in biking to begin with, but a little variety wouldn't hurt. Besides I'll try anything to help lean out my legs!
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
Yep. Nothing changes my body like Spinning- it makes me so much leaner. My favorite workout!
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years
Yea Ive never seen a "bulky" female come out of the spinning classes at my gym. Everyone is nice, lean and sweaty. Spinning is SO intense, I have not build up enough courage to take a class yet.
kungfubunni kungfubunni 9 years
*say* whoops!
kungfubunni kungfubunni 9 years
I guess I want to add my two-cents and sat spinning is great! It helped me drop 15 lbs over about a year. I did yoga and stuff too, but I think most of the weight loss I have to attribute to SPIN!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 9 years
I bike out on the levees here in the South Bay and the varying wind resistance is awesome. I usually do about 8-10 miles when I ride. A couple weeks after I noticed my legs leaner and my stamina stronger. I also take a spin class with my girlfriend and we have definetly noticed even greater improvements in our legs. No bulk, more tone. Her boyfriend was a cyclist and in her words "cyclists have awesome legs and butts".
esk4 esk4 9 years
yes berlin... some women do bulk, I can say this because I do infact bulk... not as fast as a man ofcourse, but it ahppens
Kate14909563 Kate14909563 9 years
my legs never ever look as amazing as they do when I am spinning regularly!
pandacn pandacn 9 years
I love spinning! It's a great cardio workout and is excellent training for climbing out in the real world. I'm short and have fat calves to begin with, but even I can see myself getting toner and leaner legs after I've taken up biking and spinning! My only concern is how it my affect my running...
Berlin Berlin 9 years
Correction Lintacious...MOST Women's musces cannot get bulky, especially without the aid of such, ekhem, supplements. But there are women who do have enough testosterone that will make them bulk up more than the average gal, though it certainly isn't as common, but it is a possibility:)
lintacious lintacious 9 years
sigh. women's muscles cannot get bulky, period.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I remember the days of spin class, my butt hurt so much-just thinking about it makes me ache. Ha. :)
Bettyesque Bettyesque 9 years
Cycling does nothing of the sort! I dont spin but I recently bought a road bike ... my baby fugi. Too me it is one of the best forms of exercise. I see a remarkable difference in my legs and bulk is not it! It slims and tones your legs and if done regularly the changes are obvious. Furthermore, women to not have the testosterone to "bulk up". I weight train and work out frequently for over a year now and it hasnt happened. I have lost over 100 lbs and the more muscle you have the more fat you burn.. that is FACT. I worked in this field and its extremely frustrating to here that from women "Im not doing weight because I dont want to bulk up" Ignorance is not bliss and people should definitely do the research before making statements like that.
Spincyle10 Spincyle10 9 years
Spinning (tm) does not bulk you up! I've been teaching for three years and have only seen more tone, and less flab come out of my classroom in that time. Just remember, though, that not all indoor cycling classes are designed for the same results, and you should speak with instructors about your fitness goals. The Spinning (tm) program is not the same as any other cycle program (and was the first indoor group cycle program initiated), and you should take time to seek out a program that is designed to meet your goals and objectives. Spinning (tm) was originally designed as a training program for cyclists and multisport athletes, and has a different objective and format from other classes such as Cycle Reebok or Reaction Cycle. Do your homework!
nikolem2 nikolem2 9 years
Completely agree! I'm a Spinning instructor and it's helped me tone up and slim down. I add as heavy resistance as I can handle for hills and sprints. The way I usually bust this myth to my students is this: Strength training with heavy weights builds muscle (notice I didn't say creates "bulk," another myth). Spinning in no way provides enough resistance to result in the fatigue and overload needed to build muscle like strength training does. If that were the case, you'd only be able to pedal against it for a few seconds tops, not a full hour.
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