Weightlifting & Exercise/Bike Riding



I recently started riding bikes with my friends.  I'm 22-years-old, and I've been bicycling for over a year, now.  I really enjoy the exercise and fresh air!  I've noticed all the bike-riding is making changes to the shape of my body.  Or more specifically, my hips.

I've been slim my whole life, and never been overweight.  But lately, I've noticed my butt is getting bigger.  The rest of my body is toning up nicely.  However, my rump is getting noticeably larger.

What's funny is I haven't made any changes to my diet.  I still try to eat healthy, but I do eat a Big Mac from McDonalds every now and then.  And pizza is still a favorite of mine.

Any idea why my hips are getting thicker, while the rest of my body is not?


ANSWER: Hi Stephanie,

I too enjoy bike riding and you have chosen a wonderful way to exercise. So to be honest I don't know what body type you have, as you may be the type of person who gains muscle rather quickly. You are also at the age your body is in the key time frame for making changes to your size and shape most efficiently. If you are gaining size in the Gluteus region and seeing changes in the hips and legs, it is because those are the muscles that are under the most stress and doing most of the work. The Gluteus Maximus is best worked by a pushing motion (think lunges, squats, leg-presses)and when you push down on the peddle, from when your knee is at the top of the peddle rotation until your leg is straightened, that is where this muscle is utilized the most. Now if you are doing a lot of uphill pedaling, you will really be pushing this muscle to its max (as well as the quads and hamstrings)and this can incur hypertrophy (muscle growth) just as running uphill does. Lastly I would mention that although your are utilizing the Gluteus muscles quite a bit when pedaling, this activity is not one that usually brings about noticeable gains in size in-and-of-it-self. What is probably happening is you are toning and shaping the muscle (perhaps adding some growth as well) and overall burning more calories, this would make visible changes in this body region as well as throughout your body as well. So Stephanie I hope this helps you to better understand what is going on. Also don't be concerned about getting a large butt as you just recently took up this activity, and the beginning of and exercise program is when you always see the most dramatic results. I can assure you these will subside as your body acclimates to this new activity. So go out and enjoy the beautiful weather knowing you are partaking in a healthy endeavor. Best wishes.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks for your response.  So you seem to believe bike-riding increases the shape of my hips due to the extra stress I put on them while riding.  Interesting.
Me and my friends do ride up some big hills, so that would explain the extra pressure being put on my hips.

Could my diet also be playing a role in this?

Here's a picture of me:  http://i.imgur.com/T1hmUBg.jpg

The left frame shows me about two years ago when I was 20-years-old, and before I started biking.  The middle frame is from a few months ago, and the right frame was taken a couple weeks ago.

I understand that bicycling should tone all of my lower body, but looking at those pictures of me, would you agree my butt is getting bigger?  And more noticeably larger than the rest of my legs?

I'm already having trouble finding new pants that fit!  lol

Take care,

Hi Stephanie,

The picture you sent me never came through so I cannot give you an accurate assessment of your glutes, and as far as your diet goes unless you are consuming Big Mac's and pizza often I do not see how your diet would make your butt bigger as you say. Having said that though perhaps a chat with a Nutritionist would be in order to get a better idea of what is going on. You may be what is called a "Mesomorph" meaning you have a body that is naturally muscular and lean and/or can put on muscle quite rapidly. Try mixing up your activities and include some running or aerobics or cardio kick-boxing into your routine and see if that helps. Also if you are doing any other physical activities that includes you legs share that with me and I may be better able to see what is going on more closely. Good luck.


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Greg Hoppe


I can answer questions on proper exercise technique, starting as well as growing in attaining your fitness goals and questions regrading how the human body works from an exercise physiology standpoint. I can assist with any questions regarding anatomy & physiology, stretching and rehabilitation. I am also extremely well versed and experienced in martial arts, self-defense and massage therapy.


I have a B.S in Physical Education and a Black Belt in an eclectic martial art. I am also a certified Fitness Therapist through ISSA and a massage therapist. I can assist with questions regarding hiring a health and wellness professional as well as growing and succeeding in the field for those already working in it.

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