does bicycling work your glutes

Does Bicycling Work Your Glutes?

Hello, my friends! It’s Kathleen again, and today I want to talk about your booty.

While men may say that they are first attracted to your eyes, when you turn around to walk away, I can guarantee that they are eyeing your behind.

Yep, that’s true, and you can get some real glute activation from riding your bicycle, whether it’s your trusty exercise bike or a regular outdoor street bike.

Who doesn’t want a bigger, rounder, and firmer tush? No one wants their butt to look like two little boys fighting under a blanket, so the question here is how do you get that beautiful behind?

You could spend hours on that boring stair climber or the ever-popular booty resistance band, but if you really want to work that booty, cycling will blow you away with how fast it works.

“Kathleen, I’ve been riding a bike for months, but I don’t see any improvement.” If this sounds like you, then you will definitely want to read on to the end of this post.

If you’re interested in the best exercise bike with a screen, this article is a must-read.

Let’s talk about the little movements that you can do to improve that butt and make those glutes work overtime!

Does Cycling Grow Glutes?

In short, you bet it does! Did you think those professional cyclists have such great butts because of those bike shorts?!

When you ride a bike, you’re working the quadriceps (the front of the thigh), the hamstrings (the back of the thigh), and the calf muscles.

Female at gym performing glute strengthening on a bike

You also work the largest butt muscle, the gluteus maximus, but there are two other muscles supporting it. Those are the gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus.

Those two smaller butt muscles not only support the larger one but are connected to your hip abductors, which allow you to twist and turn.

While cycling will definitely tighten up this muscle group, it can, unfortunately, make your butt look tight but smaller in size.

This is good if you’re trying to lose weight, but to get that bigger, rounder peach, you need to know a few tricks.

Quick Tips on How to Engage Your Glutes When Cycling

Riding your bicycle is one of the best glute exercises around. However, just plain pedaling will not give you the booty you’re looking for.

Check out the following tips to help add more bulk to your butt.

  1. Ride uphill. If you have to stand up to really get some speed, then you will definitely feel the burn.
  2. Do some serious spin classes. If you’re sitting down, then it’s not enough power to work your butt. Be sure that you are standing up as you pedal to get the most glute activation.
  3. Visualize working your glute muscles. You can still work those glutes if you squeeze hard with every pedal stroke. Picture yourself working those muscles and squeezing them.
  4. Push down as you pedal. If you’re using an exercise bike, position the seat so that you really need to push down on the pedal. Correct pedal stroke is key. Imagine doing a squat while sitting on your bike, and you will get the picture. Your leg should be close to a 90-degree angle as your leg comes up.
  5. Push through your heels. I know that it’s common for people to push with their toes and the ball of their foot. If you want to work that booty, doing the perfect form and pedal stroke means bringing your leg up higher and pushing down through your heels.

Use your glutes, really feel the burn as you ride, and you are halfway there.

Other Exercises to Activate and Build Glutes

Believe it or not, weak glutes can actually cause injuries to those who like to ride a bike. These injuries include hip flexor pain, knee pain, and overuse of your quads.

When the glutes are weak, you are forcing your body to overuse certain muscles rather than spread the workload to others within the muscle group.

lady performing cycling glutes exercise on a bike

In short, this means that when your glutes can’t do more work because they are weak, you will use your quads or hamstrings more than you should. This leaves you open to injuries.

You can strengthen the gluteus medius and the other glute muscles by engaging them during other types of exercise.

Some of the best exercises include Bulgarian split squats, speed skaters, regular squats, deadlifts, and the barbell glute bridge.

If you aren’t sure how to do any of the above exercises, you can search YouTube or ask at your local gym.

Activation of the Gluteus Maximus: Tips for Beginners

I know that some of you are shaking your head saying, “I’ve done squats for years, and I don’t see any results.”

I hear you, I really do. Working your butt muscles seems like it should be an easy thing to do. However, sometimes we think that we’re working our glutes when we’re actually using other muscles, leaving our glutes without much of a workout.


This is sometimes called lazy glute. This video helps to explain not only what lazy glutes are but also how you can activate the glutes and force them to work harder.

Make Sure Your Bike Fit Is Perfect for You

Here’s one area that many of us never consider. Well, at least I know I didn’t.

Is your bike set up to fit you?

Everyone’s body is different, right? We might both be the same height, but my legs might be 2 inches taller than yours, and you’ve got a torso that is longer than mine.

I never realized how important it was, not only to prevent injuries but also to maximize my butt potential, until I bought a new mountain bike.

I had a stationary bike at home, and I’d bought my previous street bike from some big-name store that offered zero in the way of attention or professional help.

With my mountain bike, however, once the bike had been delivered to the shop, the store owner asked if I wanted him to “fit” the bike to my size.

While I wasn’t exactly sure what he was talking about, I said yes. He took several measurements, including my inseam, and he also changed the forward position of the seat. I didn’t even know that was a thing!

man working on a stationary bike for glutes

Positioning the seat up and down, sure, but forward and back? I had no idea that was even possible.

Poor bike fit decisions mean that knees are bent too far up or down, or you use your back muscles to make up for proper positioning. It can also mean that you never really activate those glutes.

I highly recommend taking your bike to a pro-shop, not a big-box store but a true bicycle shop, and ask to have the bike fitted exactly to your size.

You can even explain that you’re trying to get bigger glutes, and the pros might have a few special adjustments to help you in this area.

It shouldn’t cost much, and I promise that it is money and time well spent.

Related Post: Does a Stationary Bike Burn Belly Fat?

How Can I Tell If My Glutes Are Not Firing?

Sometimes we think that we are working those butt muscles or the entire body but aren’t getting the results we want. To know whether you’re using your glute muscles enough, here are a few giveaway clues.

  • Knee pain – One sign that you aren’t working your glutes is knee pain. If you frequently have knee pain during or after a ride (and you don’t have any true knee problems that you know of), then chances are that you do NOT have strong glutes.
  • Low back pain – When you feel low back pain while riding your bike, it’s another sign that your glutes are weak. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the body, and when your glutes are strong, they support your hamstrings and the lower back.
  • Sedentary lifestyle – Another thing to consider is your day job. Do you sit most of the day for work? Unless you are actively working on your leg muscles (not just cardio, but muscle strengthening exercises), then chances are that your glutes aren’t much more than pillows.

This may surprise you, but did you know that even cyclists can have weak glutes? Most cyclists have weak glutes because they only work on the cardio portion and ignore the upper body or proper execution of the pedal stroke, which is what strengthens the glutes.

If you still aren’t sure whether you’re using your buttocks or failing to activate your glutes when cycling, you can always set up a couple of sessions with a personal trainer.

The services of a personal trainer is not as expensive as you might think, and you will probably only need two or three sessions at the most to get the information that cyclists like you need to get glute activation.

The Final Takeaway

If you’re not interested in having a bigger peach, and you just like riding your bicycle for pleasure or improving your cardio health, then this article isn’t for you.

For everyone else, even if you have no intention of becoming a professional cyclist, you still want to grow that booty and look great in your next pair of new jeans, right?

Get your bike professionally fitted to your size and use the tips mentioned above to get the most out of every cycling session. This usually means standing up while riding and doing more uphill rides.

Most of all, don’t get discouraged. Growing that beautiful peach won’t happen overnight, but with a little work and dedication, you will get results that will take your booty from blah to WOW!

Stay healthy and happy, friends. Life is too short for anything else.