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Find out how cycling does work your buttocks with training tips

Does Cycling Work Your Buttocks? How to Get The Most Out Of Your Workout

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We all know that cycling is a great way to blast away calories, but did you also know that cycling can help work and shape your buttocks?

Yup, it’s true and one of the many reasons why I love indoor cycling! Indoor cycling, also sometimes referred to as “spin” class, is an effective way to burn calories (and lose weight) and improve muscular strength and endurance.

If you’ve seen any TV or movie reference to cycling, it may have scared you off a bit. Yes, cycling can be an intense workout, but that also means you’ll see results more quickly – especially if you make a habit of attending a class! It’s estimated that one burns between 400-600 calories per class.

If you’ve never taken an indoor cycling class, or still consider yourself a beginner, I highly recommend checking out my eBook. I’ll teach you how to safely and correctly setup your bike, explain commonly used terms and phrases in cycling classes, and make sure you have everything you need to feel confident for your first class. Download your copy today!

Beginners guide to indoor cycling overview

Muscles Used While Cycling

Cycling, when done properly, is an excellent full body workout. As you would expect, your lower body (from the waist down) is doing a lot of the work. However, some classes incorporate weights or push-up like movements on the handlebars to also work your upper body.

Since we’re talking about how does cycling work your buttocks, we’ll stick to the bottom half (no pun intended, haha) for right now.


It’s important to brace your body while cycling by engaging your core. Think about keeping your belly button tucked into your spine and your abs tight. This will not only help your posture, but will improve your core’s muscular endurance.

Avoid slouching. If you feel yourself bending or are fatigued, take a minute to stretch and reset by pushing your chest up and out and by relaxing your shoulders away from your ears.

Upper Legs

Your quadriceps and hamstrings are powerful work horses and will be the main muscles used while cycling. Some in my indoor cycling class have noticed a change in these muscles before anything else. Cycling drills such as climbs (hills) and moves that take you in and out of the saddle are sure to wake up your legs.

When you pedal, focus on the up and down motion to work both muscle groups evenly. We’ll talk more about this later.

how to work your buttocks with indoor cycling

Lower Legs

Your calves are an important part of your pedal stroke. Let them flex with each pedal stroke as you pedal with the ball of your foot. Whenever I sprint, my toes are more pointed throughout the pedal stroke – like you’re flinging sand behind you as you ride.


Ah yes, the reason we’re all here. Give your glutes a powerful workout by cycling with heavy resistance while seated or standing. By pushing them toward the back of your saddle (a fancy word for bike seat), you’ll be able to isolate the muscles and feel them working more than if you were seated in a neutral position.

I like to remind my class to use their entire body, specifically their glutes, when we do any kind of standing climb. By swaying your body left to right (with each downward pedal stroke) and having the buttocks hovering right over the seat, you will notice those glutes working hard and can feel them burn as they gain strength and endurance.

Check out this article from Healthline for more info on how cycling works each of these muscle groups.

Pedaling Correctly to Work Your Buttocks

It’s “as easy as riding a bike,” right? Not necessarily. Pedaling correctly doesn’t always feel or come naturally, and takes some practice.

Think about pedaling in a full circle, with both legs working as a team. Individually, use your muscles to “push” the pedal toward the floor using a flat foot. Bring it back up toward your buttocks by pointing your toes and bringing your heel towards your glutes.

Start slow until the movement feels like second nature. Remind yourself to flex and engage the glutes. It’s a mental brain-game as much as it is muscular.

Other cycling tips for working your buttocks from this Cycling Weekly article include sitting back deep in your saddle, pushing a bigger gear, getting out the saddle, and hill simulations.

High Intensity and Focused Workouts

According to Livestrong, HIIT (or High Intensity Interval Training) drills can be an effective way to train your buttocks while cycling. These intervals don’t have to be very long, but make sure you’re pushing yourself to your max for the allotted time. Relax and recover. Then go again.

You can also check out a Hill or Climb video on YouTube such as this to guide you through this training. YouTube is a great source for free workout videos and for learning new cycling skills. If you’re in the market for at-home equipment, check out these spin bike recommendations – all under $500!

Remember to focus on the entire pedal stroke during these drills, and not just the downstroke which primarily work your quadriceps.

I like to listen to Tabata tracks when doing interval training because they have the cues built into the song. Most are focused on 20 seconds of intense work, followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 rounds. I tease my cycling class that these are the longest 20 seconds and shortest 10 seconds of their lives, haha.

Top 5 tips for working your glutes with indoor cycling

Top 5 Tips Cycling to Work Your Buttocks

1. Remember to use them!

Pedaling with your glutes is a learned behavior. It may take some time to remember to engage and incorporate your buttocks when cycling. If you find yourself reverting to your old method (not pedaling in a full circle and unengaged), give yourself a little mental reminder. You could also set timers throughout your workout to help you remember.

2. Gear up.

Similarly to body builders, you need to have periods of heavy resistance while cycling to build your buttocks muscles. If you are at a lighter resistance (with greater speed), chances are that you are in a more cardio-intensive workout, and therefore are burning calories more than building muscle. I like to think of my cycling workouts as circuit workouts: I will have songs for sprints, strength, endurance, jumping in/out of the saddle, etc. Incorporate periods of intense heavy resistance to help build your backside.

3. Stand up.

We mentioned earlier how sitting toward the back of your saddle will help to engage your glutes. The same is true for standing! When you stand, keep your upper body relaxed, using the handlebars for balance, while you extend your buttocks over the saddle. Really stick it out there and feel the burn in your quads and glutes.

** When you stand on your bike, make sure you have enough resistance to support yourself. You should feel your body moving gently side-to-side and not up and down, like a pogo stick.

4. Incorporate cross training.

Ok, so this is not while you’re cycling of course, but strength training outside of cycling will compliment your buttocks-building efforts. Exercises such as squats, glute bridges, and focused circuits will help strengthen your buttocks and improve your cycling performance.

For a list of 25 exercises you can do at home for super-toned glute muscles, check out this post from Women’s Health Mag.

Also consider trying other group fitness classes. Group fitness is a great way to train safely and effectively while forming new friendships.

5. Stretch and show them some love.

After you work your buttocks, make sure you thank them by stretching! Stretching after exercise (when you’re warm) prevents injury, decreases muscle tension, and can help improve your flexibility.

How to Stretch Your Buttocks

Never skip your stretch!

You actually have 3 muscles in your glutes: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus – and they all need some stretching love and attention, especially after cycling. I didn’t realize how much I had neglected mine until I went to get a massage. When she reached for my glutes, at first I was a little surprised, but then I realized how much tension I was holding in them! haha sounds a little awkward, I know. My massage therapist said that your glutes are rarely shown the stretching attention they deserve and need.

Here are my 3 favorite glute stretches:


Work your buttocks after cycling with a Figure Four Stretch

Starting with my favorite stretch, the figure-four! This always feels so good after a cycling workout. Using your bike to balance, place your right ankle on your left knee and lower yourself into a squat position. Remember to not let your left knee go over your left toes – sit your booty back. Slowly stand, and alternate your legs. Repeat.

As a variation, you can also do this stretch in slow pulses, 5-10 seconds each side.

Cross-Body Knee Hug

Stretch your buttocks after cycling with a cross-body knee hug

You can do this stretch either standing next to your bike (using it for balance) or laying on the floor. Take your knee and bring it to your chest. Using the opposite arm, wrap it around your leg and squeeze. You should feel a nice stretch in your glutes. Hold the stretch for 10-20 seconds. Release and repeat before alternating sides.

Sumo Squat

Sumo Squat to stretch your glutes after cycling

With your feet in a wide stance, slowly lower yourself into a squat position. Remember to not let your knees go over your toes – sit you booty back, like you’re going to sit in a chair. You can use your elbows to gently push your knees farther away from each other. As you improve flexibility, practice lowering yourself farther and farther into the stretch, while maintaining good form.

For more great stretching ideas, check out this post from Healthline.

Cycling is a great way to work your buttocks while burning a crazy amount of calories and improving your endurance.

does cycling work your buttocks? Yes!

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