Would cycling at high intensity levels such as mountain climbing or stationary climbing on indoor bikes (Spinning) provide muscle development? Also, sprinters seem to have very developed quads and hamstrings. I have read that running when not doing weight training can lead to bone loss. Your help with these questions will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for all your questions. I’ll try to address them individually.
1. Does outdoor or indoor high intensity cycling increase muscular development?
If you look at cyclists and their physique profile, they have very developed lower extremities and relatively undeveloped upper bodies. Cycling is very quadriceps and calf dominant. Because of the seated position, the cyclist never reaches complete hip extension that would activate the glutes. Furthermore, the psoas (hip flexor) muscle often becomes too tight. So the muscle development that occurs is all relative for the activity. What I mean is, the lower body muscles may increase in size but only in select muscle groups, which could lead to strength imbalances and possibly injury if cycling was the only form of conditioning.
2. Why do sprinters have such developed quads and hamstrings?
Good observation. Sprinters are anaerobic athletes. They train at high intensities and low frequencies that allow them to produce maximal effort in short burst activities. On the other hand, cycling which is a longer-duration (endurance) activity will burn more stored body fat than the sprinters per workout. Sprinters are more associated with power sports. Because they train at near maximal intensities for short durations, they will exhibit greater muscle mass to hold extra fuel stores. The extra fuel stored in the muscle provides immediate source for recovery.
3. Can running when not doing weight training lead to bone loss?
I looked through many journals to find some clinical support of your statement, but I did not find any information. In fact, running actually increases bone-density in the lower extremity, hip, pelvis and spine. Little evidence exists to support increased bone density to the upper extremities with running programs only.