What Muscles Mountain Biking Work! (Bikes Are Healthy)

When it comes to working out, the same old routines can be boring. And if you love to be out in nature and love riding bikes, you can combine the two for a wonderful experience known as mountain biking.

What muscles does mountain biking work? Mountain biking actually works a lot of different muscles including the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, abdomen, obliques, lower back and arms.

As you can clearly see, mountain biking is an excellent workout that works almost your entire body. 

We’re going to break down the different areas of the body you can expect to tone while mountain biking and whether it’s a viable option for weight loss. We’ll also toss in a few exercises that may benefit your results!

Read Also: Are Bicycle Pedals Universal?


The Muscles Mountain Biking Works

Mountain biking will likely be accompanied by a slew of irregular terrains which will leave you going uphill, downhill, and experiencing all different types of altitudes. For this reason, you can expect to have the following muscles involved:

  • Quadriceps. Located on the front of your thighs, the quadriceps are one of the main muscle groups that will be worked during mountain biking. This is especially true when you’re going up steep hills.
  • Glutes. Your glutes, or buttocks, is another main muscle group that is worked from mountain biking. This makes it a great option for anyone looking to reshape the booty region.
  • Hamstrings. Located on the backside of the thighs, the hamstrings are worked regularly during mountain biking. You can increase the amount of work on the hamstrings by standing up while you’re pedaling.
  • Calves. The calves are likely to feel a burn during mountain biking, especially when you stand or go up steep hills.
  • Abdomen. You might not feel the core being worked as much as the legs, but the abdomen will always be used when you’re doing anything with motion in your legs. Parts of the abdomen affected included the upper and lower abdominals as well as obliques and lower back.
  • Arms. The arms will get a great workout as they’re struggling to keep your upper body supported, especially during times when you lean forward on the bike. Parts of the arms that will be worked include the biceps, triceps, and deltoids, but you will also be using your hands, wrists, and forearms throughout the trip.

To put it simply, mountain biking offers an almost complete full-body workout. You will work all areas of the body from top to bottom, making it an excellent option for someone who wants to get in shape.

Will Mountain Biking Get Me in Shape?

Regularly mountain biking can get you in shape. This is due to the fact that almost all of your muscle groups are going to be worked, leaving you with a more toned physique. To ensure you’re getting in shape while mountain biking, make sure you’re doing the following:

  • Start out small. Be careful not to overwork your body when you’re just beginning. This can cause more damage than good and may also leave you with a negative mindset in the end.
  • Start pushing yourself. The more you mountain bike, the more used to it you will get. Don’t get stagnant in a comfort zone: push yourself. Pushing yourself will work your muscles even further and allow you to burn more calories.
  • Don’t overeat. Losing weight and getting in shape is pretty simple: you need to consume fewer calories than you burn during the day. You should also opt for healthier food options, so you feel fuller longer and keep your body and health in tip-top shape.
  • Don’t be afraid of the hills. Going uphill puts a whole lot of pressure on those legs, which means you will be able to tone up quicker in the end. When you see a steep hill, push yourself to make it to the top before gliding down and giving your body somewhat of a rest.
  • Standing up, while mountain biking is key. This is especially true when you’re going downhill, and the route gets a little too easy. When you stand up, you’re adding more pressure to your muscles, giving them a much more intense workout. This leads to more toning and extra calories being torched!
  • Never give up. When you’re starting out, it can be quite challenging to push yourself up those hills, but don’t give up! Soon you will notice a serious change in your body, and you will be able to handle steep areas you didn’t think were possible.
  • Stay hydrated. This is key during your trip as to not become dehydrated, get exhausted, or cause cramps in the muscles. Water consumption is also linked to weight loss and overall better health, which is the main goal.

Stretches to do Beforehand

Warming up before any workout is key to a successful experience free of any injury or discomfort. Mountain biking can be quite an intense workout, so ensuring you’re providing your muscles with the right stretches is going to be highly beneficial.

  • Stretch out your arms. This can be done in a variety of ways. Cross-body stretches like these, forearm stretches, and overhead stretches are all great ideas. You want to loosen up those arms, so they are ready to offer you the best support.
  • Stretch the hips and quads. The best way to stretch out these important muscles groups is to kneel down onto one knee, letting the other leg hands back. Stretch it out as far as you can and really feel the stretching in those quads before switching legs. Other leg stretches like these can also be done to ensure you’re loosened up.
  • Don’t forget the calves. When you’re mountain biking, you will be putting a lot of pressure on the calves. Calves can tend to cramp up rather easily, so stretching them out properly is a must. You can do this by going up and down on your tippy-toes or performing this calf stretch.

Don’t forget the importance of cooling down after your mountain biking, too. 

Once you’ve reached a point where you’re done with the intense ride, take a short ride on flatter surfaces at a slower rate to calm down your heart and give your muscles a break. You may also want to perform some full body stretches after your workout as well.

Read Also: Are Clipless Pedals Really More Efficient?


Mountain biking is a great way to tone up the entire body and get in shape. Start off small, but continue to push your limits every time you get on the bike. 

Always ensure you’re properly stretching before and after your workout to avoid injury and discomfort, and always take a water bottle on your ride.

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