If you want to lose weight in time for summer, then exercise is vital! One of the most favorite ways to burn calories would be running. But what most people are concerned about is losing inches around their legs, as many think running bulks up the thighs. But does running build leg muscle or not?
Through our research, we show you if running DOES build leg muscle, or if it's just some exercise myth!
Does Running Build Leg Muscle?
When it comes to losing weight, you will also want to look leaner and lose the inches, rather than look "bulked up." The first instinct would be to start running for an efficient calorie burn.
But what people are afraid of is if it would build more leg muscle than making them look "thinner." Some people are also wondering if it would destroy their muscle building goals. So, does running build leg muscle in the first place? And if so, what kind?
To answer your question: YES. Running does build muscle, as you will be using your legs and exerting a lot of effort in it, especially if you continue running long-term. But wait! It is the running that makes a huge difference.
Long-distance running is what helps build leaner muscles, which is what many aim to achieve while losing weight. If you're one who wants to bulk on muscle, then sprinting is the way to go.
How Does Running Build Leg Muscle?
When sprinting, you are stimulating muscle growth from very intense running sessions at a short time. Through the explosive effort exerted, your growth hormones release faster and have your muscle fibers work harder, resulting in increased muscular volume.
Sprinting intensely in short bursts requires stronger effort and energy from your legs, which in turn, make your legs bulk up from the release of growth hormones around the area. It uses your fast-twitch muscles, used for sudden and forced movements for short periods of time.
It's similar to lifting weights, where the heavier you lift, the more effort you exert to your muscles. Even with just a few reps of lifting massive, you end up bulking up to better as compared to lifting light with more reps.
As for long-distance running, you are exerting less effort at a longer period. While your legs do harden and build muscle, it won't be as big as you may have thought it would be. It uses your slow-twitch muscles, which helps maintain less intense bouts of movement or exercise, but for a longer amount of time.
That's why you may have noticed that long-distance runners have visible muscles, but are not enormous and bulky as compared to sprinters.
Take note that your legs will grow a bit bigger during the first few runs, especially if you haven't been active for an extended period. But this is either water weight or your body adapting to the stress you put on the muscles.
But over time, especially if you are long-distance running, your legs begin to adjust. They stop growing but instead focus on muscular endurance. It won't go through hypertrophy unless you accompany running with strength training, or if you are doing uphill runs.
How to Run to Build Leg Muscle
You may already know how beneficial muscles and running is for the body, regardless of your goals. But how will you be able to run to build the leg muscle you want?
How you should run depends on what you want for your body. If you want to have a leaner physique, then long-distance running with minimal uphill workouts is recommended.
If you would want to bulk up while doing cardio, then sprinting in high intensity and short bursts will help you get to your muscle building goals. We recommend you to start weighted runs or running uphill as well.
Either way, you should pair your running, whether long-distance or sprint, with a nutritious diet and strength training. It will help you reach your goals, may you want to be lean or muscular. Just remember to choose the proper workout program according to what you want to achieve. Make sure to put on a proper pair of running shoes before starting! (Check additional info.)
With running, you will be able to take advantage of the many benefits it has to offer. Not only does it burn a lot of calories, but you will also get to build the muscle you need to burn fat quicker efficiently. Yes, you will build leg muscles as you run, but don't worry about it "bulking your legs" if you're looking to lose inches. Instead, take advantage of the extra muscles that help achieve your fitness goals!
We hope that this article answers the question: "Does running build leg muscle?" If you have anything to say about running and how it builds leg muscle, then do comment! Any comment on what you have searched or experienced will be great.
This post is sponsored by JustforKix