April 5, 2024

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Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger? It Depends

6 min read
Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger

Does exercising increase the size of your legs? Legs can get bigger, stronger, and more muscular through running by adding muscle to them. Additionally, as you replace fat with muscle while running, your legs will appear thinner and leaner. Learn more about running by reading this article.

Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger

Everything depends on your eating habits, exercise routine, and other activities. Running tends to slim down rather than bulk up your legs. This is what running does, it replaces fat with muscle.

Exercise like running helps burn fat. Burning fat frees up space for your muscles. Though the fat you’ve burned has made your legs bigger, they will still get stronger and more muscular. Running frequently results in slimmer-looking legs.

Sprinting and light jogging can be alternated during interval training. An exercise method called interval training alternates between short bursts of effort and slower ones.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine states that interval training burns more calories than continuous exercise. You can burn more calories for several hours after your workout by using interval training.

If you run properly, you’ll notice a change in your calves. If you run with moderate intensity, your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes will develop more quickly.

Yoga can also aid in weight loss, body toning, and increased flexibility. Depending on the number of calories consumed, your legs might get slimmer. Running may help you lose body fat, giving you slimmer thighs and legs.

Due to the increased calorie burn from running, your legs will most likely look more defined.

Why Are My Legs Getting Bigger From Running

The phrase “runner’s legs” may be one you’ve heard before. Not everyone is as keen on having lean legs, despite the fact that many athletes proudly flaunt this.

Understanding your own physiology as well as how exercising affects your body in ways that cause muscle growth is facilitated by understanding why your legs are growing larger as a result of running.

Running has made your legs bigger because it has helped you gain more muscle. In general, you are burning calories while losing body fat and gaining muscle. 

Intensity Of Running

You might not be developing the muscles you want in your legs due to how hard you run. In case you haven’t noticed, marathon runners are typically lean and thin. Professional sprinters, however, will have stronger legs and larger, all-around bodies.

This is due to the fact that marathon running, which is frequently the focus, actually hinders muscle growth.

Running for a long time at a moderate pace causes your body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which has an adverse effect on your body’s capacity to develop muscles.

As a result, running long distances won’t help you build more muscle mass. That is unless you combine it with strength training.

Does Running Make Your Legs Bigger

Body Type

Different people have varying capacities for muscle growth. Without making an effort, some people gain weight more quickly. Others, however, must work very hard to spot any indication of muscle growth. According to your body type.

Three basic body types are as follows: ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs. Here is a quick summary of each of them and how they relate to muscle gain.

  • Ectomorphs

The bodies and metabolisms of ectomorphs are lean. They struggle to gain muscle unless they take supplements, and they don’t put on weight quickly either.

High-intensity strength training is what you should concentrate on if you’re an ectomorph and want to gain muscle. A dietary specialist may be able to recommend supplements that will benefit you as well.

Running won’t make your legs bigger if that’s something you’re worried about. Only their size will decrease as a result.

  • Mesomorphs

Between ectomorphs and endomorphs on the scale, mesomorphs are in the middle. Due to their superior muscle-building and fat-burning abilities compared to ectomorphs and endomorphs, respectively. Due to this, they have a high chance of developing thick muscles and lean bodies.

Mesomorphs who make running a habit may notice that their legs are becoming bigger than they were if they run every day or at least three times per week. This is a result of how quickly their bodies develop muscle.

But it’s also important to note that mesomorphs lose muscle mass more rapidly than the other two body types. If you’re one of them, you’ll need to increase your training frequently if you want to keep your muscle mass.

  • Endomorphs

Endomorphs typically have broad, stocky bodies. They can put on fat and muscle just fine, but both will be concentrated in the lower half of the body.

Muscle Fibers

Muscle fibers, in addition to running intensity and body type, contribute to the development of bulkier legs.

Our bodies all contain two different types of muscle fibers. First, there are slow-twitch fibers, which function during resistance training because they keep you active for a long time.

Fast-twitch fibers, on the other hand, work during high-intensity exercise and sprinting because they can keep you moving for a brief period of time.

For your convenience, slow-twitch fibers are used for prolonged training sessions while fast-twitch fibers are used for brief, intense bursts of activity.

Types Of Running Comparison

As we compare a few different running techniques, it’s critical to keep in mind that different running speeds and styles target different muscles, leading to various outcomes.

We’ll start off by discussing the effects of sprinting.

Fast-twitch Muscles Used In Sprinting

What on earth is a fast-twitch muscle, you may be asking yourself.’

Sprinting is accomplished with fast-twitch muscle fibers. Although it is more powerful than the opposing muscle type, it tires much more quickly.

Comparing a sprint with a moderately fast, even-paced run will help you understand the difference. Because of the use of those fast-twitch muscles, your legs will become fatigued in a very different way.

Sprinters frequently have a more muscular, bulging appearance due to the use of fast-twitch muscles. Therefore, if you sprint more frequently than you run long distances, you might notice your legs start to develop more quickly.

Slow-twitch Muscles Used In Running

Let’s start with slow-twitch muscles now. 

Slow-twitch muscles are not as powerful as fast-twitch muscles, but because they have more access to oxygen, they can run for longer periods of time.

Slow-twitch muscles used by runners that opt for distance over speed tend to be much thinner and leaner, while still strong and muscular.

Have you ever run briskly or jogged for an hour and been able to go farther than you thought you could on a 10-minute sprint? Because of this, the muscles employed had quite different sets of strengths and performed for the purposes for which they were designed—whether those purposes were short and brisk or long and steady.

To summarize: 

If you’re a sprinter, you will be using more fast-twitch muscles. The size of fast twitch muscle increases, making the quads bigger and more musculoskeletal.  The quads may appear larger when sprinting because of the increased demand for them.

If you’re a long-distance runner, you will be using more slow twitch muscles. As their name implies, long-distance runners are capable of traveling far distances. The slower twitch muscles are smaller in size, giving the legs that leaner appearance. Compared to the high demand sprinting places on the quads, long-distance running places a greater demand on the hamstrings.

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