Does running make your legs bigger?

Running is probably the most straightforward exercise that you can indulge in. Light jogging or sprinting for some time every day has a number of good effects on your body.

It is a great cardio exercise, and it also imparts immense strength to your lower body and causes your leg muscles to get pumped up.

The best thing about running is that you do not need any gym equipment or expensive membership. All you have to do is jump into your jogging shoes, dash out of your house, start running, and watch your legs grow bigger!

Are you unhappy with the shape and size of your legs? Can running regularly help to enlarge your legs by pumping your leg muscles up? Does running make your legs bigger? 

This article will answer all your queries with respect to running and how it can help you tone your muscles. Read on to find out. 

Does running make your legs bigger?

Does running make your legs bigger
If you are wondering if sprinting and running make your thighs bigger, you need to understand that the answer is both a yes and a no. When you exercise, you put your muscles to work. When you run, your leg muscles, such as those of the thighs, calves, and glutes, are engaged in action.

Depending on the kind of running you indulge in, you will either grow your legs bigger and muscular or slimmer. For instance, long distance runners have lean legs, whereas sprinters have big leg muscles.

Why are my legs getting bigger when I run?

The effect that running has on your legs depends on you. The outcome that your body will experience due to running depends on how intensely you run, the kind of running you perform, and the diet you maintain during the procedure. 

When you run, strength can be developed in your Quadriceps (thighs), hamstrings (hind portion of the thigh), soleus and gastrocnemius (calf muscles), and glutes (buttocks). How does the development of leg muscles work? Read on to find out. 

The kind of running you are indulging in

The kind of running you are indulging in

The running type that you indulge in determines whether your legs will look slender or bigger. People may either prefer sprinting or running for a long distance.  

It has been observed that those who are involved in long-distance running, have comparatively leaner and well-toned legs. This is because running for a long distance requires one’s legs to be light. There should be less mass around the thighs, which will allow a runner to compete with others better. Hence, you should not bulk up around your legs. 

Another reason why long-distance running prevents muscle build-up is because of cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone, which is released due to prolonged exercise. This hormone prevents the growth of muscle and also promotes tremendous calorie burning.

On the other hand, sprinters have big, muscular legs. What differentiates the training process from running for a long distance is that sprinters need more power, so they add a little bit of challenge to the training by adding extra load in the form of a weighted vest or running uphill. This will help to increase tension in the hamstrings, quads, glutes, calves and trigger them to grow bigger. 

Genetics of the runner 

Your genetics also have an important role to play when it comes to determining how running will affect the appearance of your legs. Some people are predetermined to grow leg muscles better than others. If you start running, you will gain muscles, and your legs will become big. 

On the other hand, some people are not genetically built in such a way that they will gain muscles. Therefore, no matter how much you try running, you are not likely to grow bigger legs. Therefore, a number of different factors come into play when you are trying to determine how you will develop big legs, of which genetics is a significant one. 

The intensity of the training that you indulge in

The intensity of the training that you indulge in

The intensity of the training you indulge in also determines the kind of development you will have in your legs. When you plan your running schedule, you need to be clear about which muscles you are activating- the slow twitch muscles or the fast twitch ones? 

If you opt for distance running, it is advisable not to start off with large mileage directly, but rather build it gradually. For instance, you can begin by running a couple of miles in the beginning and then add one mile each week. This is ideally suited if you are willing to slim your legs down. 

If you wish to grow your legs, you need to indulge in sprinting workouts. This will not only bulk up your legs but will also impart immense strength to your legs. If you add four sprints of 100 m each in one session, you will gradually begin to feel the strength. As your legs grow bigger and stronger, you can keep on increasing the speed. 

The key to a healthy workout is that you should not force anything on your body. Keep it moderate in the beginning and slowly increase the intensity of the exercise that you are performing.

Also, the key is to get enough rest so that your muscles can recover from the wear and tear that they suffer during the process. 

The distance covered and duration

The distance covered and duration

The time that you spend running along with the distance you cover in that duration are two other components that need to be taken into account.

If you are not involved in any athletic activity and start running for more than a couple of hours or eight miles or more in one go, which, in turn, will cause your muscles to suffer wear and tear and appear buffed up. 

If you increase the distance you are covering, it will lead to an overload on the leg muscles and lead to their growth. This happens better if you run at a fast pace and engage the fast-twitch muscles of your legs. This, however, should not restrict you from increasing the distance of your running. 

To conclude, it is suggested that one should not push himself to extremes. Rather, the catch is to be consistent with the running sessions and also stay in the athletic state for as long as possible. This will help to reap the best benefits!

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Wrapping up

It is also noteworthy to mention that only exercising will not help to pump up your leg muscles. Running alone will not show any desirable results unless you couple your workout with a healthy diet. 

Some of the best food items to resort to if you are willing to grow bigger legs are meat, dairy products like yogurt, cheese, etc., grains like quinoa, oatmeal, fruits, starchy vegetables such as cucumber and spinach, seeds and nuts like chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts, legumes like black beans and lentils, and cooking oils such as avocado and olive oil. 

Therefore, if you are willing to grow your legs more robust, get in touch with your nutritionist and dietician, who can jot down a plan that will work the best for you.