Do you want to know whether or not BMX is a good exercise?
I’ve been riding for 20+ years and training my body for 30+, so I’m excited to share my two cents.
The short answer: Yes, BMX is a good workout.
However, it’s not a complete body workout (that’s the “no” part of the title), which I found out only after four years of riding.
That’s how long it took me between starting riding and visiting fitness for the very first time in my life.
This post covers:
- Will BMX build muscle?
- Does riding BMX give you abs?
- What muscles should I work out for BMX?
- Conclusion: Do you need to be strong for BMX?
Note: I started riding when I was around 13 and only attended a gym when around 17 (I also never seriously lifted weights before, but did other sports, like Judo, cross-country cycling, some gymnastics, etc.).
Will BMX Build Muscle?
Yes, BMX will help build muscle but only in some areas of the body.
For instance, when I did arm curls at the gym, I couldn’t believe how strong my biceps are. And that comes from all the pulling you do when riding your bike. Your forearms also get strong (but not necessarily crazy strong).
On the other hand, when I did bench press, my pecs were weak AF. On the contrary, my back muscles were developed nicely.
This, again, comes from all the pulling, but BMX doesn’t really do too much to your pecs.
What about legs?
My quadriceps and glutes were strong, but my calves were weak. This was the first thing that made perfect sense to me.
From all the bynnyhops and jumping, landing, your quads and glutes work all the time, but calves aren’t as active as I’d expected.
The biggest surprise was the shoulders.
I was 100% sure I won’t have any issues pumping some extra steel, but BOY, was I wrong. It almost felt like I never used shoulder muscles in my life when doing shoulder presses.
The same goes for the triceps – you don’t use them much when riding BMX.
And here’s a question I get a lot:
Does Riding BMX Give You Abs?
No, you will never get abs from BMX biking alone – that’s just the brutal truth.
Still, your abs do work during your sessions, but not as much as we’d want them to for a 6-pack.
There’s really only one way of making your abs pop out – get your body fat down.
Of course, doing abdominal exercises will contribute to getting a six-pack immensely. But (the right) calorie intake it more essential.
However, you can train as hard as you want (I did to the point of almost puking before figuring this one out), but your abs will never pop if you don’t get your body fat down.
Did I miss any muscle groups?
I covered the main ones to briefly explain whether a BMX bike is good exercise.
And on top of physical health benefits, it also has many mental benefits.
Because riding BMX FEELS GOOD!
What Muscles Should I Work Out For BMX?
If you’re in for longevity, then attack muscles that BMX doesn’t.
This would be shoulders, pecs, abs, calves and triceps. But there’s also nothing wrong in getting stronger in the areas that you developed because of BMX.
There are other muscles to work, too, but I’ll cover them in one of my future exercise-specific posts.
Friendly tip: If you really don’t want to lift weights and do calisthenics, you MUST at least do stretching.
If you hate stretches and possibly yoga, force yourself into doing it. Period.
I mean it, bro!
Start slowly so you don’t injure yourself, gradually increasing the length and intensity.
Trust me; you’ll thank yourself later.
Stretching is the best injury prevention technique!
You can be big and strong, but if you’re not mobile and your wrist or shoulder goes into an uncomfortable position, you’ll almost certainly injure yourself.
So. Stretch. MORE!
Note: BMX is an extreme and though-on-the-body sport, so injuries can happen regardless of how strong and mobile you are.
But even if you get injured, taking care of yourself and eating right will drastically shorten your recovery.
Been there. Done that.
Conclusion: Do You Need To Be Strong For BMX?
Yes, but only to a certain point. But you definitely don’t have to be big.
The more you will ride, the more the right muscles will develop. However, they will plateau eventually, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Many riders don’t do anything outside BMX, which I don’t recommend.
If you really, REALLY hate exercise, get at least into stretching or yoga.
15-20 mins 3-4 times a week can change everything.
And if you sneak in some weight lifting and/or calisthenics, you’ll be even more confident in your body and riding.
Yes, it’s really that simple.
Hey, I just want you to enjoy the exciting and fun sport that BMX is for as long as possible. And taking care of your body (and mind) is crucial.
At this stage, you may also read my article about being too old for BMX. Is that really a thing?