If you’re looking for a powerful cardio workout that will also be fun, maybe it’s time to try skateboarding. Michael Olson, a professor at the University of Auburn, compared the results of skateboarding to the benefits of skipping a rope or riding a stationary bike. He noted that the necessary change in pace may play a role in the processes that take place during skateboarding.
Research findings from this study showed that even if you don’t know how to do any tricks, riding a skateboard alone will boost your cardiovascular system. And also burn an incredible eight to twelve calories every minute!
Skateboarding also helps in the development of large muscle groups, such as the gluteus, quadriceps, lower back muscles, tendons. Even the abs. While skateboarding may make your calves and thighs bulky, it is more likely to leave your legs lean.
In this article, we cover the anatomy of skating and much more.
Table of Contents
What Muscle Groups Does Skateboarding Work?
Skateboarding works muscles throughout your body and requires a lot of balance and coordination. It is possible to get a solid workout even by skateboarding in one direction. If you perform tricks, it will add tension to your muscles because it requires multiple joint movements. Some even think that skateboard is better than running.
However, in skateboarding, you’re likely to develop muscles on one side of your body. Therefore, you may want to add some weight training or develop ambidexterity in your feet for balance.
Skateboarding really works your quadriceps. These muscles forming the front of your thighs extend your knee and flex your hip joint. When skateboarding (especially in ollies), your knees get extended and your hips flexed. When accelerating upward, you straighten your legs forcibly and thereby, extend your knees.
As a result, on the downward phase of the ollie, your hips get flexed right away.
One of the largest muscles in your body, the gluteus maximus extends from your hips to hamstrings. It is essential for muscle stabilization in skateboarding. In this way, it allows you to maintain balance when rising to an upright posture. Through extension, your hips activate the gluteus maximus. It will help you gain maximal speed when pushing forward on a flat surface.
Hamstrings refer to a group of four muscles extending from your glutes to the back of your knee. They work by flexing your knee, allowing you to bring your calves up toward the back of your thigh. This flexion is critical for crouching down and helps you maintain a lower center of gravity while skateboarding.
The top of your pelvis moves backward, which allows you to gain forward speed with one foot while skating.
Skateboarding can develop the muscles in your lower legs. The calves (gastrocnemius muscles) assist in extending your knees. This group of muscles is important for plantar flexion of the ankle, which points your toes downward.
Plantar flexing actually allows you to shift your weight toward the front of your body. This is important because it helps you turn the direction of a moving skateboard in that direction.
Dorsal flexion is controlled by the tibialis anterior muscle, which forms your shins. It allows you to tilt your heels downward while skateboarding, so you can control the skateboard in the opposite direction of plantar flexion.
Ultimately, skateboarding is good for your core muscles. They stabilize your body and allow you to balance on unstable surfaces. This group of muscles includes your abs, the muscles surrounding your hips, and your spine.
Over 10 inner muscles referred to as hip muscles work to stabilize the hip joint. On the other hand, large muscles, including the trapezius, latissimus dorsi, and several inner muscles extend the length of your spine.
Benefits of Skateboarding
Many skaters are worried about whether skateboarding can make their legs big. But before discovering that, skateboarding is considered a complete workout in itself. It works the cardiovascular system, builds muscular strength, improves mental health, and encourages resilience.
Better Overall Fitness
Skateboarding can burn from 150 to 500 calories per hour. By exercising regularly, you’ll be losing weight safely and comfortably. Apart from burning calories, skateboarding will also help you build your muscles, including calves, thighs, and abs.
Skateboarding is excellent if you want to stay in great physical shape and uses up far more calories than most other physical activities. By skateboarding, you can also prevent some diseases, like hypertension and diabetes, strengthen your heart and internal organs.
Skateboarding can wear you out and beat you up, but you’ll still want to do it, day and night. And the more you do it, the more you’re able to do it. Why is this happening in skateboarding? It’s simple – it’s fun!
Skateboarding involves all of your body – your body and your mind. When you skate, you’re moving every part of your body and you’re moving them in different directions. For example – a simple frontside boardslide involves your feet and your legs, your arms (for balance) and you’re also twisting your body. Besides, there are all kinds of tricks and combinations representing a variety of movements that cannot be found in other sports.
Each time you don’t land a trick you need to make an adjustment. Either by changing your timing, your speed, placing your feet differently on the board, or changing the way you land. And you’ll keep doing it until you nail it.
Skateboarding is about coordination between your mind and your body and it gets better the more you skate. Precision and coordination are important skills you’ll need in everyday life, whether you skateboard or not.
Raised Pain Tolerance
Ask any skateboarder and they’ll tell you that skateboarding is pains and aches, scars, scrapes, bruises, and bumps. And if you love skateboarding, you can easily cope with these. It’s the fun and the thrill of skateboarding that compensate for the pain involved.
You’ll forget about pain and injuries, but you’ll never forget your first drop-in or your first kickflip. Each time you get bruised or injured helps you deal with it easily the next time. You’ll fall and you’ll get up,
Learning to Fall
One of the key benefits you’ll learn from skateboarding is how to prevent future injuries. If you skate regularly, you’ll learn how to avoid falling (hopefully), but also how to fall correctly. As a skateboarder, you’ll know where to place your feet and your hands as you progress with your skateboarding.
Over time, you’ll be able to catch yourself from falling. If you cannot avoid it, at least you’ll know how to minimize injury and reduce the chance of freak accidents. And you’ll also be able to get back on your feet (board) quickly and avoid falling on your face.
Tip: Have you been wondering if the guitar is harder than skateboarding? Opinions differ among many people.
Skateboarding is widely considered a great way to relieve stress by taking your mind off things or think clearly about them. It helps you handle other aspects of yourself and feel more relaxed about things. By conquering things like stair sets, handrails, concrete bowls, or landing tricks, you’ll feel confident and accomplished.
Most importantly, it’s all about happiness, fun, and excitement.
What about your legs?
Now that you know how your body works while skateboarding, we’ll move to whether your legs will get bigger. Basically, it depends on different factors, and it’s not the same for every skater. If you’re a professional and practice continuously and intensively, your thighs and calves may get bulky.
The reason for this is that regular exercise will transform the fat into firm muscles. Moreover, with intensive practice, your muscles will strengthen and grow in size and may look bigger. On the other hand, if you exercise moderately, focusing on improving your health, skating is more likely to make your body slimmer.
Your calves can get bigger if you skate frequently and with high intensity. Yet, this is more likely to happen in men because of growth hormones and testosterone. In women, it’d take hormone injections and a rigorous training regime. You’ll waste excess fat and tone your muscles, but they’re rather unlikely to grow bigger.
Why Do Your Legs Get Bigger When Skateboarding?
Apart from skateboarding, there are other factors that can affect your body and make your leg muscles grow.
- Genetic factors: If you’re gaining muscle faster than others, your legs will get bigger after a month of an intensive workout.
- Body type: The mesomorph type easily builds/loses muscles, but can also lose fat easily. ON the other hand, the ectomorph type is unlikely to gain muscle, even if they practice weightlifting.
- Muscle type: We use slow-twitch fibers for longer strength training and fast-twitch for short and energy-consuming activities.
- High-carb diet: You’re likely to have bigger calves if your body is loaded with carbs. The craving will make you eat more calories than you consume and gain weight instead of reducing it. This will make your legs accumulate more fat and it usually happens in women.
How to Have Lean Legs Without Giving Up Skateboarding?
As we have mentioned, skateboarding will only make your legs bigger except for the impact of other factors. If you want your legs to stay lean, there are some tricks you can try.
- A balanced/healthy diet: opt for protein and fiber foods instead of carbohydrates. In addition, don’t forget vitamins and minerals (crabs, shrimp, vegetables). It also means you should avoid prepackaged/fast food, loaded with salt and sugar. Ideally, eat small meats, drink plenty of water and never starve yourself.
- Use skateboarding techniques.
- Train regularly: Hard work always pays off. You may feel discouraged or disheartened, but in time you will feel the happiness and fun that skateboarding is all about.
To Sum Up
Skateboarding works all your body, including your legs as you balance your body during the movement. It helps you build strength, especially in the lower body muscles. By strengthening your muscles, you’re more likely to prevent injuries and also maintain your overall fitness.
And if you’re worried about skateboarding making your legs bigger, there’s basically nothing you should be concerned with. Especially if you’re a girl/woman. While your calves may appear bulky, there are many useful tricks and techniques to keep your legs lean.
More importantly, though, skateboarding will make your brain release dopamine, thereby significantly improving your mental health. It will also improve the quality of sleep, increase self-confidence and determination, alleviate depression and improve your social interactions.
More than health benefits, though, it can teach you patience, determination, perseverance, and courage.