Does Running Build Muscle? Top Full Information 2023

Does Running Build Muscle? Top Full Information 2023
  • BSX Insight

Running is one of the simplest activities on the planet, and with proper gear and preparation, anyone can do it. There are many benefits that running can bring out, but Does running build muscle? Let’s be with BSXInsight to learn more useful information.

How Does Running Build Muscle?

does running build leg muscle

In one study, a group of 12 college students who enjoyed recreational running completed a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. This consisted of 4 sets of running at near maximum capacity for 4 minutes, followed by 3 minutes of active rest.

After 10 weeks of HIIT workouts, they showed close to an 11% increase in the muscle fiber area of their quadriceps compared with the control group who did not participate in HIIT workouts.

Workouts like sprinting can help muscles grow.

Running is a great way to build muscle, prevent proteins from interfering with muscle growth, and decrease muscle protein breakdown.

On the other hand, running long distances can help increase muscle mass and prevent hair loss.

In a study of 30 male amateur runners, all groups experienced significant increases in markers of muscle damage after running distances of 6.2, 13, and 26.1 miles (10, 21, and 42 km).

The levels of these markers increased as the distance grew and remained elevated even three days later.

These results suggest that short-duration running with high intensity builds leg muscles, while long-distance running causes significant muscle damage, inhibiting muscle growth.

How Your Body Builds Muscle

The more muscle protein synthesis, exceeds muscle protein breakdown. The more muscle building will occur.

Protein is a key part of the muscle that can be tailored to your needs, depending on your diet and exercise routine.

If you think of protein as individual bricks, MPS is adding bricks to a wall, while MPB is taking them away. If you keep adding bricks, the wall will continue to grow – but if you take away more bricks than you add, the wall will slowly shrink.

In other words, your body must create more protein than it uses.

The stimulus of exercise, primarily weight lifting, increases MPS. This, in turn, leads to an increase in net muscle gain.

How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle?

How Long Does It Take To Build Muscle?

The time it takes to build muscle can vary depending on many factors, such as your body type, diet, and strength training routine. An Institute of Sports Sciences study in 2019 found that muscle-building can take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks, depending on your strength training.

Different muscles are used for different types of running builds. Slow-twitch muscles are great for long-distance runs, as they are fatigue resistant and focus on small movement and posture control. These muscles rely on aerobic excercise, which is perfect for endurance running builds. Fast-twitch muscle fibers, on the other hand, are used when sprinting. They are great for generating big, powerful forces quickly, but they fatigue more easily.

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According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine, power athletes have a higher ratio of fast-twitch fibers, which helps them excel in sprinting. Endurance athletes, on the other hand, have more slow-twitch muscle fibers, which allows them to excel in long-distance running. Why do sprinters tend to look more built when compared with cross-country and long-distance runners? The difference of emphasis in these fibers is what brings the explosive power needed to sprint.

So, where does running build muscle?

On the lower half of your body! However, just doing HIIT and speed training is not enough to build muscle. Nutritionists recommend using a healthy diet with plenty of protein and nutrients as well as muscle training and rest to build your muscles. If you are unsure where to start, consider consulting with a certified professional trainer who can help you create a customized plan for your needs.

Sample Running Workouts For Building Muscle

Short, high-intensity running workouts can help you build lower body muscle, especially in your quadriceps and hamstrings.

Here are a few sample HITT running workouts for muscle-building:

  • 6 sets of 20-second sprints at maximum intensity separated by 2 minutes of walking or light jogging
  • 5 sets of 30-second sprints at maximum intensity separated by 4 minutes of walking or light jogging
  • 4 sets of 45-second sprints at moderate intensity separated by 5 minutes of walking or light jogging
  • 4 sets of 30-second hill sprints separated by the time it takes you to walk back down the hill

Try to do these workouts 3–4 times per week.

You can personalize them based on your comfort level and training experience.

HIIT workouts can help you gain lower body muscles. Warming up and cooling down can prevent injuries and enhance recovery.

Proper Nutrition For Muscle-Building

Proper Nutrition For Building Muscle

You can do a few things to make sure you’re getting the most out of your running and do not lose muscle: eat right and make sure your diet has the right quantities of the following food groups.


Your muscles need protein to stay healthy and strong. Protein provides the essential amino acids your muscles need to rebuild after a workout. Without protein, your muscles would be unable to recover from exercise or rebuild themselves after microtrauma.

According to experts, to gain muscle, you should aim to eat 1.4-2g of protein per kilogram of your body weight. This will ensure that your body has the protein it needs to develop and maintain lean muscle tissue.

Everyone needs a certain amount of dietary protein to maintain muscle mass, no matter how fit or how often they work out. Some sources of protein are better for gaining muscle than others.

There are many factors that go into determining the quality of a protein source. These include digestibility, amino acid profile, and bioavailability (bioavailability means how easily your body can utilize that protein.) But what’s most important when talking about muscle development is the source of that protein and in which foods it is combined with other macronutrients.

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Secondly, eating a piece of chicken, along with some rice and vegetables, makes for a complete meal that can help you reach your fitness goals. Adding carbs to a post-workout meal from high glycemic sources, such as white rice, can help your body turn protein into muscle. Studies have demonstrated that this is the best way to reach your fitness goals.

As opposed to only supplementing your diet with isolated proteins, you will get superior results from the following foods high in protein:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey Breast
  • Lean Steak
  • Eggs
  • Milk (This includes fortified milk options like soy or rice milk, which are alternatives to cow’s milk)

Protein Supplements Are Equally Useful

You may wonder if you need to supplement your protein intake with protein powders. The truth is that supplements can help you boost your intake alongside a balanced diet.

This can help limit the number of amino acids you lose due to training. They also provide a convenient way to get your daily protein quota in one meal, and some people do better with supplements than whole foods.

Whey protein powder is the best choice for those looking to bulk up and gain muscle mass. It has been shown to provide the most benefits for people in this situation. Whey is a fast-digesting protein that gets into your muscles quickly, providing them with the nourishment they need after a strenuous workout.

Casein, on the other hand, is the slowest digesting form of protein available. Its amino acids are released over several hours. This makes it most useful for people looking to maintain/gain lean muscle or anyone who doesn’t like eating six times a day.

If you’re looking to bulk up and add strength, a smart plan would be to take supplements if you can’t get enough protein from your diet. Whey powder is a great way to make sure you’re getting enough amino acids, especially if you find it difficult to eat six meals per day.

Carbohydrates For Muscle Growth

Carbohydrates are not just your muscles’ go-to choice but also an integral part of muscle growth. Glucose, the body’s preferred energy source, is made up of carbohydrates. Your muscles use this fuel for everything from moving to contracting.

After working out, eating high glycemic carbohydrates like white rice or raisins can help you create more muscle tissue.

To have good muscle growth and repair, it’s important to maintain a good blood glucose balance; if your body’s cells are constantly drawing on all available energy, they won’t be able to use some for other purposes.

Some of the best muscle-building foods include carbohydrates:

  • White rice (quickly turned into glucose during digestion)
  • Raisins (about 85% glucose)
  • Potatoes (which can be oxidized for energy or stored as glycogen)
  • Whole-grain bread and cereals (contain complex carbs such as starches, which are broken down more slowly)
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You may be surprised to learn that dietary fat benefits optimal performance and function. And no, it’s not because you need extra padding. Your body uses fats in a variety of ways.

Some benefits of a healthy diet include: fueling exercise and muscle-building, maintaining healthy hormones and cell membranes, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K (which are found primarily in the foods listed below), producing blood cells, and keeping your immune system running smoothly.

The health of your brain and the rest of your body relies on omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are essential for reducing inflammation and keeping your body functioning at its best.

Optimal sources of Omega-3 are:

  • Fish oils (salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, halibut)
  • Flaxseed (linseed oil)
  • Broccoli (one cup contains just 7mg of ALA, which is then converted to EPA and DHA in the body)
  • Chia seeds (packed with omega 3’s!)


Water is essential for many bodily functions, such as hydration, digestion, and circulation. It also helps eliminate toxins, regulates body temperature, and flushes the digestive tract. But for athletes, increasing water intake throughout the day is crucial since this will help replace lost fluids through sweat while working out.

If you’re feeling thirsty, it’s time to up your water intake; your body needs it. If you’ve been staying hydrated throughout the day, you’ll be ready to take on that killer workout.

Does Running Build Muscle Your Abs?

Running is a great way to build muscle in your legs, core, and back. The largest muscles in these regions are strengthened with running, including the quadriceps, gastrocnemius and soleus (calves), quadratus lomborum, and spinal erectors (lower back). The hamstrings and glutes also work to a lesser extent if your run involves hills. This makes running a great activity for those looking to improve their overall muscle mass and strength.

Research has shown that running can help to build muscle in your abs. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who performed sprint intervals had increased muscle mass in their abs compared to those who did not run. Therefore, if you want to build muscle in your abs, you may consider adding some running to your workout routine. Let’s follow our blog to get more helpful information.


Our blog post has provided some useful information to help you estimate the question does running build your muscle? If you have any questions or ideas about this post, feel free to leave a comment or visit BSXInsight for more information.

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