Many people wrongly assume that exercise bikes only workout the muscles in our legs. With proper form, this equipment can actually engage muscles across your body. On top of this, upright and recumbent bikes each offer their own muscle-conditioning benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about which parts of the body are specifically targeted, you’ve come to the right place.
Using this equipment will work out your hamstrings, calves, hip flexors and quadriceps. Whilst an upright bike might appear to offer a more strenuous workout, a study published in 2005 found that recumbent ones are actually more strenuous, even at a low intensity. The study found that our hamstrings and quadriceps are used more on recumbent equipment, as your legs are primarily responsible for powering it.
When using an upright bike, keeping your abdominal muscles tight is important for maintaining proper form and control. The recumbent position, on the other hand, provides an efficient workout for our glutes and abdominal muscles. In order to further strengthen your core whilst pedaling, draw in your stomach towards your spine – this should tilt your pelvis and flatten your back. In this position, you can perform leg extensions by lifting one leg at a time or arm raises.
- Upper Body
With some concentrated effort, you can actually work out your upper body whilst riding an exercise bike. Some models have moveable arm handles, which can be used in a rowing motion whilst pedaling. The secure position of a recumbent bike frees up your hands to work with dumbbells or resistance bands. Keep in mind that your upper body muscles are naturally more engaged in an upright model.
It’s important that we don’t overlook the cardiovascular benefits of using this equipment. Performing spring intervals can help you to reach and maintain your target heart rate zone (where you gain the most benefits). To determine your zone, subtract your age from 220, which gives you your maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate ranges between 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate. Intervals can be performed by altering speed or resistance (incline levels).
We hope that the information provided above has given you a much better understanding of which parts of the body are targeted when using exercise bikes. Because this sort of exercise is considered low impact, it is ideal for beginners and those who have suffered an injury or other physical limitation (if you fall into the latter category, be sure to consult your doctor before working out).