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March 15, 2020

Does an exercise bike only tone your legs ?

Exercise bikes and leg muscles  

With exercise bikes, muscles do all the exercise. Exercise bikes are prescribed for several therapeutic reasons such as cardio workout, weight loss, brain relaxation, etc.; however, these bikes tone several major muscle groups.  The common misconception many people have is that exercise bikes are mainly workout for your legs. What many people don’t understand is that to work out your legs, you need to make use of your entire body. All you need to do to spread the work out throughout your body is to choose the ideal bike and maintain proper form on the exercise bike. This way, you’ll tone all the muscles in your body from the core to the calf. In this article. we will focus mainly on what exercise bikes tone. There are several types of exercise bikes and each has its unique benefits. We will start by discussing the most popular exercise bikes.

Recumbent Bike

This bike allows you to sit in a comfortable reclined position. The seat of this bike is usually larger than normal and it is positioned back from the bike’s pedals. Exercise on the recumbent bike applies less pressure on the joints, upper body, and low back. Workout with this bike is also less intense, therefore, it reduces the severity of fatigue and muscle soreness. It is the perfect option for those with joint issues, back pain or limited mobility

Dual-action bike

A dual-action stationary bike is less similar to a regular road bicycle. The handlebars of this bike move back and forth, applying pressure on the upper body muscles. Exercise on this bike ensures the mobility of both the lower and upper body. While you are pedaling and stretching your leg muscles, you are also stretching the upper body muscles.

Upright Bike

The upright stationary bike is one of the most popular types of exercise bikes. This bike is similar to a regular road bicycle i.e. the pedals are positioned under the body. It is perfect for cardio workout and it can be used while standing or sitting. The upright bike focuses mostly on the leg and core muscles and is perfect for beginners. In the succeeding paragraphs, we will discuss more on what exercise bikes tone and why they are the preference for thousands of people. Read on and you will be amazed at the versatility of this amazing exercise equipment.

Cardiovascular Fitness

exercise bike toning are more This is the most common and important workout routine. An exercise bike can be used to strengthen the heart and lung muscles because it serves as cardio workout. They relax the muscles and ensure the smooth flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body. The exercise bike can be used alongside aerobic exercise. This smooth flow, in turn, is beneficial to the human body in several ways some of which include the following:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Strengthening of the immune system
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve blood sugar levels
  • Boost memory and brain functioning
  • Help with insomnia
  • Lower stress levels, etc.

These are just a few of the many benefits of cardiovascular toning using the exercise bike. This is the reason for which it is prescribed by several medical personnel. To read more on which exercises are good for fat loss read How To Lose Weight On A Stationary Bike (Two Best Ways) or to learn more reason why read Are Exercise Bikes Effective For Weight Loss? Top 7 Reasons To Use Them!

Abdominal Stabilization

Even though your legs seem to do all the work when moving the pedal, the center or core is the place that generates this energy. Your core is composed of your abdomen as well as your pelvic floor and low back muscles. Your abs keep you stable on an exercise bike and prevent unprecedented rotations or movement of the upper body. This, in turn, tones the abdominal muscles as they are stretched in the process of keeping you stable. You can also increase the intensity of the stabilization by doing a few 30 to 60-second standing drills.

Hip, and Leg Muscle Toning

Exercise bikes help to tone your bum and the legs. When riding an exercise bike, your hips extend the thighs to push down the pedal during the first half of the pedal stroke. This works out mostly the quadriceps, hamstrings and glute muscles (gluteus maximus and gluteus medius and gluteus minimus). This enables you to work your bum using exercise bikes. Riding an exercise bike also strengthens leg and thigh muscles. During the first days, you feel sharp pains in these muscles after exercise. This is proof that the exercise routine is working. When seated on the bike, you stretch your thigh muscles strengthening them the more. You can increase the intensity for a short period (3 to 10 minutes). This forces your hips to work harder and it can increase the resistance on the cycling bike.

Weight Maintenance and Reduction

exercise bike weight management This is one of the key benefits of exercise bikes. Exercise bikes can be used to tone your weight i.e. either weight reduction or weight maintenance. Riding exercise bike helps to burn more calories than regular exercise. These calories are released as sweat. The more you sweat, the higher the number of calories burnt. When these calories are burned, the body uses stored fat as energy. As a result of this, your hip and stomach muscled are slimmed down and toned. This prevents excess fat padding that causes weight gain and reduces belly fat. Those going through weight loss routines have to put in more effort into this exercise. Weight loss reduces the risk of heart failure and obesity. According to the American College of sports and medicine, you should exercise for at least 250 minutes per week. This is recommended for those who want to lose a significant amount of weight.

Cycling vs Running 

Running and cycling are both very goods forms of cardio exercise. They are also two great ways to lose weight. While running, on a treadmill or on the road, will burn more calories than cycling, it will also place more stress on your joints, especially in the ankles and knees.

When it comes to getting cardiovascular gains, both running and cycling benefit you the same amount. Your heart will get stronger from both forms of exercise, allowing you to more effectively transport the blood around your body.

Running incorporates more of your muscles than cycling does. As a result, you will burn more calories when running if you are exerting yourself to the same degree. However, a HIIT workout on a cycle will burn more calories than a steady state session while running. Cycling will mainly work the muscles of your legs thighs and buttocks. This makes cycling great for toning legs.

Cycling will allow you to build more muscle, especially in your lower body. It will do so more effectively than running as you will be able to increase the tension on your indoor bike. When you cycle against resistance on the indoor bike, you are actually giving your lower body a resistance training workout. Running will not build muscle to the same degree. However, the constant impact on your joints will build the strength of your bones.

When it comes to toning your muscles, running will probably give you better results. This is because when we talk about toning our muscles, we are really talking about reducing our level of body fat. Because running burns more calories, it will get you more toned for the same amount and intensity of training. So, while using an indoor bike will help you to build more muscular legs thighs and buttocks, running will allow you to tone your legs more effectively.

Another factor to consider when you are weighing up between running and cycling is the cost factor. Of course, if you are going to be running on the road, then there is no comparison. All you will need is a decent pair of runners. That makes running much cheaper than having to buy an indoor bike.

Of course, if you choose to run outdoors, you will also be limited by the weather conditions. A better option may be to buy a treadmill for the home. This will probably end up costing you kore than an indoor bike. So, when compared on an oranges to oranges basis, an indoor cycle will cost you less money than a treadmill.

From this comparison, we can see that cycling and running both have their pros and cons. In the end analysis, you will get the best results by doing both running and indoor bike workouts. If you are a person with joint issues or back problems, however, you will probably be better off with an indoor bike workout.

To Sum up

Exercise bikes are ideal for those who wish to meet their fitness goals regardless of the weather. These stationary bikes are ideally located indoors (they are perfect for indoor cycling). Working out with an exercise bike is easy. You can make the bike seat more comfortable by adjusting its position and height.  They are ideal for almost everyone and are easy to comprehend. All you need is the zeal and desire and as well some money to cover costs.

There are several workout routines you can carry out on exercise bikes. Some require you to increase the seat height, change the seat position. With time, you will build peddling resistance which helps to tone and build several muscles. For those who are new to exercise bike you may want to read 6 Actionable Tips on Using an Exercise Bike for the First Time

These exercise bikes can be used alongside other exercise equipment such as an elliptical machine, rowing machines, weights, treadmills, etc. What are you waiting for? Begin your fitness journey!

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Steve (Qualfied Personal Trainer and Nutritionist)


Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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