Building Leg Muscles with a Recumbent Exercise Bike

Recumbent bikes differ from traditional upright bikes due to the position of the seat. Recumbent bikes have a bucket-like seat that takes the pressure off the rider’s lower back area.

When a rider sits on a recumbent bike, the body weight is off the pubic bone. This has the desired effect of distributing the pressure evenly across the buttocks and back area.

Recumbent BikesRecumbent bikes are often effective for people with injuries because they remove some of the stress on the joints.

Benefits of Exercising with Recumbent Bike

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, stationary biking can burn up to 250 calories in 30 minutes.

These exercise machines have the added luxury of allowing you to work out in the comfort of your own home during inclement weather.

Recumbent bikes are an effective alternative to traditional cycles. The rider can choose between various settings that simulate an actual bike ride.

You can customize a workout program to fit your fitness goals. Programs often include cardio, fat burning, hills, interval training and muscle building.

Professional cyclist legs are far from puny. Their powerful leg muscles have to push them up steep hills. If your goal is to have strong legs, a stationary recumbent bike will assist in developing bulging quadricep and gluteal muscles.

Recumbent Bike Exercise Routine

To pack on the muscle, you will need to pedal with resistance. Here are a few ways to do this:


Pedal as fast as you can for one minute at a high resistance level. During the rest period, lower the resistance and pedal at a normal rate for one minute. Try to do at least five repetitions of this during a fifteen to twenty minute workout.


Pedal in a seated position with your buttocks lifted about an inch off the seat. This is usually done on an upright bike, but can also be performed on recumbent bikes that have handles located near the seat. Use your hands and arms to brace yourself, while you continue to pedal. This will work different areas of the quadriceps and gluteal muscles.

For best results, limit your muscle building workouts to three days a week. You can still ride the bike on your off days at a lower intensity. This will give your muscles time to recover.

What Muscles Are Worked During Recumbent Biking?

There are five main muscles that help power the pedals during a recumbent bike workout. Every time you generate force by pushing down on the pedals, the fibers in the following muscles are actively recruited:


These are the muscles that are located on the back of your thigh. They work in opposition to the quadriceps muscles in the front of your legs. They also help the knee to bend during the pedaling.


These large group of muscles run down the front of your leg from the hip to just above the knee. These thick muscles are engaged every time you push down on the pedal.

When you add resistance, these muscles will do the majority of the work in pushing the pedals forward.

Gluteal Muscles

These muscles are compromised of the gluteal maximus, medius, and minimus. The gluteus maximus tightens and releases power during the pedaling movement.

The gluteus medius and minimus also assist in rotating your hips during the range of motion.

Soleus and Gastrocnemius

These are your calf muscles that are responsible for lifting your heels during the upward motion of the pedal. They also help to extend the ankle when your knee is straight.

Abdominal Muscles

Due to the angle of the bucket seat on a recumbent bike, your abdominal muscles are frequently engaged. To help employ these muscles during riding, tighten your stomach and maintain good posture.

Bottom Line

Recumbent bikes are an effective way to meet your cardiovascular goals. At the same time, they will challenge all the muscles of your legs.

These exercise machines are also easier on your joints and can be used in the comfort of your own home. Perhaps one of the best benefits of recumbent bikes is their versatility. They are a valid alternative for many people who are unable to run or ride an upright bike because of injury.

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