What Muscles Do Indoor Bikes Work?
Indoor stationary and recumbent bicycles provide an excellent low impact workout in the comfort of your own home and away from harsh elements such as winter or rain. Contrary to popular belief, indoor cycles target several of the body’s major muscle groups and not just your leg muscles. In fact, to maintain proper form on an indoor bicycle, almost your entire body will be getting a workout from your arms to your core to your calves.
Below, we will take a look at some of the muscle groups that indoor cycling targets and how to get the best workout possible.
Indoor bikes target your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps and hip muscles. While upright bicycles may appear that they provide a more challenging workout, the low-intensity exercise of a recumbent bicycle can be equally as strenuous. With a recumbent bicycle, your legs are primarily responsible for powering the machine, however, an upright bike will also target your core and upper body.
When riding an upright bicycle, keeping your abdominal muscles tight and engaged is essential for maintaining proper form and control of your movement. To further strengthen and target your core while exercising, draw your stomach towards your spine. This motion will tilt your pelvis and flatten your back. While in this position, perform arm raises while pedaling, keeping your stomach drawn in. Hold the arm raises for 15 seconds each and do reps of three before alternating arms. To begin, take 15 second breaks between arm raises and as you increase strength, reduce to 10 seconds of rest.
Don’t underestimate the cardiovascular benefits that an exercise bike workout provides. When performing sprint intervals and HIIT training, you can easily reach and maintain your target heart rate zone to maximize your workout. To determine the target heart rate zone that you should be aiming for, subtract your age from the number 220, which will provide your maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate should be between 60 to 80% of the maximum rate. To perform intervals, alternate the speed and incline levels on the bike. As HIIT training is intense, perform this type of exercise up to three times a week to allow for proper recovery.
A major benefit of stationary bikes is that they are low impact and do not place stress on your joints. Exercise bikes are also recommended for individuals that are overweight as they reduce mechanical stress on the knees, hips, back and ankles, allowing for daily, pain-free exercise with a lower injury risk. Regular cardio exercise has a number of benefits including lowering high blood pressure and regulating blood sugar.
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