What Muscles Does a Recumbent Bike Work

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Many people don’t realize that a recumbent bike works quite a few muscles that a traditional upright bike doesn’t. This can be great news for those looking to add an extra level of intensity to their workout, or for those who are just starting out and want to make sure they’re targeting all the right muscles. Keep reading to learn more about which muscles a recumbent bike works and how to make the most of your workout.

recumbent bicycles can be used safely by a wide variety of people

Are Recumbent Bikes Good for Cardio

Recumbent bikes can be ramped up to a high level for a great cardio workout. They seem like they are easy to pedal but if you increase the resistance it is tough to beat this cardio workout. You will really feel the burn in your legs and your heart rate will go up quickly. This is a great way to get in a good cardio workout without having to go outside or spend a lot of time on the bike.

Strengthening Quads

The biggest muscle in the lower body is the quads, and they drive a large portion of the power that is required to pedal a recumbent bike. If you are diligent with riding a recumbent bike your quads will start to grow in size and strength in no time. This is because the recumbent biking motion puts more emphasis on the quads than traditional upright bikes. So, if you are looking for a way to really target and strengthen your quads, a recumbent bike is the way to go.


One of the best things about recumbent bikes is that they are great for strengthening your hamstrings. On the backside of your legs, one of the parts of the body that can frequently get strained, pulled, or injured is the hamstring. A recumbent bike will give hamstrings the type of rigorous use that strengthens them and is a good proactive way to prevent the type of injuries that pile up from weak hamstrings.

recumbent exercise bikes background

Improves Calf Strength

If you want nice calves, the recumbent bike is a great way to achieve them. These muscles are worked intensely with this type of bike, and if you use it regularly, your calves will start to bulge. This will make you more explosive and have some nice muscles to show off in the summer when wearing shorts or a bathing suit.

The Glutes

Recumbent bikes are great for working out your glutes. The glutes are one of the muscles that gets the most developed from recumbent bike work. All of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus get worked out in the pedal rotation and are strengthened significantly. This can help improve your cycling performance and make you less likely to experience injuries. This is great news for people who want to improve the look and function of their backside!

Toning your Abs

Recumbent bikes are not the best way to get a great core workout, but they can be great for toning your abs if used vigorously. The best way to maximize this is to adjust your leg angle closer to the pedals, which will increase the leverage and intensity of the workout.

Compound and Cohesive Lower Body Strength

This is maybe the best part about using a recumbent bike – it is a natural compound movement that can be used even for people with bad knees. What this accomplishes is cohesive strength throughout your lower body, which helps prevent injuries that can occur when there are disproportionate muscle groups. It also tends to look better, as your entire lower body looks strong.

Upper Body

There are a lot of recumbent bike models out there with arm cranks that are great for adding an upper body component to your workout. They use the same motion as pedaling a bike, but instead of using your legs, you use your arms to power the bike. This is a great way to add some extra resistance and challenge to your workout.

best recumbent bike with arm workout main

These recumbent bikes with arm cranks are great if you want a bit of an upper body workout too. The cranks move in sync with your pedaling, so it’s easy to get a good workout for your arms. Forearms, biceps, triceps, and shoulders will all get toned and strengthened when you use this type of recumbent bike.


If you are looking for a great workout that will target all of the muscles in your lower body, a recumbent bike is the perfect choice. These bikes provide an excellent cardio and strength-training workout, and they are especially good for strengthening the quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes. In addition, if you work extra hard you can see results in your core as well. So if you’re looking to tone up your entire lower body, a recumbent bike is definitely the way to go.

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