What Muscles Are Used When Using a Pedal Exerciser?

by Danielle Clark, Demand Media
    Engage both upper and lower body muscles with a pedal exerciser.

    Engage both upper and lower body muscles with a pedal exerciser.

    Whether you just want some type of exercise during a hectic workday or have limited mobility and need an easy workout, the pedal exerciser is an excellent option. The pedal exerciser can act as a portable piece of gym equipment for those who travel or are stuck in a sedentary position for a good portion of the day. It also can be a creative exercise approach for those who have physical limitations. The pedal exerciser’s uncomplicated structure can be deceiving, but it’s a beneficial way to build endurance and strengthen the muscles of both the upper and lower body.

    Benefits

    You can get several benefits from using a pedal exerciser. For one, you’ll get an aerobic workout with a pedal exerciser that is also low impact and easy on the joints. Increasing the heart rate and breaking a sweat isn’t just good for blood circulation, but when incorporated regularly it can improve your mood, help you stave off obesity and even improve your heart’s health, according to MayoClinic.com. Pedal exercisers are a cheap alternative that can save you space compared to larger pedal bikes. Not only is it convenient, but the pedal exerciser can be used for both the upper body and lower body, giving you a full body workout.

    Lower Body

    The muscles worked with a pedal exerciser are similar to those worked when using a recumbent bike. The hips flexors, glutes, calves, hamstrings and quadriceps are all engaged during the pedaling motion of a pedal exerciser. If you purchase a pedal exerciser with a resistance feature, you can increase the intensity of the workout, thus engaging and strengthening these lower body muscles further. A regular pedaling or cycling workout can help to improve the strength of your legs and is beneficial to use for rehabilitation of certain leg injuries, according to Better Health Channel.

    Upper Body

    The convenience of a pedal exerciser comes in handy for strengthening and exercising the upper body as well. A portable pedal exerciser can be used with the hands when you secure it to a table or countertop in front of you, according to HelpGuide.org. To secure it safely on a table or counter, place it on a rubber mat before starting your workout. This cycling motion with your arms will work the biceps, triceps, shoulders and forearms. To strengthen and build these upper body muscles, increase the resistance knob or lever of your pedal exerciser.

    Considerations

    While pedal exercisers won’t give you a high-intensity workout, you can still get a moderate-intensity workout for your upper and lower body. Moderate-intensity workouts are still very effective; aim for at least 150 minutes per week to get optimal benefits, according to the American Heart Association. To get your heart pumping at a moderate intensity, you can increase the duration of the workout and bump up the resistance as well. Use the talk test to better determine the intensity and effectiveness of your pedal exerciser workout. You should be able to carry on a conversation or hum your favorite tune during a workout. If you’re able to sing during a workout, then you’re not working hard enough.

    About the Author

    Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images