What Part of Your Legs Does the Bike Machine Work?

Riding an exercise bike is a great workout.

Riding an exercise bike is a great workout.

Riding an exercise bike can help you get the body you have always dreamed of. Whether you choose to exercise on your own or join a group cycling class, an exercise bike can help you lose fat, get fit and also tone many of your major muscles. Make sure you adjust your bike machine according to the manufacturer's instructions so it provides the perfect fit, important for comfort and injury prevention. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

Front Thigh Muscles

The muscles you can probably feel working the most when you use a bike machine are your quadriceps, or quads. Located on the front of your thigh, the main job of these muscles is extending your knees. A secondary function of your quads is flexing your hip, which is the action of pulling your thighs back up toward you. This occurs as you pull your pedals back up ready to initiate another revolution of the pedals.

Rear Thigh Muscles

Located on the back of your thighs, your hamstrings have two jobs when you are riding an exercise bike. Job number one is extending your hip; they work alongside your quads in driving the pedals downward. Secondly, they pull your feet back at the bottom of each pedal stroke. If you wear cleated cycling shoes or your bike is equipped with toe straps, your hamstrings are better able to perform this role.

Hip Muscles

Your gluteus maximus, your butt muscle, is the largest and potentially the strongest muscle in your body. This muscle, along with other gluteus muscles, or glutes, extends your thigh downward as you drive your pedals around. In addition, your glutes also work with your adductor or outer thigh muscles to prevent your knees from dropping inward as you stomp down on the pedals.

Lower Leg Muscles

Despite being considerably smaller than your thigh and hip muscles, the muscles on the front and back of your lower leg play an important role in riding an exercise bike. Your calf muscles, properly called the triceps surae and made up of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, extends your ankle and helps to generate even more downward force through your pedals. On the front of your shin, the tibialis anterior muscle pulls your toes back up. Tibialis anterior is far more active if you use toe straps or cleated cycling shoes.

 

About the Author

Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.

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