A firm, shapely rear end is worth working for, and you can effectively develop the muscles that create a fit, healthy and aesthetic look indoors on a stationary exercise bike. The glutes, otherwise known as the butt muscles, are some of the largest muscles in the body and they respond well to workouts such as stationary biking that target them specifically to create a well-rounded, aesthetically pleasing physique.
The glutes are composed of three distinct sections: gluteus maximus (the most prominent portion of the glutes), gluteus medius (a smaller muscle on the upper area of the glute region) and gluteus minimus (the smallest glute muscle). Their primary function is to extend the hips and move the legs away from the body; they also provide full-body support and stability in everyday activities and movement. Working out on an exercise bike on a consistent basis blasts the three areas of the glute series for a sculpted appearance without bulk.
Correct Foot Position
Because it is not subject to the vagaries of weather and other uncontrollable factors that can affect outdoor cycling, stationary cycling is an excellent way to develop the glutes with precision. The glutes work in concert with the hamstrings and the quads, which is why foot position is important. Keep the soles of your feet parallel to the floor. Dipping your feet either forward or backward will shift the primary movement to the calves and hamstrings (back of the legs) or the quads (front of the legs). Exercise bikes with foot baskets or clipless pedals make it easier to keep your feet parallel.
Find Your Seat
The angle at which you sit on the bike can also affect the involvement of the glutes. If you sit straight up, you will tend to work harder with the quads or the hamstrings. By tilting your body forward slightly (be careful not to lean too hard on the handlebars, which can strain the neck and upper back), you will immediately transmit your effort and energy to the glutes.
To give your glutes a serious workout, increase the resistance on your exercise bike and stand up for an "uphill climb" interval. Watch your foot position and keep your body steady (don't rock your torso back and forth). This metered, controlled method of cycling isolates the glutes and, yes, you will feel the burn! Hang in there and be patient: At first your glutes may start to scream after only a few seconds of such intense isolated movement, but over time you'll be able to perform a high-resistance climb with greater endurance and less discomfort.
Michelle Kodis has been a writer and editor for more than two decades. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, is the author of nine books and has contributed articles to various magazines, newspapers and blogs. She is also a certified Pilates instructor and studies canine therapeutic massage/acupressure.