Riding a stationary bicycle may help to promote weight maintenance, improve blood circulation, elevate energy levels and reduce the risk of several health conditions. According to Discovery Health, a site promoting wellness, an individual weighing 150 pounds may burn between 475 and 715 calories during an hour of moderate to rigorous intensity on a stationary bike. Although the stationary bike is designed to primarily target the legs, varying the level of intensity will help to target the gluteal muscles.
The process of pushing down on the pedal to propel the bike in a forward motion engages several leg muscles such as the quadriceps and calves, while the hip flexors offer support. This is true whether the act of biking is performed on a traditional outdoor bike or on an indoor stationary bike.
The leg comprises multiple muscle groups that help to support the functions of everyday activities as well as more rigorous activities such as bicycling. The quadriceps are a group of four large muscles that are located along the front of the thigh and aid in the extension of the knee during the push phase of the pedal stroke. The hamstrings are positioned opposite the quadriceps and assist with knee flexion during the lift phase of the pedal stroke. Both sets of muscles are the main components that power indoor and outdoor cycling. The calves, although secondary in utilization to the quadriceps and hamstrings, help to support the pedal stroke.
Riding a stationary bicycle requires leg movement patterns that use the hip flexor and gluteal muscles. The hip flexors, located in the front region, help to lift the quadriceps in an up-and-forward motion. Sustaining the pedal stroke requires the hip flexors to maintain a constant state of engagement. Although the large muscles that comprise the glutes help the hamstrings pull back in the pedal stroke, in a seated position they are less engaged.
Targeting the Glutes
Resistance is crucial to targeting the glutes on a stationary bark. Squatting slightly above the seat while pedaling is one method of adding gluteal resistance. Increasing resistance on the stationary bike to simulate a hill climb can also help to exhaust the gluteal muscles. Megan Tyner, ACE, suggests using an upright stationary bike rather than a recumbent exercise bike with a backrest because an upright stationary bike will offer greater intensity to a wider range of muscles, including the glutes.
Stephanie Lee began writing in 2000 with concentration on food, travel, fashion and real estate. She has written for Amnesty International and maintains three blogs. Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Irvine, and an M.B.A. from Concordia University.