Muscles That Stationary Bike Works (Everything You Need to Know!)

An exercise bike offers the best cardio workout that really gets your heart pumping. Depending on your preferred intensity a cycling routine has many benefits. For an exhilarating cardio workout that will have oxygenated blood flowing and your blood pressure maintained, go for a biking routine. If you also want to lose weight, riding a stationary bike is a real calorie burner. Exercise bikes also improve your overall mood and sleep pattern with the secretion of endorphins hormone.

In fact, according to fitness experts, regular training on a stationary bike can even add to the longevity of your life. Reference is usually made to Dr. Chi Wen’s study where he found that just 15 minutes of physical activity every day can add you 3 years. This was a study conducted over 12 years on more than 400,000 people.

While stationary bikes are usually low impact workouts that are easy on your joints, they also tone your muscles in all the right places. The way to do this is if you dial up the pedaling resistance. Even though cycling is low impact, it can be dialed up to be demanding by setting high resistance. Once you have gone up, you will definitely use more effort to pedal. With the exertion of more effort, you get to push your muscles harder and lead to better results.

Simply put, if you want to lose weight, build your muscle mass and get a leaner body, go for a stationary bike. Broadly, stationary bikes work your quads, leg muscles, arms, calves, abs and bum. This article illustrates more on these muscles that a muscles stationary bike tones. It also gives pointers on a workout routine that is effective to have well-defined muscles after riding on a stationary bike.

To begin with, it is important to note that muscles only come about after constant training at relatively high intensity. It might be difficult and even painful at first but with more pushing, you will eventually start seeing results. According to fitness experts, you can begin to feel your body firming up after 4-6 weeks of regular training on a stationary bike. You certainly will not have perfect abs, legs and bum overnight.

Here are the muscles that are built after training on a stationary bike

Your heart

It goes without saying that indoor cycling is a complete cardiovascular workout. With proper resistance, you will also be flexing and working your heart muscles. Like all other muscles in your body, the heart also needs regular training so as to be healthy.

A stationary bike firm up your heart muscles and leads to innumerable health benefits. First, you will notice a less stressed heart that beats less frequently. To check on this progress, you can use an optical heart rate monitor to measure your pulse rest. Before you start training check on the beats per minute, then observe the improvement after 3 to 4 weeks.

A stationary bike working your heart muscles also reduces the chances of having cardiovascular issues. For example, with regular riding, it will be less likely to have a stroke.

Leg and thighs

muscles that are built after training on a stationary bike

Indoor bikes usually take a toll on your lower body. When set at proper resistance, a stationary bike works the hamstrings, quadriceps and thighs as well. With every stroke of the pedal, your legs become more athletic and defined. The calves, also known as triceps sural are also worked on a stationary bike.

For visible results, you have to keep pushing on for a while. After 4-6 months you will begin to notice your body is more athletic with tangible muscle mass improvement. To track your progress, consider purchasing a body fat scale. With regular and constant training 3 months later, you will be rather impressed about the muscle gained on your legs and thighs.

A stationary bike is the best home fitness equipment to build up and refine the muscles on your legs and thighs.

Gluteus (glutes)

When pushing the pedals, you also flex your bum. The three muscles you work specifically are gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus.

If you are looking to firm up your buttocks, a stationary bike does that. As long as you have set the resistance high, you will get results. Do this at intervals of standing, seating and at reduced levels of intensity. With persistent training, you will get the perfect butt in. Remember this cannot happen overnight and requires a lot of effort from you. For one, to have a firm butt, go for high resistance training.


If you maintain good posture and you are consistent with your training, you will also get your abdominal region toned. This is particularly so in a recumbent bike whose semi-reclined position greatly works your core.

For stellar results on other exercise bikes as well, there a few things you can do. First, clench and keep your abs tight throughout your workout. Also, consider riding one handed for brief periods with one arm tucked behind your back. By doing this, you will be greatly enhancing your core as it keeps your abs contracted. Also, sitting up straight with a slightly forward leaning stance can make a whole lot of difference.

A stationary bike also tones your abs better when you do interval training that involves standing. When you stand at intervals, this forces you to work your core as well.

muscles that are built after training on a stationary bike


While stationary bikes are adored for proper lower body workout, they also tone your upper body depending on the level of intensity you are exercising at. In some stationary bikes like the cross trainer, you get upper body toning. If you go for a high resistance on a cross trainer, for instance, it enhances your triceps and biceps. The more you tighten the pedals and handlebars, the more you will be working the muscles in your arm. With every stroke and pedaling out of the saddle, your arms firm up.

For added benefits, consider lifting weights or using dumbbells to supplement your workout.

Routine to build muscle mass

To get all the right muscles toned, here is a draft workout plan that you can tweak to suit you. The first step is to stretch out and warm up for 10 minutes. Once done, hit the pedal while starting at moderate resistance as you move up. Once you are at high resistance, consider interval training. To tone, do a HIIT training session 2-3 times in a week for 30-45 minutes. Also factor in recovery phases so that you do not burn out because of fatigue.

Alternatively, another plan is to do combined cardio and HIIT workouts 3-4 times a week for an hour. No matter which one you settle for, remember that the real deal is in high intensity. At low resistance, you will hardly increase your muscle mass.

Safety Tips

For pumped workout sessions that will lead to toning of the muscles stated above; remember that no pain, no gain. If you set the resistance level at the lowest possible resistance, you cannot expect much improvement regarding your muscles. Fast pedaling at low resistance is a great cardio workout. However, if you want to tone your muscles, you have to psyche yourself up and go for high resistance. The more you train at high intensity, the more muscles you build up.

Even though high resistance has all these amazing benefits, you should slowly work yourself to it. Your fitness level greatly determines what kind of workout to go for. For example, if you want to build your muscles but you have chronic knee or back pain, you should sit that one out. Be easy on yourself and gradually move from low resistance to moderate than finally high resistance.

Another safety tip is that you should work on your form before getting into intense workouts. To avoid injuries like muscle pain and tendinitis, make sure you have a good upright posture before hitting the pedal at high resistance. Also, check on your bike’s set up. For optimal comfort and minimal strain, the seat should be at hip level and the handlebars within easy reach.

Finally, come up with a workout plan. You can either do this on your own or have a professional trainer direct you on how to hit your targets.


Riding a stationary bike is something your body will thank you for. It has so many health benefits. Some are heart health, improved blood flow, better sleep and mood levels, more strength and as well as weight loss. Another notable benefit of working out on a stationary bike is that it tones muscles. This guide has illustrated in all the areas that a stationary bike works.

Remember, for all these satisfying results, you have to be committed to your workout routine. It also won’t hurt to have a professional trainer look over your plan. Has it tweaked so as to focus on the areas you want to change?