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Recumbent bikes are a supportive and comfortable alternative to racing bikes.
There are several types of regular and stationary bicycles, and each has a slightly different effect on the body during a workout. While all bicycles provide effective exercise for the lower body, the recumbent bike has a more supportive seat and an easier peddling system. If you are thinking about using a recumbent bike to tone your butt and thighs, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Why Use a Recumbent Bike?
While racing and stationary bikes require the user to cycle in an upright posture, a recumbent bike places the cyclist in an easier, reclined position so they can lean back onto a pad with their feet extended forward to peddle. This position relieves pressure on the hips, knees and ankles, and diminishes strain on postural muscles and the lower back. Because of this, recumbent and semi-recumbent bikes are often recommended for people who are overweight, pregnant or suffer from lower-back pain. Recumbent biking is a non-weight-bearing exercise ideal for cardio programs seeking to reduce impact on the joints.
Muscled Used on a Recumbent Bike
All types of cycling, whether they are stationary or moving, recumbent or racing, recruit all the major muscles in the legs: the calves, the quadriceps and hamstrings of the thighs, the gluteal muscles of the butt and the foot muscles that flex and extend against the pedal. On recumbent and semi-recumbent bikes, the legs move perpendicular to gravity, making the work slightly easier and more evenly distributed throughout the motion. Recumbent biking, especially on free-moving bikes, still requires work from the core muscles to remain stable, but the wide, padded seat and seat-back make for more comfortable riding.
Recumbent Exercises for Toned Muscles
Cardio workouts on recumbent bikes have been shown to be less intense than riding on regular cycles. When working out on a recumbent bike, the heart rate, oxygen consumption and perceived exertion are all lower. But that doesn't mean a recumbent bike isn't effective. Using it for extended aerobic exercise will still burn plenty of calories, and high-intensity interval training on a stationary recumbent bike will burn fat and help tone all the muscles in the lower body after just a few minutes.
Recumbent cycling has been shown to be a good form of exercise for certain types of physical recovery, but recumbent bikes can have dangers as well. Proper form will help prevent injury, so adjust your bike appropriately. If the seat is too far from the pedals, your knee joints may extend fully and lock out during exercise, which can cause serious injury. If the seat is too close, the knee will remain flexed, which may strain the leg muscles.