What Muscles Does a Recumbent Bike Work on?

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The recumbent bike requires immense exertion from various muscle groups. In addition, it will have you working up a significant sweat while elevating your heart rate. You can expect to tone and lose those extra pounds in a short period of time.

What Muscles Does a Recumbent Bike Target?

When researching the question, “What muscles does a recumbent bike work?” you’ll find that it doesn’t target only one muscle but exercises a few muscle groups:

  • Glutes
  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Calf Muscles
  • Tibialis Anterior
  • Abdominal Muscles
  • Front of the Hips.

Like other stationary bikes, the recumbent bike has a marked effect on the worked muscles. However, because of the angle, you’ll find the muscles are targeted differently from how an upright bike works them out. 

On a recumbent bike, your hamstrings will be activated to a higher degree than when using an upright stationary bike. Also, while the recumbent bike mainly works on the lower body workout, the upright bike will give you a full-body workout.

The angle of the recumbent bike engages the lower abs and obliques and, to a lesser extent, the other abdominal muscles. An upright bike works the core more intensely because they balance you during your ride.

Body Muscles of the Lower Part



The quads are a collection of muscles that occupy the front of the leg.

They help the glutes in the pedaling process to drive the pedal down and help them to bring the leg up to the top again.

The adductors, the inner muscles of the quad, are also active when pedaling.

Often this dense group of muscles consists of four muscles, namely vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medailis, and rectus femoris.

Gluteal Muscles

Gluteal muscles, which are sometimes referred to as the “Glutes,” which is the main component of the butt.

These gluteal muscles occur every time the leg shifts from a bent position to a straight position, thereby taking a horizontal shape. When your leg presses the pedal, the gluteal muscles take a big part in making your leg stretch properly.

Gluteal muscles are a mixture of three muscles, namely Gluteus maximus, gluteus minimus, and gluteus medius.

However, the gluteus maximus displays greater engagement by assisting the butt when pedaling compared to the gluteus minimus and gluteus medius.

They make a more important contribution to the proper workout of the thighs when cycling.


The hamstrings are muscles situated under the upper portion of the thighs.
Hamstrings and quads are playing a game to make the knees flexible. You can feel the muscles being stimulated when you’re pedaling.

When you switch from a straight leg to a bending position, these muscles get triggered along with the quads and help make the foot hit the top again.

Calf muscle

The calf is found in the lower portion of the legs, behind the knees. You work on the main calf muscle called gastrocnemius when riding a recumbent bike. It helps to raise your foot or stretch your ankle so that you can pedal while your knee is straight. The soleus is a small calf muscle that also helps raise the foot to cycle the bike while the knee is bent.

Body Muscles of the Upper Part


Working out abdominal muscles

The primary aim of the seat is to enable your abdomen region in the workout session. If you try to change the position of the legs near the pedal, you can see that the abdominal area is getting more involved in the workout by driving the pedals faster than before.

As the abs play their game by having the entire body to engage in the workout session and balance to provide support to the whole body, they are called the stabilizer muscles.

Arm Muscles

the biceps and triceps are the front and back muscles of the arm. Any recumbent exercise bikes have a crank arm that uses a lot of upper extremity muscles. The biceps help the body to pull the handle, and the triceps help the body to drive it forward.

Back muscles: Lumborum quadratus and iliopsoas hold the spine tightly up and protect it.

When riding the recumbent bike, the muscles are still working on the upper portion of the body. Although even less than the legs, thighs, calves, and buttocks.

How Long Does It Take to Develop Muscles on a Recumbent Bike?

Exercise on recumbent bike

Beautiful slender legs or perfect buttocks are the fantasies of many. You can’t have it overnight, however. To do this, you need to work out consistently to be disciplined. You’re expected to see the findings in a couple of weeks. If you want to keep track of your muscle mass evolution, you should use a body fat scale.

Usually, you’ll start feeling the results of your workout after around 4 to 6 weeks. You’ll find that your legs, thighs, and buttocks are getting firmer. Plus, the workout will start to get a lot better after 4 to 6 weeks. So after 6 weeks, exercise at the same speed but improve the length and strength for a positive outcome.

Around 2 to 3 months, you will find that your thighs, buttocks, and legs have been much firmer and more muscular than ever before. You can now note that the fat mass has reduced and that muscle mass has increased a lot. As a result, the body will have an athletic form.

Final Word

The muscles worked on a regular upright stationary bike, and a recumbent bike is almost the same, there are some slight differences. With a recumbent bike, the muscles that get worked include the Hamstrings and Quadriceps, whereas with an upright bike, the workout is not as focused – you get a whole body and cardiovascular exercise.

The recumbent bike is going to be decent workout equipment for you. Since it’s soft on all of the knees, it’s healthier on the lower backs to get bigger seating and just better. Now you know what muscles are working on a recumbent bike.

I hope this piece of knowledge has helped you learn the value of the muscles that help you sculpt. So get your bike and start strengthening and toning your body! And believe me, it’s never dull to concentrate on what you want! 

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