Recumbent Bike: Muscles Worked

Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Jeff

Recumbent exercise bikes are great for cardio training, recovery training, muscle training, and of course, weight loss.

Including a recumbent bike session in your fitness plan will provide you with well-defined muscles, leaving you lean and toned. 

Let’s learn a bit more about this amazing bike while at the same time look closer at what muscles actually get worked when cycling on a recumbent bike.

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Abdominal workout on a recumbent bike

Because you are seated on a recumbent bike it looks as though if there is absolutely no abdominal workout happening. So here’s a question of interest; do recumbent bikes work abs? Believe it or not, it actually does. 


The position in which you sit on this bike inspires your abs to work during cycling. If you adjust the leg angle closer to the pedals you will feel your abs working.

Leg toning on recumbent bikes

Recumbent bike muscles worked


Now, will a recumbent bike tone legs might sound like a silly question. But it is good to know what is actually getting worked. Your legs are made up of muscles that power the movement on the bike.

The quadriceps that run along the front of your thigh, your hamstrings which are found on the back of your thighs, and the calf that is situated at the lower part of the legs are all involved in the cycling movement. 

This means that when you cycling all the muscles in the lower body gets toned beautifully.

Will a recumbent bike work your glutes?

Another question to ask is does a recumbent bike work your glutes? Surprisingly the muscles in your gluteal region do play their part in the rotation movement of cycling.

The gluteus maximus works the most when you cycle, but the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are involved as well. They kick into action when your thigh moves back, activating your glutes every time you push down on a pedal.

The glutes work in conjunction with the hip to rotate your thigh while cycling.

Are recumbent exercise bikes for sciatica?

If you have sensitive problems like the sciatica nerve which causes immense pain in your legs when you sit or stand. You need to refrain from any activity that would make it worse. High-impact sport needs to be avoided at all costs. 

So questions like is a recumbent bike good for sciatica must be raised before purchasing. 

The position you are seated on these bikes allows for no pressure on the back and legs which is exactly what you want if you have strain in the sciatic region. The recumbent exercise bike works the abdomen muscles and this in return is very good as motor control exercise like core stability is required for sciatica.

Are recumbent bikes good for cardio?

Because recumbent bike training looks so comfortable and effortless you must wonder if you are actually getting any workout at all. The legs move and that’s great, but is recumbent bike cardio?  

We know that cardiovascular training is a fast and effective way to lose weight and get your blood flowing. We are happy to say a recumbent bike is a great cardio workout. It is safe for individuals at every fitness level and at the same time you get a strong lower body workout. 

Can you burn calories on a recumbent bike?

The amount of time spent on your bike would contribute to your overall weight loss. So if you do a 30-minute workout for example it would equate to 260 calories burned on a recumbent bike. 

This is a good amount of calories in just half an hour. If you have the time and can commit to it daily, your goals would be reached quite quickly.

Are recumbent exercise bikes good for weight loss?

can a recumbent bike build muscle

If you are trying to lose weight recumbent bike exercise for weight loss is really effective. Interval training under the preset programs is where you’d want to be. It is a series of high-intensity workouts intermixed with rest periods.

The high-intensity periods are basically the same level as aerobic exercise and the rest periods involve lower intensity. It will help you shed that body fat in no time and along with that, strengthen the other organs.

The variety of preset workouts will keep your sessions interesting.

Muscle strength

One of the great advantages of a recumbent exercise bike is that the thighs, lower legs, and glute muscles are targeted on a recumbent bike. However, the abdominals also get worked on a recumbent bike

The resistance on the bike and the intensity of the programs allow for your muscles to firm and tone with ease. The fact that the seat is bucketed means that absolutely no pressure on the back. 

This is really great as it allows for a longer workout.

Alleviates joint pressure

Because you are angled in a good position with your legs out in front of you, this allows for little to no pressure on the joints. Low joint pressure makes the recumbent bikes ideal for arthritis patients. And it makes hard workouts, super easy.

These are just a few of many more benefits of a recumbent exercise bike. While recumbent bike negatives would be; additional weights that you may require for the upper body workout or that you’re in one position for the duration of your workout.

With all this said, can you get a good workout from a recumbent bike? Absolutely!

A recumbent bike may provide a more relaxed approach to exercising, but it doesn’t mean that the workout is relaxed.

Your muscles are working hard moving in the right direction targeting all the right spots. You practically get a full-body workout if you include weights for the upper body.


So when asked the question, why get a recumbent bike, the answer is quite clear. 

Not only is the comfort a big win, but you can get a great workout on this bike. The cardio and lower resistance workouts are effective, safe, and perfect for individuals of every fitness level. 

We now know it targets major muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, shins, calf muscles, and glutes. So a committed workout schedule along with a recumbent exercise bike will keep our fitness levels peaking for a long time.