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Recumbent bikes build muscles from calves to hips.
Riding a recumbent bike gives you cardiovascular exercise along with the opportunity for some resistance training, if you set the bike on a difficult setting such as one that mimics an uphill ride. It's meant to work your lower body, engaging your legs, hips and rear while you sit more comfortably than on a traditional bike.
If you're hoping to target a problem area with bike riding, you might end up disappointed. Although spot reduction is a myth, burning calories by biking can help you lose overall body fat.
Improve Your Looks
A recumbent bike helps you burn fat, which can make you look trimmer all over your body. There's no way to truly spot reduce; if you want to lose the extra fat hanging onto your hips, cardiovascular exercise - of any type, not just exercise that targets a specific area - combined with resistance training and a healthy diet is the only way to make it happen. Riding the bike for hours won't trim fat if you don't burn more calories than you take in. Riding the bike with resistance, however, can tone muscles in your lower half. These muscles just might not show through until you've burned off enough fat throughout your body.
Work Your Legs
The main areas recumbent bikes work are in your legs. They help tone the muscles and give your legs a more defined appearance. The hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs work as you bend and extend your knees. The muscles in your calves - the gastrocnemius and the soleus - engage as you rotate your ankles to push the pedals.
Tone That Rear
Your thigh muscles connect directly to those in your hips and buttocks, so riding a recumbent bike helps tone muscles in those areas as well. This includes your gluteus, adductors and abductors, as well as your hip flexors. Increasing the pedaling resistance, even if you do it in short intervals, gives these muscles and those in your legs more of a workout.
Add Upper Body
Recumbent bikes aren't designed to work your upper body, but, unlike traditional bicycle styles, you at least have the option to add upper-body moves as you pedal. Because the bike offers a sturdy back, you have support and leverage while pedaling and performing upper-body exercises.
For example, try seated dumbbell curls, where you hold a light weight in each hand down beside the bike with your elbows straight. Bend your elbows to bring the dumbbells up toward your shoulders, then return to the starting position for two sets of 10 repetitions. You could also try overhead triceps extensions or shoulder presses to tone your upper body.
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