Building muscle is a great way to increase your overall fitness level while also helping your body to more effectively burn calories. If building muscle is one of your goals, this goal can be easily attained with the help of an exercise bike. While exercise bikes are commonly regarded as a tool to help with increasing cardio, the reality is that the right routine can also be effective and building muscle in various parts of your legs.
Increasing Resistance to Build Muscle
The quadriceps and the gluteal muscles are the muscles that are primarily used when riding a bicycle. In fact, it is the quadriceps that are responsible for pushing down on the pedals. This process of pushing down on the pedals is similar to weightlifting, particularly when it is done with heavy gears. While the quads and the gluteal muscles are the ones that are primarily engaged when riding a bicycle, riding a bike also affects the hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and shin muscles.
One way to build leg muscle with a stationary bike is to pedal with a great deal of resistance. To build muscle, some experts recommend setting the resistance so you cannot move the pedals faster than 60 pedal revolutions per minute. Others recommend setting the resistance at a point where you cannot maintain the intensity for more than a minute or two.
Building Leg Muscle with Sprints
In addition to increasing the resistance, you can also help to build leg muscles with the help of sprints. With sprints, you pedal as hard as you can for less than a minute, thereby forcing your legs to put out a tremendous amount of power in a short period of time. Alternating between 30-second sprints and 50-second slower recovery periods is the most effective method for building muscle in the legs. If you are just getting started with your workout routine, it may be better for you to start with shorter sprinting intervals and then increasing them over time as you build muscle and endurance.
Targeting Muscles with Varying Positions
Making adjustments to your position can help with engaging different muscle groups and building muscle in various parts of your legs. Hovers, for example, can help to specifically build quadriceps. With hovers, you pedal in a seated position while holding your bottom about an inch above the seat. In order to maintain this position, your quads must support most of your body weight while also working against the resistance of the bicycle.
Whether you use resistance training or sprint training, you should utilize interval training to achieve the best results. This involves engaging in either sprints or resistance training for a short period of time before pedaling easily for a few minutes and then repeating the cycle throughout your workout routine. For the best results, most experts also suggest incorporating hovers into the interval training routine. It is also important to do muscle training on non-consecutive days so your muscles have the opportunity to recover and to build new muscle tissue between workout sessions.