Exercise bikes provide a low-impact cardio workout that helps you reap the many benefits of aerobic exercise. You can opt for either an upright bike that mimics a road bike or a recumbent bike in which you lean against a backrest and the pedals are in front of your body. Whichever option you choose, if you use your bike regularly, you'll tone and build the muscles in your lower body including your thighs.
Riding an exercise bike is a form of cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise because you move your legs in a steady, repetitive motion for an extended period of time. This type of training is best known for its ability to burn calories, improve cardiovascular fitness and produce weight loss. However, every time you turn the cranks, the muscles in your thighs must push against a resisting force which helps tone your legs.
Turning the cranks on a bike involves multiple joint movements in the lower body. Every time you bend a joint, you work a coordinating muscle. Hip extension is a motion that involves moving your thigh backward during the cycling motion. This causes you to work your glutes, but also your hamstrings located on the back of the thighs. Knee flexion, which takes place when you bend your knee and move your heel backward, also recruits the hamstrings. Hip flexion occurs when you move your thigh up toward your stomach. Knee extension takes place when you straighten your leg from a bent position. Both of these movements cause you to work the quadriceps at the front of the thighs. In addition, you also work your calves, hip flexors and abs during the cycling motion.
Riding an exercise bike with no resistance might be beneficial for burning calories, but it will not fully tax your muscles. To work your muscles harder and tone them more quickly, increase the resistance on your bike. Some bikes will have a button to press to increase your resistance, others will have a knob below the handlebars that you turn to increase the resistance. The resistance can be adjusted to a point that you have to stand to pedal. This simulates riding up hills on an outdoor bike. However, don't work at this pace for an extended period or you could strain your knees.
Since riding a bike burns fat all over you body as it tones your legs, your thighs will appear more toned after progressive workouts. Gaining muscle adds to your fat burning potential because it is metabolically active. This means it causes you to burn more calories even while you are at rest. The more calories you burn, the easier it to take and keep weight off.
The only way you will achieve toned thighs from biking is if you follow a regular training schedule. Riding a bike every now and then will not cause favorable results with any type of goal you are trying to achieve. Aim for at least three workouts a week for the best results.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.