Fitness & Equipment Guides > Do Exercise Bikes Help Build Leg Muscle?

Do Exercise Bikes Help Build Leg Muscle?

4th May 20

Exercise bikes aren’t a new phenomenon in the fitness world. They have a huge list of benefits for your health and fitness, but one that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, however, is the effect exercise bikes have on helping people build leg muscle. In fact, it’s actually a lot more prominent than most people think.

The motion that an exercise bike requires means that you need to use your legs to generate power no matter what it is that you’re doing. The thing is, that happens on both eh upward and the downward motion on a stationary bike. As a result, your legs have to do more work than we tend to think about.

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Quadricep Muscle Development

man on an assault exercise bike at the gym

A great place to start with exercise bikes and building leg muscle is with your quads. Your quadriceps are the main muscles that you’ll be using to push down the pedals and build up your power. They are the huge muscles on the front of your legs, and they are a lot stronger than you think. They hold you up all day, every day, after all, and help you walk, stand, and do everything else you need to do without you even thinking about them.

If you have the resistance high enough on your exercise bike so that you do really feel like you’re pushing down the pedals, and if you work hard enough, your quads are going to be taking a hit. They get a workout of muscular strength and muscular endurance at the same time, and the higher the resistance, the higher the muscle-building emphasis will be (although any use will still help tone up).

Hamstring Muscle Development

Your hamstrings on the back of your legs will be needed in your workout too. As you pull the pedals back up with them strapped to your feet, your hamstrings are doing all the work. Not as much as your quads, but still a reasonable amount. Aside from your glutes, these and the quads are pretty massive muscles, so they’ll see a benefit from your workload without a doubt.

As you concentrate on different positions and different resistances, you’ll see different levels of hamstring activation too. This allows you to tailor your workout routine and ensure that all of your leg muscles are getting the work they need to become bigger and stronger. Even your calf muscles will see the benefit of focusing on the pull-up.

Using HIIT to Build Leg Muscle

people on exercise bikes at the gym

The best thing you can do if you want to build up your leg muscle is to do H.I.I.T. training on your exercise bike. The beauty of HIIT training is that you are going to be using the highest possible resistance that you can handle, which is where the muscle building is going to be coming from.

If you set the resistance high and exercise in short, sprint-like bursts of even 45 seconds on, and 45 seconds off, you are going to be doing a tonne of work and building serious muscle over time. You can even do it standing so that your quads are holding your body weight while you are doing the movement, and add that extra effort to maximise your results!

We even have a workout built for this exact reason. 

Limitations of Exercise Bikes for Muscle Building

We aren’t going to sugarcoat the exercise bike; it does have its limitations. Like all fitness, however, they are not drastic. There are the more obvious limitations, such as having to do the same exercise for every workout and needing to take an adequate amount of time between workouts to build up and recover your muscle, but here are a few specific limitations to exercises building muscle, too.

It’s Time-Consuming

Cycling is a time-consuming exercise. All cardio exercise is if you want to do it to a decent level, and cycling is absolutely no exception. It doesn’t matter if you’re running, rowing or cycling; time will be needed for a full and good workout. Of course, this is the case with strength training, too. Using a stationary bike to build leg muscle is a challenge nonetheless and may be better used as a happy by-product of better fitness in general.

There’s a Limit to Resistance

woman on an exercise bike at the gym

The main limitation is the actual capability of resistance of the equipment. Again, this applies to all training equipment, but it needs to be said nonetheless. Using an exercise bike means that the maximum resistance is capped. As you do build serious muscle on your legs, there will eventually be a point where you can only do so much, and you become better at building your muscular endurance rather than strength. This type of plateau is just a part of fitness.

Ultimately, you can absolutely build up your leg muscles with an exercise bike. There’s no way around it. If you put in the work, you’ll get results, and it is as simple as that. There are limitations to it, but they’re always is when it comes to fitness.

If you are concerned about how far it can take you, why not look into some bodyweight exercises that you can do alongside the exercise bike to really hammer home your leg gains!

Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.