What Does Riding A Bike Work Out?

Biking tops the list among the workout enthusiasts. This is because it offers a great cardio workout. Rigorous cycling can let you burn around 400 calories in an hour. It also helps to strengthen your lower body, which includes your hips, legs, and glutes. Cycling is a great choice if you are looking for a gentle workout for your knees, hips, ankles, and back.

Cycling gives you many options. You are not confined to a single place when you try out this workout regime. You can cycle on the road or you can go cycling up the mountain trail. You could also buy a stationary bike and cycle indoors.

How to start biking for a workout

Smiling couple cycling in park

If you have started to bike then choose to bike on a flat path or on the road. Once done, you can now look for a tough workout that will help to strengthen your upper body and exercise your core muscles. For this, you may want to try mountain biking. This is also what is known as off-road biking.

To challenge yourself you can choose difficult trails and different terrains. Riding the bike on a mountain is difficult because you have to navigate through the hills and the surfaces. This lets your upper body to put in pressure. Mountain biking is better than biking on a flat surface because it is a total body workout.

Biking on a flat surface only lets you exercise your lower body.

You can get a bike and start with 30-60 minutes at least 3-5 times a week. Make sure that you first do a warm-up before every ride. Start pedaling at a slow pace for the first 5-10 minutes and then boost your speed so that you start to sweat. To work out on a stationary bike, change the settings so that it lets you cycle at a fast pace.

Towards the end of the workout cool down for the last 5 minutes which can be done by cycling at a slow speed.

The body parts that exercise when you ride a bike

Riding a bike is a full body workout. It is a fun and enjoyable activity and it lets you utilize all the major muscles in your body. Although it may focus more on your lower body muscles your upper body also works out when you ride the cycle. Cycling on an incline or mountain biking adds to the benefits because this increases the resistance of the exercise.


Your legs have to work out a lot when you cycle. It has to push the pedals and give power to the bike. The quadriceps are at the front of your thighs and the hamstrings are on the back.

These are the muscles that are used primarily when you go cycling. The smaller soleus muscles and the gastrocnemius muscles are also used when you cycle. The quads get worked out when you straighten your leg to push the pedals down. The hamstring works along with the calf muscles to get the pedal round and back to the top.

Abs & Core Muscles

To strengthen your core and to work out your abs you should indeed try cycling. This helps to improve your coordination and balance. To help build the muscles for your core and abs, engage your core when you cycle.

This can be done by tucking the lower rectus abdominal muscles. It should let you feel a slight squeeze on the lower abs. This also lets you maintain the correct posture when you ride the cycle.


The arm muscles are not the major muscles that exercise when you cycle. However, they still have a role to play. Biking helps the deltoid muscles to work.

These are present in the shoulders. Cycling also lets the triceps and the biceps to work. The biceps are the muscles on the front and the triceps are on the back. When you grip the handle of the cycle, both the muscles work out. This works the most when you lean forward when riding the cycle.

Back Muscles

The lower back muscles give balance and stability to your body. This is the latissimus dorsi muscles. These muscles help you to keep your coordination when you cycle.

The muscles get stronger and are utilized when you cycle. When you ride up the hill or when you ride on rough terrain then these muscles are worked out more. This is because the muscles help you to keep your balance. Keep your back in the straight position when you cycle. When you lean back to try to avoid an arching position of your back.

Safety is important

Racing cyclist

Cycling is a complete workout for your body. However, it is dangerous too if you do not take the necessary precautions. If you do not have experience with cycling then do not start cycling on the rough and steep terrains.

Cycling is not a high impact sport but you can still incur injuries like lower back pain, muscle strain, and damage on the foot. Whether you are riding a stationary bike or are riding the roads outdoors, it is important that you maintain the proper form and always wear a helmet when you cycle outside.

How far should one cycle to lose weight

If your main aim to cycle is to lose weight then the duration matters more than the distance that you have traveled. You can use the GPS to check how far you travel when you ride your cycle for 30 minutes. You can set this as a benchmark and then decrease this time riding on the same route.

Eventually, your fitness level will increase which will let you cover more miles in lesser time and this will let you burn more calories. As you get comfortable, you can spend more time cycling during the week.

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The pros of cycling over other exercises

  • Cycling is a great exercise form and only a few hours of cycling in the week can show a great improvement to your health.
  • It is a low impact exercise that causes fewer injuries and less strain
  • When you cycle you use all the major muscles which makes it a good workout
  • You do not need extra skills to cycle, which may be required in some other sports.
  • Cycling helps to build your stamina and strength. It also is great to make you fit
  • You can adjust the intensity as per your needs
  • Cycling is a fun way to get fit and is the preferred workout regime for the adventure freak. It also helps to save money if you choose to cycle to work instead of taking your car.