Does riding a stationary bike work the stomach muscles?

The number of exercise machines available to someone who is interested in physical fitness has never been greater. One of the most popular among these machines is the stationary bike, otherwise known as an exercise bike. Gyms and fitness centers have banks of stationary bikes, and you also can buy models designed for home workouts. The well-rounded workout provided by a stationary bike includes some benefits to the abdominal muscles.

Upright and Recumbent Stationary Bikes

An upright stationary or exercise bike looks similar to a real bicycle. It, of course, doesn’t move but the rider pedals in the same way. Many stationary bikes have computerised programs that allow the rider to tailor the resistance to his particular level of fitness. In addition, some have heart monitors and other features that help the rider get the most out of his workout.

A second type of exercise bike is the recumbent bike. This bike has a seat that allows the rider to sit with the legs horizontal while pedalling. The seat has back support. A recumbent bike can be more comfortable for someone with a weak or painful back. Recumbent stationary bikes also come with computerised features just like the upright bike.

Abdominal Muscles

Stomach muscles, otherwise known as abdominal muscles or abs, are part of the core body muscles. They consist of two types: the rectus abdominis and the obliques. The rectus abdominis muscles run vertically down the front of the body from the middle of the rib cage to the hip area. The obliques run diagonally along the sides of the rectus abdominis muscles.

Main Workout is for Lower Body and Cardio

Riding a stationary bike mainly works the lower body, especially the leg muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. It also works the gluteus muscles and the muscles that flex the hips. In addition, a major benefit of riding a stationary bike is the aerobic, cardiovascular workout. Stationary bike riding, however, does not directly target ab muscles.

Stomach Muscles and the Stationary Bike

Aside from the muscles directly worked by riding an exercise bike, there are side benefits as well. One of these is the workout given to the stomach muscles. Most of the work done by the abs during a bike ride is because the core muscles must keep the body upright for the ride. Consequently, an upright exercise bike works the stomach muscles more than a recumbent bike would. People who ride a stationary bike can work the stomach muscles even more by contracting their stomach muscles during their workout.

Other Stomach Muscle Exercises

To supplement the benefits a stationary bike workout provides to the stomach muscles, exercisers might want to do abdominal exercises to further strengthen and define them. Exercises such as the crunch and sit up target the stomach muscles specifically.

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About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.