When it comes to building leg muscles, many people choose traditional forms of resistance training - such as weightlifting. However, the American College of Sports Medicine reports that weightlifting is not the only option for people who want to increase their leg size. In fact, by incorporating certain techniques, exercise bikes can be used to increase leg size. Consider including high resistance levels, sprint interval training and "hovering" to get the best results when using an exercise bike to increase leg size.
- Increasing resistance
Set a high resistance level. According to the American Council on Exercise, pedaling to high resistance levels is effective when it comes to building muscle mass in the quadriceps and hamstrings. for best results, set the resistance at a level that prohibits you from riding the bike at speeds above 60 revolutions per minute, ACE says. The higher the resistance level, the harder it is for the quads and hamstrings to work - resulting in muscle growth and physiological changes similar to those that occur when lifting weights.
- Sprint Training
Includes sprint interval training. During a sprint, the muscles in the legs must send out a lot of force to keep the speed high - producing an increase in cross-sectional muscle fiber area and greater overall mass.ACE states that alternating 30-second all-out sprints with 60-second slow recovery periods is most effective for building muscle mass in the legs. Those who are new to the activity or at a lower fitness level may need to start with shorter sprint intervals and gradually increase the time as exercise endurance increases.
- Hovering in place
Performing a "hover" while cycling. In a "hover," you pedal while keeping your butt an inch or two above the seat. To maintain this position, the quadriceps must support most of your body weight - while also fighting the resistance offered by the stationary bike. ACE encourages cyclists to incorporate "hovering" into their interval training to get the best results when building muscle mass.
- Getting rest
Get enough rest. As with all forms of resistance training, those who incorporate rest days into their exercise routine will see the greatest gains in leg muscle mass. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends resistance training two to three days a week for optimal results in increasing muscle mass. Failure to follow these recommendations can result in muscles that do not recover adequately from the stress of strength training.
Whether you use resistance training or sprint training, you should use interval training on an exercise bike to achieve optimal results. This involves engaging in sprints or resistance training for a short period of time, then pedaling easily for a few minutes, and then repeating the cycle throughout the workout. For best results, most experts also recommend incorporating planking into an interval training routine. It is also important to do muscle training on non-consecutive days so that your muscles have a chance to recover and build new muscle tissue between workouts.