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  1. #1
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    Do recumbants use the same muscles?

    Sorry if this has been posted before but I spend most of my time on the roadbiking area. It's getting colder in around my parts and I'm looking to join my local YMCA to keep some of the fitness I gained this summer on my road bike but they only have recumbant indoor bikes. Would I be wasting my time and should spend the $35 a month else where? Thanks.

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    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvonne View Post
    Sorry if this has been posted before but I spend most of my time on the roadbiking area. It's getting colder in around my parts and I'm looking to join my local YMCA to keep some of the fitness I gained this summer on my road bike but they only have recumbent indoor bikes. Would I be wasting my time and should spend the $35 a month elsewhere? Thanks.
    People who ride both recumbent and upright bikes typically report that their upright performance improves after getting used to riding recumbent bikes. Whether or not you'll stay sane while riding indoors is another question.
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  3. #3
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    They say that when starting to ride a recumbent you have to get used to using your "bent" muscles. But honestly I didn't notice any different at all except for that I was riding longer and farther than ever before and that my muscles felt all rubbery from the work out afterwards. When deciding on if I wanted to try switching to a recumbent or not, I tried the stationary recumbent workout bikes at the fitness center I was a member of and didn't really like them. For some reason the sitting position didn't seem natural and was very awkward. Fortunatly my real recumbent bike didn't have those problems.
    Specialized Tricross Singlecross

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    Senior Member charly17201's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvonne View Post
    .... but they only have recumbant indoor bikes. Would I be wasting my time and should spend the $35 a month else where? Thanks.
    In a nutshell. NO, you would not be wasting your money if you go and workout every day or every-other day.

    That said, yes you use the same muscles - but not as many of them and in a different way. Riding your DF you can engage a lot more of your muscle groups than you do on a 'bent. On a DF you get the whole body in to it. Legs, core, arms..... on a bent it is primarily your leg muscles.

    But if your at the gym working out on the recumbent bike, take an extra 15-20 minutes and work your torso and arms too. Or, alternate like Monday, Wed, and Friday do the bike; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday your other muscle groups. Then you'll get a complete program for your body.

    Most gyms that I've ever been to would design a program for what your goal/aim is. Talk to them and see.
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  5. #5
    pjgonwa
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    I have a recumbent, and when my wife wants to ride we go out on our upright tandem. We also go to the YMCA's spinning classes on Mon, Wed, and Fri which are followed by an Abs class then a sculpting. All the various exercise routines lead to a common goal, improve one's overall fitness.

    If you cannot make any of the classes the Y offers, I would recommend not spending all your time on the recumbent. Change it up and mix in the treadmill and the eliptical. Upper body weight work and abdominal workouts will help also.
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  6. #6
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    If you have the room at home, why not look for a used stationary bike on Craigslist. It's a lot more convenient than having to drive to the fitness center every time you wish to use it. I bought one a few years ago at the local Salvation Army as-is store. It was a friction type with a speedometer on the handlebars. They had several and were offering them for $10 each (on sale). Bought it, soon got bored with it, put it on the back patio for a year or two, and then put it out for the trash. It was gone long before the garbage truck arrived. I was glad I hadn't bought it new. Hope whoever got it has fun on it. I just looked up on our local Craigslist entering"stationary bicycle" under the "for sale/bikes" category and putting a limit of $50. Two came up, one very nice fan type for $ 20 and a friction type for $30. The number and kinds of exercise equipment that show up at garage sales should tell you a little about many people's persistance when it comes to exercise.

    BTW, the stationary bike will improve your cardiovascular fitness. Any exercise is better than none at all.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    The biggest difference, IMO, is that bents require a lot more endurance from the same muscle group. On an upright, you can exert a lot of power through your quads, then stand up and give them a rest. It's like doing set of leg presses. If you put 100 lbs. on a leg press, and then rest after every 12 reps, you can do a LOT of sets before you break down.

    Now try doing it with NO rest. I bet you'll break down after 50 or 60 of them. Part of the reason is that your quads are some of your biggest muscles, and you typically train them for short bursts of energy. This isn't very useful up a long hill in a bent.

    So yes, you are using basically the same muscles, but in very different ways.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
    If you have the room at home, why not look for a used stationary bike on Craigslist.

    BTW, the stationary bike will improve your cardiovascular fitness. Any exercise is better than none at all.
    Actually I do have a stationary bike. A nice one too, power read out, heart rate monitor, pre programmable routes and all BUT its in storage because I don't have the space at my new place. Luckily I'm only here for a year then back to the city. You guys really know your stuff! Thanks for the advice. I'm going to go for the membership and give this recumbant thing a try.

  9. #9
    Wheel Builder Bent Ben's Avatar
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    my calves never looked better after I made the switch to bents

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    Senior Member CHAS's Avatar
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    Some guys say nothing makes their butts look better than riding bents.
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  12. #12
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Do recumbants use the same muscles?
    Answer: Yes, the leg muscles.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Do recumbants use the same muscles?
    Answer: Yes, the leg muscles.
    With one big difference. And that is getting your leg to the top of the pedal stroke. With a DF, the pedal will be almost below you and with a simple accordian like lift of both thigh and calf it is pretty easy to accomplish. But on a bent, your leg is extended out in front of you. Your foot is several feet away from your hips laterally rather than right below it, so it takes a lot more leverage to get that foot to the top of the pedal cycle.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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    I was told that you will get a better "CORE" workout on a recumbent I'm selling my TT bike due to back issues and have been thinking of getting a recumbent. I was wondering if the "CORE" statement is true?

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    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cool breeze View Post
    I was told that you will get a better "CORE" workout on a recumbent I'm selling my TT bike due to back issues and have been thinking of getting a recumbent. I was wondering if the "CORE" statement is true?
    I don't think so. Recumbents are pretty much legs-only workouts unless you get a moving bottom bracket style.

  16. #16
    Junior Member Captain Creeg's Avatar
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    Similar but not identical

    I'm a 25-year veteran diamond frame cyclist and only just started riding a recumbent about 2 weeks ago.

    Due to how new the experience is, the difference in muscle group use is much more readily apparent than if I were making the same assessment after years of having ridden a recumbent. My opinion is that, for the most part, you are using largely the same muscles. I think you use your lower abdominals and calf muscles a bit more and your upper body muscles much less (obviously) than you would on a diamond frame. Aside from that, they're very similar in their muscle group usage (to me, anyway).

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    When I got my first recumbent, I stopped riding the upright bike and only rode the recumbent. For the first couple weeks I definitely had mild aching in one muscle in both hips, sort-of on the front/outside of both hips. It never hurt enough to prevent riding, but it did ache a bit. Other than that, I didn't notice any difference.
    ~

  18. #18
    fig
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    I just got my new bent last week, and took it out for the inaugural spin this weekend and boy are my legs tired. (rimshot please). Actually for me, it's a matter of determining whether it's using muscles differently, or am I just that out of shape. My legs felt like they had been turned to jelly, but I haven't been on a bike in a while, except for a few months ago when I took the DF out for my 12 mile loop. The good part is that after a 5 mile spin on the bent, I got off, and no pain anywhere. But, during the ride I was out of breath. I know I am out of shape, but I was wheezing like an asthmatic in a vacuum chamber. I am hoping that's just a symptom of me not being on a bike in so long. I know I will be able to work through it and need more time on the new bent.

    Can't wait to get out more and spin around town.

  19. #19
    Senior Member LWB_guy's Avatar
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    Some of the same muscles are used. But different muscles are used too. I too stopped riding an upright bike. The muscles in my upper legs became bulky by riding my 'bent over three thousand miles so far this year. Now when I stand upright, I feel like stretching my legs while keeping them perfectly straight. At the same time, I stretch my arm muscles, one upward and the other downward, arms fully extended My upper legs are now rock-hard powerful piston rods.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWB_guy View Post
    Some of the same muscles are used. But different muscles are used too. I too stopped riding an upright bike. The muscles in my upper legs became bulky by riding my 'bent over three thousand miles so far this year. Now when I stand upright, I feel like stretching my legs while keeping them perfectly straight. At the same time, I stretch my arm muscles, one upward and the other downward, arms fully extended My upper legs are now rock-hard powerful piston rods.
    I was a lifetime DF rider and bought a bent a few years ago. The first couple of times out, I could feel the burn of muscles not used to exerting themselves. In a DF you you mostly use the muscles in the front of your legs, in a bent, you tend to use mostly the back muscles. At least that's the way it worked out for me. BTW, after a few days, the legs acclimated to the bent and life was sweet again.

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