Squats, lunges, and leg extensions are not the only ways to get big quads, you can also get what you want by using an exercise or stationary bike.
In fact you may be reading this article because other forms of “tried and true” quad building exercises just haven’t gotten the job done for you.
Another reason you may be reading this is because you want to add some size along with your strength, its always nice to look fit too rather than just being fit.
Whatever your reason is for being here there are a few benefits to building quad size with a stationary / exercise bike: (BELOW)
You can train practically every day
The eccentric phase of a movement is usually the lowering or negative portion where the muscles lengthen and stretch. Eccentric-less work removes that portion. If you think about pushing down against the pedals of a stationary bike, each step down against the resistance is concentric. There’s no negative because as soon as you stop pedaling there’s no resistance.
When there is little to none eccentric loading damage to the muscle is very low meaning you can recover quickly, even within a day.
Typically when we try to add size to our frame we follow the formula of breaking down our muscle through exercise and then healing those muscles through food and recovery in order for them to grow back bigger and stronger.
Because we are not breaking down much muscle with the bike we must rely on other factors in order to increase muscle size. These factors are:
- Fiber fatigue
- Lactate accumulation
- The release of growth factors.
If you have ever been on a stationary bike such as the Rogue Echo Bike than you have definitely felt the fiber fatigue and lactate accumulation that builds up quickly in your legs.
However, that pain goes away quickly and can be recovered from quickly, allowing you to come back the next day and do it all over again.
This is a huge benefit for people who want to hammer a muscle group such as their quads in order to prioritize growth in that area.
Quickness and simplicity
Another benefit of building quad size with an exercise bike is that most workouts will not even take you 30 minutes and you only need a single piece of equipment.
You can get in and get out with extreme efficiency knowing and feeling that you worked your legs hard without pulling out any weights.
Size without loading, training without pain
Essentially your entire body above your hips is taken out of the equation when training on an exercise bike (especially when you train the way we suggest below).
This is beneficial for anyone that perhaps has a nagging upper body injury or sore lower back. These people may still want to train legs, but feel that back squats or deadlifts may aggravate their pain. That’s where the bike comes in to save the day.
For people with knee issues the bike is also perfect because it doesn’t require you to have a heavy load on your body and it limits full knee flexion and extension.
“The quadriceps and gluteal muscles are the primary cycling muscles, but the hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and shin muscles also help pedal. The quadriceps are responsible for pushing down on the pedals, which generates the most power in the pedal stroke. Because you can push down on the pedals with all your might without the thought of having to balance yourself, stationary cycling causes physiological adaptations and muscle growth similar to weightlifting.”https://heatonminded.com/7-undeniable-benefits-of-the-rogue-echo-bike/
So how do we actually build quad size with the bike?
For all of the following workouts you are going to want to set up your seat height to the lowest available option. The reason why you are going to do this is because you will remain under constant tension the entire time which is going to contribute to that fiber fatigue and lactate accumulation.
Next you are going to make sure that you use only your legs. You are allowed to hold your hands behind your back, on top of your head, or anywhere else as long as you are not actively pushing the handles in order to help push the bike fan along. You are also going to keep your hands off of your legs just in case you get the temptation to push down on them to help yourself out.
- 5 sets
- Bike 3:00, rest 1:00
- This is designed to be just as much mental as it is physical. This workout may look easy on paper but if you push the pace and fight for every step your legs will be in hell.
- 8 sets
- Bike :30, rest 2:30
- This is meant to be an all-out sprint during that 30 seconds of work. If you push yourself hard enough your legs should be burning and full of pump. You should also need the whole 2:30 to recover.
- 18 sets
- Bike :30, rest :30
- 18 minutes of pure 1:1 work to rest ratios. From the first to the last set try to hit the same number of calories on the monitor. You will want to quit after minute 5.
- 2 sets
- Bike 8:00, rest 4:00
- 8 minutes is a long time to keep those legs moving, it will hurt and it will be hard to walk after. Then you will have to do it one more time.
- 5 sets
- Bike 50 cals, rest 2:00
- The faster you move here the faster you get done. With legs only most men should be able to hold about 12 calories a minute. Try not to take over 5:00 for each set of work.
You can perform these workouts in any order that you want and you can also perform them as a standalone workout or you can include them as a leg finisher.
Follow this program for 4 weeks along with your other training and watch your quads grow. Make sure that you try to increase the intensity each week by tracking your wattage and calories on the monitor.
As an added tip if you want to focus on the outside of your quads point your toes in slightly and if you want to focus on the inside of your quads point your toes slightly out.
For maximum effectiveness we also suggest taking Creatine and L-citrulline before your workouts as both have been proven to increase lean muscle mass.