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How Should I Bike to Slim My Legs?

by
author image Lisa M. Wolfe
A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.
How Should I Bike to Slim My Legs?
A woman is riding an indoor cycling bike. Photo Credit Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

Cycling is an aerobic, calorie-burning, leg-slimming exercise when you cycle at the right intensity with the correct resistance. You cannot vary the movement of cycling. You push the pedal down to turn the wheel and move forward if you're outdoor cycling, or spin the flywheel if you're cycling indoors. Whether you ride a road bike or a stationary bike, you can change the leg-improving benefits by adjusting your pace or the resistance.

Speed Trap

Cycling burns approximately 450 calories an hour, according to Anita Bean, the author of "Slim Secrets." The calorie-burning benefits of cycling help to slim your legs, even though you burn calories from all over your body. To ensure you are using your leg muscles for endurance-building -- which trims the fat -- cycle at a pace between 80 and 110 revolutions per minute. This is a fairly fast pace. The RPM represent how many times the wheel spins within one minute.

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Tricky Terrain

The fast cycling pace is performed on a low-resistance level. If using an indoor bike, adjust the tension knob to a light level that allows you to comfortably maintain the 80 to 110 RPM pace. If you are cycling faster than that, increase the resistance slightly. An outdoor bicycling workout is performed in a low gear on a flat road to slim your legs. The difference with a hill workout is that your body contracts the legs more frequently which leads to muscle toning.

Monitor Intensity

The combination of cycling speed and resistance sets your workout intensity level. You monitor your intensity with your heart rate. Spinning.com, the creators of the indoor cycling workouts, suggest exercise at a heart rate that is approximately 65 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. Calculate this by subtracting your age from 220 and multiplying the result by 65 and 80 percent. As you exercise, keep your pulse within this range to burn fat and slim your legs.

Time It

Your cycling workout should be a minimum of 30 minutes. If you are unable to cycle for 30 minutes continuously, split up your workouts into 10-minute rides. Gradually increase your daily amount of time, but do not exceed 60 minutes.

Clip In

As you push down on the pedals, the fronts of your legs, your quadriceps tighten. To maximize the cycling benefits for your legs, wear cycling shoes with clips and attach yourself to the pedals. Using the clips, you are able to pull up on the pedals so your hamstrings help with the cycling. Your cycling form also makes a difference in your leg-slimming benefits. Position your thighs parallel to each other with your knees facing forward. Keep your feet flat, or your toes slightly up to reduce the amount of contraction in your calves and keep the workout focused on your thighs. Look at your shins to ensure they remain vertical at the top of the pedaling stroke. Adjust your seat if your shin angles forward or backward.

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References

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