Did you know that there is a really safe equipment that can be used for sports training as well as starting a physical activity programme from scratch? It is the stationary bike. Here is a guide on how to use it, how to exercise right and the benefits you can obtain from it.
You can have one at home or use one in the gym; it may help you prepare for competitive sporting events when the weather prevents you from venturing out or working out safely: whatever your requirements, the stationary bike is the best equipment for a controlled cardiovascular workout.
Since it allows low-impact joint movement, it is also suitable for those suffering from joint problems, elderly people and pregnant women.
But you must choose the right model and the most appropriate workout position.
How can you be sure to do so? By following our advice.
Using a stationary bike: what are the benefits?
The main benefit of choosing this equipment for your physical activity is that you will be able to perform a cardiovascular workout with low impact on all your joints. By using a stationary bike consistently, you can:
- maximise your lung capacity and stamina for everyday life;
- lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes;
- keep your joints constantly active.
In short, it will help you keep fit for longer while providing everyday stress relief.
Comparison of stationary bikes, treadmills and cross-trainers
In relation to the treadmill and the cross-trainer, movement with the stationary bike is even safer and has very few contraindications, even if you are in rehabilitation or have decided to start a physical activity programme from scratch.
Calorie expenditure is lower than in other cardio machines. However, you do benefit from total safety.
In comparison with a bike ride on the street, as well as not having to look out for dangers on the ground and the road (holes, grooves, motor vehicles), the inertia effect is a lot lower and therefore you feel less fatigued.
If, on the other hand, you are a cyclist or you like cycling outdoors, this equipment may provide an excellent training alternative when the weather is not conducive to venturing outside.
Classic upright, reclined and indoor: which is the right model for you?
There are three different models of bikes, which you can use depending on your physical condition and the type of exercise you want to perform.
Let's go deeper into the models of bikes.
Classic upright bike
Also called the City Bike, it mimics the characteristics and motion of a road bicycle.
The position you assume during this exercise is contracted, with the torso leaning forwards, and for this reason it is suitable for anyone wanting a high-performance workout.
Do you want to find out more about the characteristics of this model? Take a look at our Forma Bike.
This has a comfortable and accessible seat which allows you to assume a more open workout position, with the shoulders and back under control.
During movement, the body can be supported by a backrest which adjusts to suit your body; this means it can be used with complete peace of mind, regardless of your physical condition.
View our Recline Personal in detail.
The indoor bike is similar to a city bike, but offers mechanical resistance and has a special flywheel that controls pedalling speed.
This means that, through the power of your pedalling, you can adjust your own training intensity.
For this reason, it may be suitable for you if you are looking for a particularly intense aerobic workout or if you need to prepare for a competitive sporting event.
This is Group Cycle.
How to measure your workout intensity
When calculating your workout intensity, the parameter used is the Watt. This is a unit of measurement that measures pedalling resistance.
Another significant parameter for your exercise regime is the RPM value (pedal revolutions per minute) which provides a speed reading.
How can you achieve the highest degree of cardiovascular efficiency compared to these parameters?
Here is a very handy piece of advice, which has no impact on advanced training theories: you need to try and pedal at a higher resistance, whilst attempting to prevent at the same time your heart rate from increasing too much.
The best workout for beginners
The safety of the stationary bike means that it has very few contraindications and it is even suitable if it is your very first time working out.
The only advice we can give you, for increased monitoring, is to use the heart rate monitor, which will allow you to work out in even safer conditions as far as your heart is concerned.
Obviously, as is the case for any physical activity, you should avoid overexerting yourself. You should also remember to warm up beforehand and stretch afterwards.
Advice and precautions for safe exercise
The only thing you need to remember when using a bike is to adjust the seat properly.
This will make your workout more comfortable whilst preventing your joints from being subjected to unnecessary stress.
This is how to do it:
- on an indoor or classic upright bike: climb onto the machine and hold the handlebars. Then rest the centre of each foot on the pedals and make sure that the leg in the lower position is bent by 5/10 degrees;
- on a reclined bike: you have found the right position when, with both feet on the pedals, one of your legs is almost completely extended and forms an angle of 5/10 degrees.
How much and when to use a stationary bike
Compared to a treadmill or cross-trainer, you will need more time to achieve the same training results with a stationary bike.
However, to achieve a good level of physical activity, the ideal goal is 150 minutes a week, which you should then try to maintain for at least 3 months.