Tips and tricks to have the best exercise bike workout

Using an exercise bike at home or in the gym can be useful to prepare for sports competitions or when the weather does not allow you to go out or to train safely. It is also a great piece of kit for HIIT high intensity training sessions or for general cardio workouts.

Exercise bikes are chosen by professional sportsmen or wellness novices, but also by those with joint problems or special conditions such as pregnancy.
Whatever your fitness goals, an exercise bike is the right tool for a cardiovascular workout where everything is under control, provided you choose the right model and the right work out position.

Here is a guide to understand how to use it, how to do the right exercise bike workout and what benefits you get from using a stationary bike.

What are the benefits of a stationary exercise bike?

Until recently I used topedal often, obtaining balance, desire and a willingness to do. Margherita Hack

The main benefit you get is the ability to perform a low-impact joint cardiovascular workout. But the benefits do not end there. Let's discover together the main ones.
Makes you happier
John Ratey, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, in his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, tells of patients who after a year of "cycling therapy" were greatly improved by severe depression. In short, the scientists who have been studying the benefits of cycling on our brains for years agree: pedalling lowers stress and reduces depression. Simply put, it offers happiness.
Protects the heart
Studies have shown that cycling is useful for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and prevents it from worsening in the elderly. Cycling, in fact, is a resistance sport and cycling gradually strengthens not only the heart but also lung ventilation.
Lose weight
One hour of cycling burns up to 500 calories. A valid ally against being overweight, especially in women: according to a research published in Archives of Internal Medicine, which studied the beneficial effects of cycling on pre-menopausal overweight women, an hour of cycling, several times a week, has slimming effects.
Keeps joints active
Unlike running, cycling is a low-impact sport: by pedalling, we do not put pressure on the lower limb joints. That's why it is recommended for knees. Cycling improves muscle metabolism, especially for the benefit of buttocks, thighs and calves. Not only that. It also strengthens the muscles and bones of the dorsal area, so the back also benefits.
Increase life expectancy
The more you pedal intensely, the longer your life expectancy is, especially because you avoid heart disease. It is supported by a Danish study: for women, 2 to 3 years old, and for men, from 4 to 5 years old.
training at home, even for as little as 30 minutes a day, is fundamental to stay healthy

How to train on a stationary bike

How to measure training intensity

In professional cycling, the key values with which performance is measured are power and speed. The first, expressed in watts, is measured with power metres applied to exercise bikes and determines the rigorous method on which to base your workouts.

Another important parameter is the speed translated into RPM, revolutions per minute. And if we are not the new Nibali? How do we understand if we are doing effective but safe training?

Here is a very practical tip without disturbing the advanced theories of training: pedalling with a higher endurance and trying, in the same time unit, not to raise your heart rate too much.

A beginners exercise bike workout

Thanks to its characteristics, the stationary bike has very few contraindications and can be used even if we are beginners in the world of fitness. The only advice we can give, for greater control, is to use the heart rate monitor, which will allow you to perform an even safer exercise for your heart. Obviously this is true for every physical activity and the advice is to let the exercise be preceded and followed by an adequate initial warm-up and final stretching phase.
You need to have a very high target, a very low expectation and a constant commitment (Buddhist saying).
Riding on a stationary bike is a good cardiovascular exercise with many benefits but it would be wrong to think that these are immediate. Everything is a gradual process, which requires constancy and commitment. Compared to a treadmill or crosstrainer, the exercise bike takes longer to achieve the same training results.

However, for a good level of physical activity, it is ideal to reach 150 minutes per week, trying to be constant for at least 3 months.

How to achieve the correct position on a stationary bike

There are 5 points of contact with a stationary bike: the two hands on the handlebar, the two feet on the pedals and the pelvis on the saddle. It goes without saying that these distances cannot be changed and vary depending on the ability of the cyclist, so what we can do is adapt the bike to our build.

An incorrect position can cause some problems: for example, too high saddle height leads us to strain with the thigh muscles to follow the rotation of the pedals and this causes muscle overloads and early fatigue, not to mention that pedalling itself is less effective.

Biking adjustment
The adjustment of an indoor stationary bike is certainly simpler than a racing bike. However, it is good to follow some tricks.
Here's how to do it:

  • on a bike: climb up the bike and grab the handlebar. Then place the metatarsus (they are between the tarsal bones of the hind and mid-foot and the phalanges of the toes) on the pedals and make sure that one of the lower legs is bent by 5/10 degrees;
  • on a reclined bike: find the correct position when, with both feet on the pedal, one of the legs is almost completely flat and forms an angle of 5 / 10 degrees.
Indoor cycling bike adjustment
A separate chapter deserves the regulation of indoor stationary bikes.

  • Seat height. Position yourself next to the bike and check that the saddle is at the intersection of the femur and hip. Then sit on the saddle and place the heels on the pedal. Make sure that the foot does not lose contact with the pedal during a complete turn and that when the pedal is at its lowest point, the leg is spread but not completely (approximately 95%).
  • Adjusting the handlebar. Optimal adjustment means that it is just as high as the saddle. In the case of newcomers or people with physical problems (back pain, pregnancy), you can opt for a slightly higher height. As a general rule, the handlebar should allow a comfortable position of the arms (not fully extended), a secure grip in different positions, and a consequent general "dynamic" position (at the level of the torso and arms).
  • Seat horizontal adjustment. When pushing downwards, while the pedal is at 3 o' clock, we must check that the centre pin of the pedal is in line with the front of the knee.

How to choose the right stationary bike

There are three different stationary bike models that we can use depending on our physical condition and the type of exercise we want to do. The basic movement does not change, it is always a pedal stroke, but the execution and position are different. The three different bikes are:

  • Classic vertical bike
  • Recline bike
  • Bike for Indoor cycling

Classic vertical Bike

Basically, this stationary bike resumes the characteristics and movement of a road bicycle. The position during exercise is closed, with the bust tilted forward, and is therefore suitable for those who want a performance workout.

Recline bike

This stationary bike has a comfortable and accessible seat that allows a more open working position; during movement the back and shoulders rest on an adjustable backrest, always receiving adequate support. You can use it in any physical condition in total tranquility.

Bike for indoor cycling

This type of stationary bike has a mechanical resistance and a particular flywheel: the intensity of the training is changed as the pedal power varies.Used alone or in classes, it is particularly suitable if you want to perform a particularly intense aerobic workout or prepare for a sports competition.

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