So, you’ve got a stationary bike in front of you that’s somewhat different from the ones you are used to seeing. The pedals are positioned in front. It has a larger seat with a backrest. And, you have to be in a reclined position to get it to work. That, my friend, is a recumbent bike and, in this article, we will show you just how to use recumbent bikes.
But before that, let us look at the merits of using a recumbent bike over the traditional upright bike and other exercise equipment.
Benefits of Using a Recumbent Bike
- Lower spine-friendly
With a larger seat and a backrest, a recumbent bike provides good back support and places less stress on your lower spine. If you have back problems, then you will find this bike a good exercise option for you. Not to mention, it is also more comfortable.
- Easy on your joints
Because a recumbent bike is designed to have you in a reclined position while working your glutes and quads, it will not be as hard on your joints as running, jumping, or cycling on an upright bike.
It is good exercise equipment for individuals falling in a broad spectrum of fitness level. Even the disabled, the elderly, and the heavy-set can benefit from them. Additionally, a recumbent bike can be used for warm-up, cool-down, and cardio workouts.
Whether it is raining cats and dogs outside, or the temperature is too hot, you won’t miss your exercise session. You can reap the benefits of cycling without the hassle of braving the weather, traffic, or what have you.
- Stamina and strength building
With an option to adjust the resistance level, this stationary bike lets you get more from your exercise. Besides promoting cardio health, a recumbent bike is great for developing your muscle strength.
- Lets you multitask
Want to read a book while pedaling? With its recumbent design, it allows you to do that.
How to Use Recumbent Bikes?
If you know how to use an upright bike, then you will find using a recumbent bike quite intuitive except for some small adjustments you need to make. Here’s how to use one:
Step 1: Straddle the bike.
Step 2: Secure feet in the pedal straps.
Your feet should feel snug in them, not constrained to keep blood circulation unhampered.
Step 3: Adjust the seat.
In a recumbent bike, the seat can be moved forward and back instead of up and down. You would know the seat is at a right distance when your knees do not feel crunched in an upstroke and when your hips do not strain during a downstroke. Your knees should be just a little bent with your leg extended on the pedal.
Step 4: If the recumbent bike comes with adjustable handlebars, then set them at a comfortable level.
You should not be hunching over. Rounding your back may result in neck and back pains. Your shoulders should be back and down with the ears in line with the shoulders, the chest out, and the tummy in.
Step 5: Learn about the display screen.
Know how many resistance levels the recumbent bike you are using has and other control buttons available. This allows you to maximize the features of the equipment and customize your workout program.
Step 6: Start pedaling.
Remember to pedal with your whole feet, not just your toes. Otherwise, you will get foot or calf cramps. Pump downward with the ball of your feet and heel. Then, pull up with the top of your feet.
Tips on Using the Recumbent Bike
Here are a few things you need to remember on how you can make the recumbent bike work for you:
- Do a light warm-up
You can either spend around five minutes pedaling the bike at a leisurely pace or perform dynamic stretches such as side bends, lunges, and leg swings. This is to loosen up your muscles and connective tissues, to slowly increase core body temperature, and to prevent injury.
- Cycle long and often
Hop on your bike five times a week, and pedal your way to good health or weight loss. If your goal is to reap health benefits, then the American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of cardio. If it is for weight loss, go longer from 60 to 90 minutes.
- Take it slow
For beginners, doing half-hour sessions at three to four times per week is recommended by fitness professionals. Keep resistance low as well. Engaging in vigorous workouts early on without proper preparation can do more damage than good especially on your muscles.
- Add resistance to the mix
Besides speed and duration, you can add another element to your stationary bike exercise–Resistance. Check out by how many levels your recumbent bike’s resistance can be increased. Work your way up to build stronger muscles.
- Use interval training
Intersperse your workout with intense and light routines as doing so will help you burn more calories. And as an added benefit, it will take the boredom out of your workout. You can play with your speed, vary the resistance levels, or do both.
- Observe proper form
The ideal position is to have your back straight against the backrest, your tummy tucked, your chest out, and your hands on the handlebars. You can opt to stretch your arms forward, but make sure you do not lean forward too much as doing so creates muscle imbalances.
- Give your body enough time to recover before hopping off the bike.
Slow down and lower the resistance level in the last five minutes of your stationary bike workout. Doing so reduces heart rate and prevents leg cramps. Then, stretch your legs for 60 seconds when you are on your feet.
So, that is how to use recumbent bikes. Whether you are entirely new to cycling, or you have been using the recumbent bike for quite some time already, we hope you have gotten some tips and tricks on how to make the equipment work for you, from proper form to creating an interval training program with the bike.