What is the best way to work out on a recumbent bike?

What is a recumbent bike?

A recumbent bike is a piece of exercise equipment that allows you to maintain a laid-back reclining position while exercising. It’s an excellent way to exercise if you’re just starting your fitness journey or if you’re in the process of rehabilitating as it’s a strengthening and low-impact cardio exercise.

Recumbent bike

If you’re wanting to lose some weight, cycling on a recumbent bike regularly is a great way to do this without putting too much strain on your knees, hips or lower back. In order to see the best results in less time, it’s important that you know how to properly use a recumbent bike to take your workout to the next level.

The Seat Set Up

One of the most common mistakes people make when they first start out exercising is not adjusting the machine to suit their needs. Adjusting the seat of a recumbent bike only takes a few seconds and will not only make your workout more comfortable but also increases how effective it is. You want it so that your extended leg has a slight bend to it as you pedal, so adjust your seat either forwards or backwards to achieve this and improve your workout experience.

Remember to Stretch

While a recumbent bike may be a low-impact exercise machine, like all other types of exercise, you need to be sure to stretch before starting so as to not damage your muscles.

Dynamic stretching, where you move while you stretch, is a great way to warm up before exercising. Spend 5 minutes before your workout doing a handful of dynamic stretches, such as lunges, leg swings and toe touches to prep your muscles.

Once you’re on the recumbent bike, it’s a good idea to spend another 5 minutes pedalling lightly at a steady pace. You can gradually increase the speed during these 5 minutes as you go, before jumping into a real workout. 

Use Proper Form

Using proper form is one of the most important parts of an effective workout. As we mentioned earlier, adjusting the seat of your recumbent bike is crucial to have as effective a workout as possible, but there’s actually more to recumbent bike posture than this. You want to hold your chest up, and while you can hold the handles in front of you, you shouldn’t be leaning forwards to do so. Maintain a straight posture, with your back firmly against the seat while you work out. You should also use this form if you’re holding onto the side handles instead of the front ones.

Adjust Resistance Level

While it’s important you get a good sweat out of your workout, you don’t want to set the recumbent bike’s resistance level too high to start with. Choose a comfortable resistance level as you get used to the bike. 

The higher you set the resistance level, the harder it is to pedal – while this means you’re getting a better stretch training workout it can be damaging to your muscles if pushed too hard, as well as potentially decreasing your motivation if you really struggle to maintain it. Work up to achieving harder workouts over time, but for now, give interval training a try to push yourself that little bit further.

Try Out Interval Training

Interval training, where you alternate between levels of intensity, is a great way to maximise the benefits of a workout. It helps to increase fitness as well as burning more calories over a shorter duration of time.

The key point of interval training on a recumbent bike is having bursts of higher resistance pedalling intermingled with much longer periods of light pedalling to recover. It’s all about switching things up to suit your fitness level in a way that won’t damage your muscles but will push you that little bit further every time.

Keep Your Mind Occupied

Working out isn’t just physically challenging, it can also be mentally challenging. The best way to make the most out of your time exercising on a recumbent bike is to keep your mind occupied while you’re cycling. Whether that’s listening to music, looking through your phone or even watching an episode of your favourite series, you’ll find that time goes a lot faster and it won’t be as challenging to keep yourself going.

Doing a cardio workout for 30 minutes every day is great for your health, if you’re looking to lose some weight, however, 60 to 90 minutes of cardio is recommended per day. If you’d like to give some other exercise machines a try, find one of our free outdoor gyms near you today to start your fitness journey.