There’s a “code of conduct” for everything, and exercise bikes are not an exception. If you’ve been using an exercise bike without satisfactory results, you are probably using the bike inaccurately. There’s more to riding a bike than just pedaling and engaging the handlebars, so if you desire to make the most of your cycling sessions and burn more calories with a recumbent exercise bike, spin bike, or upright exercise bike, you need to learn how to use the bike correctly. Read on, and let’s teach you how!
Determining Weight Capacity and other Factors
First things first, you need to ensure that the exercise bike is the right fit for your body’s anatomy. If an exercise bike isn’t tailored to suit your weight capacity, it could be unsafe and unhealthy to use. This is why it is important to ascertain a bike’s weight limit before buying. You should also consider the bike’s adjustability features; the handlebars and seat should come with adjustability settings.
Bike resistance settings and type are also non-negotiable as they determine how smooth and intense your rides will be. Other factors to consider include workout monitoring, pedal configuration, flywheel weight, heart rate monitoring, and add-on accessories like bottle and device holders.
Note that these features aren’t a standard for all exercise bikes, so don’t be surprised if you find some features missing on a particular bike. Once you’ve determined these factors, you can purchase the bike and learn how to use it properly. With this out of the way, let’s show you how to use an indoor bike effectively and accurately.
How to Use an Exercise Bike Effectively
Exercise bikes don’t come in the same shape or size. This means that you need to find one that conforms to your frame. We all have different body types and shapes, and exercise bikes aren’t made to measure or a one-size-fits-all. There’s no way you’d “randomly” buy an exercise bike, and it will be the perfect fit for your hands, legs, arms, and torso. As such, most exercise bike manufacturers integrate adjustability settings so the bike can serve a wide range of users.
Once you learn how to use these settings, your workout sessions will be nothing short of enjoyable and productive. Otherwise, you may have to contend with an uncomfortable ride that is highly prone to injury and poor performance outcomes. The best part is you don’t have to adjust the bike each time you want to work out. A one-time adjustment is all that is required, and you are good to go (except if a family member or another user re-adjusts the settings).
Here’s a simple guide on how to adjust exercise bike seat and handlebars:
Seat Adjustment for Recumbent Bikes
Adjustability settings for exercise bikes may vary across bike types and brands. Recumbent exercise bikes generally come with forwarding and backward seat adjustment settings. To adjust the seat, pull on the adjustment handle, and the seat will come loose. Then move the seat forward and backward until you find a position that works for you. Once you’ve found the right fit, use the adjustment lever to lock the seat in place, and you can start your workout.
Seat Adjustment for Upright Bikes
Unlike recumbent bikes, upright exercise bikes do not have a recliner. This means the adjustability settings differ. To find the right setting for your bike, you need to measure your inseam length. Your inseam measurement will determine if the bike can accommodate your leg length. Once you’ve determined your inseam measurement, adjust the seat to the height that complements your inseam length. Alternatively, you can stand next to the bike seat and move the seat until it aligns with your hip bone.
Seat Adjustment for Indoor Cycle Bikes
Adjusting the seat of your indoor cycle bike follows the same steps as that of an upright bike. You must ensure that the seat height is well-positioned to facilitate powerful and efficient pedaling strokes. Because users have to increase and decrease resistance throughout a workout, it is imperative to maintain proper seat adjustment. If the seat isn’t accurately positioned, it can lead to knee and joint issues in the long run.
Handlebar Adjustment for Recumbent and Upright Bikes
Indoor cycling bikes are generally the only bikes that permit handlebar adjustability. The vast majority of recumbent and upright bikes are equipped with fixed handlebars that cannot be adjusted. However, they often feature handlebars with multiple grips to comfortably accommodate users of different heights and sizes.
Handlebar Adjustment for Indoor Cycling Bikes
Most indoor cycling bikes feature adjustable handlebars with vertical and/or horizontal adjustability settings. You can use the adjustability button or lever to set the handlebar to a comfortable position. However, avoid setting the handlebar too low to prevent postural pain and discomfort. You should also maintain a reasonably firm grip on the handlebars; don’t grasp the bars tightly, and don’t lean so much as to slouch. Also, keep your spine neutral and your elbows flexed.
Pedal Straps and Adjustability
Upright and Recumbent Bikes
Most exercisers tend to ignore the pedals without realizing their importance to performance efficiency. If you use the pedals correctly, your ride will be as productive and secure as can be. Upright and recumbent bikes often feature textured foot pedals with adjustable straps to keep your feet in place. You should position the front half of your foot on the pedal and secure the top of your foot with the strap. Avoid strapping your feet too tight to prevent poor blood circulation. It shouldn’t be too loose also so your feet won’t slip off from the pedals mid-ride.
Indoor Cycling Bikes
Indoor cycling bikes also come with adjustable straps along with a foot cage and/or SPD cycling cleats. The SPD elements enhance pedaling efficiency while the straps provide an option to ride the bike without specific indoor cycling shoes. It is important to secure your feet during a ride to prevent accidents or injury. Plus, a secure footing guarantees maximum pedaling stroke and efficiency.
Though workout monitors are not a basic workout necessity, they can positively affect performance. Depending on the brand, you can monitor several performance metrics with a digital monitor. These include time, distance, calorie consumption, heart rate, and cadence. With these statistics, you can make the most of your exercise and attain your goals with ease.
Additionally, some exercise bike with monitors come with a range of workouts that you can perform. However, you should only perform workouts that are on par with your fitness level. If you are new to cycling, select beginner-level workouts but if you are a professional you can perform high-intensity cycling workouts.
This brings us to the end! Using an exercise bike effectively isn’t a difficult chore. It is as easy as adhering to this guide! Employ these tips and recommendations and your workout sessions will never be the same again!