When it comes to an indoor workout that really gets you going places, it’s time to make space (if you can) for an exercise bike. While it’s grown in popularity through the ‘spinning class’ phenomena, it’s also great for those people who either spend a lot of their time working from home or just simply do not have the time to go to the gym. As they are often in the higher price range of fitness equipment, it’s good to know exactly how to approach training on an exercise bike. 

Here are some of our top tips.

The benefits of the exercise bike

  1. It's excellent for stamina and endurance. An extended training session on an exercise bike is not only great for back, arms and leg muscle strength and toning but also does wonders for building up a healthy heart.
  2. Reduces stress and develops brain function. Studies have shown time on the bike helps improve cognitive function, memory and attention. Not only that, but it’s an excellent way to release endorphins, regulate your mood and let off steam. 
  3. A weight-loss wonder. Regardless of the intensity of your workout, any type of training on an exercise bike has better calorie burning qualities than going for a walk. Further to that, regular workouts on an exercise bike both reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and lowers cholesterol.
  4. Perfect for low impact training. Given it is often used during injury rehabilitation, exercise bikes are known to work the joints without shock, and will therefore mean a far more gentle workout.
  5. It’s incredibly convenient. It may sound obvious, but what other exercise can take you such great distances whilst remaining in the same spot of your living room?

Choosing the right bike

  • Finding a seat that adjusts vertically and horizontally, as well as adjustable handlebars will help you find the right sitting position on your bike, and can help remove any discomfort.
  • To ensure a comfortable pedalling experience, it’s advisable to opt for a heavier pedal. A lightweight pedal can often end up a pedalling feeling jerky and Aim for at least 7kg, or even 9kg for more regular intense sessions.
  • Whether it’s manual or digital, make sure you have an adjustable resistance setting on your chosen bike in order to keep pushing yourself on.
  • Not essential, but having bluetooth capabilities on your exercise bike is a major plus, as it will enable you to take classes and tutorials online.
  • When it comes to the position of your exercise bike, it all depends on what you want to achieve.
  • Those wanting for a real cardio workout should look to purchase an upright bike. With a similar shape to an indoor cycle bike, it can be used standing up or sitting and is great for your core and leg muscles. 
  • For those with joint issues or coming back from injury, a recumbent bike. It has a reclined shape and includes full back support allowing a less intense workout.
  • The dual action bike has handlebars that move back and forth, and is the least like a normal bike. It is ideal for those looking for a full body workout. 

An exercise bike workout plan for beginners

The most important thing when starting out on an exercise bike is to take it slowly. It may feel like you’re onto a winner from the off, but gradually adding more intensity will serve you better in the long run. 

Kick if off with a gentle 25-35 minute session, and give this workout a go. 

  1. Pedal with low intensity - 10 minutes
  2. Switch to medium intensity - 10 minutes
  3. High intensity for 1-2 minutes
  4. Low intensity for 1-2 minutes 
  5. High intensity for 1-2 minutes 
  6. Low intensity for 1-2 minutes 
  7. High intensity for 1-2 minutes
  8. Cool down with slow cycle for 10 minutes 

Once you become comfortable with that, add a 1 minute to your workout each time. 

Find classes online

Once you feel like you’re ready, take to the internet to find online classes that will push you onto that next level. There are a wide range of classes, so make you choose the right ability range.

And some safety tips

There are so many benefits to having an exercise bike. However, to avoid injury, it’s very important to not get carried away during a session. Here are some suggestions of how to stay safe whilst on the bike.

  1. Keeping a good shape is vital. Apart from the obvious pitfall of falling off your exercise bike due to lack of balance, holding a good position throughout your workout is a must when it comes to avoiding injury. Muscle fatigue and injury can also both be caused by a poor cycling form. If this is something you feel you start to struggle with, find out from a personal trainer or look up online the correct positioning.
  2. Don’t overdo it. We are all ambitious when it comes to new fitness goals, but it’s important to be realistic. Over time these targets can be achieved, but it's important to take your time and build up slowly.
  3. Take breaks. Again, it's better to do a little a lot than overlong sessions. 

Happy cycling!