The recumbent bike has been gaining in popularity among gym goers and fitness enthusiasts in recent years. If you’re wondering what the exercise bikes or equipment has to offer for those trying to lose weight, find out below why recumbent exercise bikes are the perfect machine for losing weight. We’ve also included some tips so you’ll get more out of your recumbent exercise bike weight loss routine.
Advantages Of Using the Recumbent Bike For Weight Loss
1. Exercise Bike Burns calories fast
Some people might think that using the best recumbent exercise bikes - due to the user’s relaxed, reclining position - might not be able to burn enough calories to start losing weight. But that is actually a wrong assumption as you can actually burn calories fast by using this equipment.
You can burn between 2.8 – 3.8 calories a minute (168 – 228 calories/hour) if you weigh 100 to 130 pounds and you pedal at 5.5 mph, according to exercise physiologist William McArdle. Pedaling faster at 9.5 mph will naturally yield a better result as you’ll burn between 4.6 – 5.9 calories per minute or 276 – 354 calories per hour.
On the other hand, you will burn between 4.9 – 5.8 calories per minute (294 – 348 calories an hour) if you weigh between 170 to 200 pounds and pedal at 5.5 mph. Going faster at 9.5 mph will burn between 7.7 – 9.9 calories a minute or 462 – 594 calories per hour.
Of course, the actual number of calories burned will depend on body composition (lean muscles burn more calories), age, fitness level, and gender. However, based on the figures above, it is clear that the recumbent bike is a good piece of exercise equipment if you want to lose weight fast as long as you stick to your workout plan.
2. Perfect for people with back or joint issues
People who need to lose weight fast would usually resort to an intense workout regimen to burn calories fast. Unfortunately, these intense programs usually involve high-impact activities such as jogging or running which may not be suitable for people with back pain or joint pain issues.
That is where the recumbent exercise bike comes in. This exercise equipment allows you to do cardio routines that can be as intense as you want them to be without putting too much strain on your back. When using this type of bike, your back is supported as you will be sitting in a bucket seat with back support. Moreover, the semi-reclined sitting position is one of the best positions that minimize stress on your back.
A recumbent bike weight loss workout is also gentle on your joints compared to high-impact activities like running and jogging. Since pedaling the bike is basically done in a smooth cyclical motion, your knees won’t suffer from the same level of impact as they would if you’re jogging or running. This makes the exercise bike the perfect weight loss gym equipment of choice for those who might have some joint problems.
3. Weather-proof workouts
While biking or jogging outdoors is an enjoyable way to lose weight, the weather can sometimes become uncooperative and get in the way of your carefully scheduled workout. It can get too hot during summers or a sudden downpour or heavy snow will bar you from making your usual jogging routine. Thankfully, you can still rely on your exercise bike to get those calories burning despite what the weather may be outside.
Whether you use the recumbent bike as your main exercise equipment or use it as an alternative if you can’t go outdoors, the bike is the best way to deal with unpredictable weather. With this weather-proof workout option, nothing is going to stop you from inching closer to the desired weight you’ve been aiming for.
4. Ease of use
One of the best reasons why a recumbent bike is perfect for weight loss is that it is extremely easy to use. You don’t really need additional training to get started; just hop in and start pedaling away to a slimmer you. Some people even incorporate their favorite pastime activity, such as watch television or listening to music, while doing the recumbent bike workout.
5. Suitable for all fitness levels
Another advantage of the recumbent bike is that it is suitable for all types of gym goers regardless of their fitness levels. It can serve both expert level fitness buffs, as well as those who are just starting out on their fitness routines, as the resistance level of the bike can be adjusted depending on the user. This means that you’ll only need to buy one bike for your home gym as each family member can adjust the bike to match his or her fitness level.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Recumbent Bike Weight Loss Workout
1. Position Your Seat Right
To get the most out of your recumbent bike weight loss workout, you need to position your seat just right. The seat should be high enough that your legs are slightly bent while you pedal to avoid putting too much pressure on your knee joints. If possible, get a professional to teach you how to do it so you’ll know what to do when you adjust the seat’s position on your own.
2. Set the Bike’s Resistance Level
To burn as many calories as possible for your weight loss plan, you need to mind two things – your cycling speed as well as the recumbent bike’s resistance. While you might pedal as fast as you can, you are not sufficiently working out your muscles if you don’t use enough resistance.
3. Introduce Variations to Your Routine
If you do the same set of movements each time you work out, your muscle might adapt to them and you won’t get the desired result as fast as you want. Inject some variations into your routine once in a while so you will “shock” your muscles to the change in movement patterns. Some even try to incorporate dumbbells to get a whole-body workout. Introducing variations also keeps boredom at bay as you’ll have something new to look forward to in the next session.
4. Try Interval Training
If you are really bent on losing weight fast, try to tweak your regular recumbent bike weight loss routine to incorporate interval training. This time of training is where you alternate short bursts of very intense pedaling with a more relaxed cycling phase. A study published at the "Journal of Applied Physiology" concluded that interval training burns more fat and can help you lose weight even faster.
Recumbent Bike Workouts
Most gym goers probably have this erroneous notion that a recumbent bike is not physically challenging enough or that it is a bit boring because all you do is pedal away. But we are here to prove them wrong.
You’ll find three different types of recumbent bike workouts in this article. There is a workout for the beginner-level fitness enthusiast, a workout that targets the full body and not just the leg muscles, as well as a workout for those who want interval training. Take your pick.
1. Recumbent Bike Workout For Beginners to Lose Weight – 20 Minutes
Okay, you’ve finally purchased your first recumbent stationary bike and set it up at your home’s exercise area. If you’ve never used exercise bikes before so you’re unsure what to do next, then this recumbent bike workout for beginners is perfect for you.
- Warm Up Phase (5 Minutes) - Set the recumbent bike’s resistance level to where you can pedal it without any difficulty. Normally, those who are fitness buffs would set the resistance level at the halfway point during warm up but since you are a beginner, don’t be too hard on yourself yet so you can set it way lower. Anyway, you can increase it later as you become more physically fit.
- After determining this comfortable level of resistance from your bike, pedal away at a constant but comfortable pace. Do this for 5 minutes as this serves as your warm up.
- Baseline Phase (3 Minutes) - After doing the 5-minute warm-up phase, it’s time to determine your baseline. Again, the actual resistance level on the recumbent exercise bike will vary from person to person but it should be 1 to 4 notches higher than the setting you used for your warm up. A simple way to gauge if you’ve reached this level is if you feel like you’re really putting up a bit of an effort while pedaling but, at the same time, can still carry a conversation with your fellow gym goer. Pedal for 3 minutes in this baseline phase.
- Increase Workout Intensity Up a Notch (2 Minutes) - Sweat it out a little more by increasing your pedaling pace or increasing the bike’s resistance or both. Pedal at this intensity level for 2 minutes.
- Go Back to Baseline (3 Minutes) - After that intense but short phase, go back to your baseline and pedal for 3 minutes.
- Increase Intensity Level Once More (2 Minutes) - Just like before, raise the intensity of your workout up a notch by increase your pace and/or increasing the recumbent bike’s resistance. Stay at this intensity level for just 2 minutes.
- Cool Down (5 Minutes) – Lessen your pacing or decrease the bike’s resistance back to the level you used in the warm-up stage. Pedal leisurely for 5 minutes as this is your cool down period.
2. Full Body Recumbent Bike Workout – 25 Minutes
You might have read that the recumbent exercise bike targets the glutes and other lower muscles such as quads, hamstrings, calves, tibialis anterior, and, to a certain degree, your abs since you need them to balance while pedaling. But what you probably did not know until now is that that recumbent bike can actually be used to give you a full body workout.
Check out this 25-minute full body recumbent bike workout and give it a try the next time you exercise. You need to lose weights for this recumbent bike workout. Dumbbells around 8 to 10 pounds are ideal but you can also get lighter or heavier ones as long as you can handle them.
- Warm up phase (2 Minutes) - Set the resistance level of your recumbent bike about halfway. Start your workout by pedaling fairly quickly while simultaneously punching in the air and holding the weights in your hands. Do this for 2 minutes.
- Increase Resistance without Weights (2 Minutes) - Change your recumbent bike’s resistance level, increasing it by two notches from its halfway setting. Drop your dumbbells and resume pedaling for another two minutes but at a slightly slower pace than before.
- Increase Resistance Once More, Pedal with Weights (2 Minutes) - Increase the bike’s resistance level by another two notches. This time, do some shoulder presses with the weights while pedaling. Do this for two minutes. The increment in the recumbent bike’s resistance coupled with the weights should make you feel exhausted at this point. Don’t be discouraged as it’s all part of the workout, a path you have to take on your way to fitness.
- 7 Sets Of 2-Minute sub workouts (14 Minutes) - At this point, you are already 6 minutes into this full body recumbent bike workout. For the next 14 minutes continue to do seven sets of these 2-minute intervals. You can adjust the bike’s resistance level as you want but it should still be above the halfway point. Remember to incorporate different arm workouts for each 2-minute period such as front raises, upright rows, side raises, bicep curls and shoulder presses so your upper body muscles are used.
- Reduce Bike Resistance to its Halfway Point (5 Minutes) - After doing the 7 sets of 2-minute intervals, you are now 20 minutes into this recumbent bike workout. For the remaining 5 minutes, bring down the bike’s resistance level to the halfway point once more, the same level when you started. Pedal as fast as you can while doing some arm workout until the time is up.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training Using Recumbent Bike - 25 Minutes
Interval training is where a high-intensity period is followed by a low-intensity period within the exercise routine. Some of the health benefits of this type of training include improved cardiovascular fitness, burning more calories as well as compressing a complete workout at a shorter time frame. The good news is, you can actually do interval training using your recumbent bike.
- Warm Up at Halfway Resistance Level (5 Minutes) – Set your recumbent bike’s resistance level to about halfway on its scale. Then pedal steadily for the next five minutes as your warm up.
- Highest Intensity (1 Minute) – Immediately after your warm-up is done, set the bike’s resistance to its maximum. Once done, pedal furiously for one full minute. Remember not to stop until the minute is up.
- Lowest Intensity (30 Seconds) – Set the bike’s resistance level to its lowest. Pedal slow for just 30 seconds in this setting.
- 9 Cycles of Highest Intensity and Lowest Intensity (13 Minutes 30 Seconds) – You basically repeat the high intensity(1 minute) and low intensity(30 seconds) periods for another 9 cycles which mean that there is a total of 10 cycles including the first one.
- Cool Down Phase (5 Minutes) – For the next five minutes, pedal steadily as you did during the warm-up with the resistance set halfway.
As you can see, the recumbent bike is far from being a boring piece of exercise equipment. You can spice up your routines and use the bike in ways you’ve never thought possible before.
The recumbent bike is a great tool to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Anyone can use the equipment and it can even be adjusted to match the fitness level of its user. Since you use the bike indoors, you won’t be at the mercy of the unpredictable weather which means you can stick to your exercise regimen every day of the week.
However, a very important factor when you are trying to lose weight is to eat right. Avoiding sugars and foods with high-glycemic index in general will help you not only in losing weight but will also improve your overall health. In addition, you need to mind your portions – your daily intake of calories should always be lesser than the number of calories you burn for the day.