6 Actionable Tips on Using an Exercise Bike for the First Time

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Last updated on July 4, 2021

Stationary bikes are great when you need to lose fat, grow muscles or improve your whole body outlook. These are just like ordinary bikes but they have the advantage of increased resistance and they have gadgets that track your progress. Some bikes are engineered to train endurance and some are designed to strengthen your legs and core muscles. If you are using an exercise bike for the first time, you should be following these basic tips for beginners.


1. Set up your bike and stretch


Assemble your new bike, adjust your seat height and ensure that all the electronics are working correctly. The bike should not produce any loud noises. If your bike doesn’t have one already, install a measuring system to track calories burned, bike speed, distance covered, your heart health rate and training intervals. 

Like with other types of exercise, before getting started you need to warm up. Start your ride with two minutes at very low intensity to warm up.  


2. Unpredictable Interval Workout Routines


The interval feature, fitted on most bikes, increases resistance at intervals. Sometimes, changes in resistance occur at predetermined intervals and sometimes they are sporadic. This way, you will encounter different resistance levels as you train and the bike will stay on a single level for an unknown duration. The bike can take you from low resistance to medium resistance, back to low and then all the way to high before going back to medium. When you do it for a long time, you build resistance. 

Interval training is great for beginners for indoor cycling because you never have to get your hands off the handlebars. The bike will make resistance changes for you. However, if your exercise bike does not feature an automatic resistance shifter, you will have to manually decrease or increase the resistance. This is easy as all you need to do is turn the resistance knob. 

There are different types of exercise bikes each exposing you to the ever-changing outdoor cycling environment. 


3. Standard Stationary Bike Interval Workout


Unpredictable interval training may be challenging for some beginners; you never know when the resistance levels will rise or fall. With standard interval training, you set the bike at a level, say level 10 and you start pedaling. Most recumbent bikes will start you off on a lower level and then move to the set level. You can pedal on this standard level for as long as you want. 

If your recumbent exercise bike does not have advanced resistance features, you will have to manually increase resistance. Besides a good screen and ability to track your progress, there is no different in how one stationary bicycle exercises your muscles and how another bike does it. 


4. Distance Bike Workouts


Distance training is a good way to track your progress. On your bike, set a resistance level you are comfortable with. Set a time and start pedaling. If you set 20 minutes, for instance, choose mileage to cover in those 20 minutes. Pedal fast enough to cover the mileage you set for yourself before time elapses. 

Your body will adjust to the bike making it easier for you to reach your goal. As the body adjusts, you can increase the mileage to cover or reduce the time to cover given mileage. 


5. Adjusting Exercise Bicycle Position


Most of the recumbent exercise bikes are designed with a front-facing or back-facing seat. It is highly unlikely that you will see a bike that can switch between front and back facing seat. Leaning forward on your bike can help focus on different muscles. You can also adjust the bike seat to a height you feel comfortable. 

When working out for weight loss, you will need to keep adjusting the resistance of the bike to effective exercise. With the right resistance intervals, it is easy to build muscle. 


6. Exercise Bike Benefits


Cycling is a good way to build fitness and protect your joints. When cycling, there is no impact on the joints which is a good thing if you have knee or hip pains. Again, cycling helps your knee joints stay lubricated and strengthens your quads which helps in relieving joint pains. 

Cycling can be a great way of exercising opposite lower body muscles. It exercises both the quads and hamstrings. Even better, you cycle indoors. This means that you can work out irrespective of the weather or traffic. 

Most of the stationary bicycles come with installed exercise programs that you can follow. These are workout routines to engage in daily to tone different muscles in your body. If your bike does not have a program, you can always create one to exercise different muscles. If you train at the gym, you will have access to a rowing bike and an upright exercise bike. The recumbent bike offers back support for those with back problems while the upright back trains more muscles.

Cycle HIIT Workout

High Intensity Interval Training has become a very popular form of cardio exercise. That is because it has proven itself to be the most beneficial way to burn off stored body fat. When you are actually doing your cycle HIIT workout you will burn about 12 calories per minute. Yet that is not the end of the story. HIIT boosts your metabolism so that you burn extra calories for the next 24 hours after your exercise bike workout is over.


Here is how to perform a HIIT workout on your exercise bike.


Get on your exercise bike and set the handles and seat to a comfortable position. Begin pedaling for two minutes at a slow, steady pace. During the second minute of your warm up, begin building the intensity of your pedaling so that, when your console timer hits the 2:00 minute mark you are pedaling at maximum intensity. This has got to be the absolute hardest pedaling that you have ever done.

Continue pedaling at full speed for exactly 20 seconds. Then allow yourself a rest for exactly 10 seconds. Now pedal at full speed for another 20 seconds. Make it your objective to keep up the same level of intensity that you managed on the previous sprint. Then rest for another 10 seconds. Continue this sprint, rest pattern for 8 rounds. Then finish with a 2-minute slow cool down.

This HIIT exercise bike workout will probably be the toughest cycle workout session that you have ever done. But it will also be the most productive – and among the shortest. The entire workout will only take 8 minutes, including the warm up and cool down period.

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Overall Benefits of exercise bikes

An exercise bike cardio workout is a great way to lose weight. It burns calories at a high rate, especially when you vary the intensity of your pedaling motion. The great thing about the exercise bike is that you can work out at any time and at a comfortable pace that suits you, even when it is rainy and windy outside. Unlike other home cardio equipment, such as a treadmill, most exercise bikes are quite compact, and don’t make much noise. They are also relatively well priced.

Exercise bikes come in a number of different versions and usually come with workout programs. This makes them suitable for a wide variety of users, including the elderly, those who have lower back problems and knee pain. For these people, the recumbent stationary bike is the best form of exercise bike to go for. This version of the exercise bike sits lower to the ground than a standard model and has a back support to provide the best support for the lower back while exercising. Another type of exercise bike is the spin cycle. This is designed to allow experienced trainers to get a great cardio interval workout. If you are unsure if which one is right for you talk to a personal trainer or, if you have health issues, your doctor.

Exercise bikes are also a great way to work the muscles of your lower body. This is especially the case when it comes to the calf muscles. The calves are notoriously hard to develop in the gym. Because we walk around on them all day long, they need a lot of resistance to respond. But all you need to do is to take a look at the lower legs of a regular cyclist to know how well they can build the calf muscles.


Steve Theunissen has qualified from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) and is a certified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He has over 30 years experience in fitness and nutrition and currently working with famous fitness professionals. He is currently living in New Zealand with is wife and daughter.

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