Let’s begin with some stationary bike trivia. Come on, you know me guys! I love a bit of trivia, keeps the brain in play. The stationary bike was an improved version of a machine called the Gymnasticon. There was also a unique version of what we now know as the stationary bike. People used to put regular bikes on rollers and would pedal away for hours. Pretty innovative, if you ask me!
My aim in writing this article is to help you to understand the benefits of the stationary bike. I want to help you to get the best out of this excellent cardio machine. It is so easy to use, with the added benefit of being able to sit down whilst exercising!
We will discuss the different types of bikes, from recumbent to spin, why we should use them and why they should be in our home exercise routine. I will also provide you with some awesome bike workouts. These workouts will help you burn up to 600 kcals per hour!
The Different Types of Bikes
There are 5 types of stationary bike. This may come as a surprise to you, as you probably though “a stationary bike is a stationary bike”. You would be forgiven for thinking this, especially if you haven’t’t been introduced to any of the others. Well, it’s your lucky day because I am going to do just that! Let’s begin with the good old standard upright stationary bike.
The Upright Stationary Bike
This design is very similar to that of a road bike. The seat is approximately the same size as a road bike, and the handles are placed so that you have to lean slightly forward, to grab them.
This is a great bike if your goal is to mimic road riding, without all the bumps.
The Recumbent Stationary Bike
This will suit those that are new to fitness and/or you have a back injury. The recumbent bike provides great support for your back. It allows you to sit comfortably, whilst pedaling to fitness. It is a fantastic machine for those that want a leisurely workout.
The recumbent bike supports you in helping to rehab from an injury. It will help improve your mobility and flexibility, whilst improving your cardiovascular health.
Dual Action Stationary Bikes
Dual Actions are 2 in 1 machines. They can be a hybrid of a bike and a cross trainer, or even a bike and a stepper. They are great machines if you are unsure of what you want. They are designed to switch from one function to another in quick succession. This means the workout will have limited interruption.
Interactive Stationary Bike
This bike is exactly the same as a standard stationary bike, however the difference is the interactive screen. Interactive bikes allow the user to simulate bike rides in different terrains. For example, one day you could be mountain biking around Ben Nevis and the next day, you could be on a straight road. It definitely amps up the stationary bike experience.
The Spinning Bike
The spinning bike is used for intense indoor cycling training. They are very similar to road bikes, in that they have gears that you have to utilise whilst using them. Spin bikes have one heavy flywheel at the front. The weight of the wheel means that you can’t come to a sudden halt. Once you get up to a certain speed, momentum takes over and you have to use your leg and core strength to push through.
Spinning has become an ever increasing popular form of exercise, due to its superior calorie burning and fitness enhancing results. It started off as a gym class but has slowly worked its way into peoples homes. Many people now have a spin bike at home. In many cases, they are interactive and internet based, so you can compete with friends or others online.
Let’s Put it into Practice
I absolutely love providing cycle workouts for my clients. It is a machine that most people can use, as it doesn’t matter what age or weight you are, if you have bad knees, etc. Have I got some workouts for you. You ready…3,2,1…let’s go!!
This is a fantastic hill and speed session:
– Warm up
– 5 mins pedal at a slow to medium pace
– INTERVAL 1
– 10 minutes
– 30 seconds max exertion – level 8 or 9
– 30 seconds slow pedaling
– 5 minute recovery – level 4
– INTERVAL 2
– 3 minute climb (hill program)
– 2 minute rest – slow pedaling – level 4
– Cool down
– Drop heart rate with some slow pedaling
This is a great workout to build power:
– Warm up
– INTERVAL 1
– 5 mins pedal at a slow to medium pace
– 30 seconds at 110 – 120 RPM
– 30 seconds at 40 – 50 RPM
– Repeat the above 5 times
– INTERVAL 2
– 30 seconds at 100 RPM
– 30 seconds at 20 RPM
– Repeat 20 times
– Cool down – pedal very slowly for 5 minutes
The above workouts are 2 very intense programs for different reasons. Workout 1 gives you a sharp introduction to hill and speed intervals. This is a great workout if you are looking to build stamina and endurance. Your calves will be burning after this, so ensure you have a good stretch at the end of the program.
Workout 2 takes you into the world of power. This program will build hulk like quadriceps, whilst also increasing your fitness to a level that you never thought was possible. These are just a couple of the many workouts that you could perform using the stationary bike at home. To make it slightly harder, you can add a couple of fixed hand weights, performing bicep curls during the rest section of the interval.
Why use a Bike at Home?
There are many reasons that a stationary bike should be included in your gym routine. First and foremost, they are very low impact machines. You don’t experience the joint pounding impact you get on other cardio machines. Cycling is second to none when it comes to increasing oxygen in the blood. That’s why it is at the forefront of Vo2 max testing. Most athletes will use the stationary bike to test their fitness.
Cycling is known to protect and feed cartilage. This is because the bicycle supports the rest of the body. The rotational movement of cycling assists the transport of energy and processes, which can help prevent bone disease. Those coming back from knee injuries often use the stationary bike to rehabilitate themselves.
Having a bike at home allows you to save an enormous amount of space. However, even if you have other cardio machine preferences, adding a bike to your repertoire will still take only a minimal amount of space in your home gym.
The Difference Between Home and Road Cycling
Road cycling has become increasingly popular. Feeling the fresh air on your face and being out on the open road is a fantastic feeling. It is like being at one with nature for every second you are out there. However, exercising in the comfort of your own home has many advantages.
There is nothing wrong with either way. Like most things, it is purely a matter of preference. Avid road cyclists will not want to use a stationary bike due to the love of the outdoors. However, those that prefer to cycle indoors have the bonus of not having to worry about safety gear and they do not have to check the weather before they go out on a ride. These factors not only make it a cheaper option to workout out on the stationary bike but also a safer one.
Cycle your Way to Health
As mentioned above, one of the most advantageous things about cycling at home is you are not affected by any adverse weather conditions. Guess what guys, this means no excuses taken for not completing your cycling session at home! Not that you will need an excuse, as it is so enjoyable.
I have provided 2 excellent workouts for you guys to try. Those of you that are new to cycling will really enjoy the 2 programs. If they are a little to intense, then just change the parameters. Slow down a bit and take it at your own pace. Those that are already experienced cyclists will enjoy the intensity of these programs, as they will push you.
Overall, I would not hesitate in recommending the stationary bike. There are so many varieties, that you are literally spoiled for choice. If you are coming back from injury, jump on the recumbent bike. However, if you want a supremely intense workout then jump on the spinning bike. There is a choice for everyone.
As with many of the other cardio machines (treadmill, elliptical and rower), the stationary bike has it’s advantages and disadvantages but as an all round machine, it definitely ticks the right boxes. At the end of the day, we all want to be healthy, and the stationary bike is a great way to ensure your heart is performing at optimum levels.
There are so many bikes to choose from, so if you are finding it difficult to make the choice, click here and have a look at my recommendations. We all have a little inner Bradley Wiggins wanting to jump out and pedal away, so give it a go. I will bid you farewell for now, so go on get ON YOUR BIKE and get out of here!
Thank you for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and it has given you relevant insight into the world of cycling at home. If you have any questions, comments and/or feedback, please drop them in the box below. I will always respond to any queries or feedback. As always, it has been a pleasure having you here. Take care, stay safe and keep well.