If you have come across a recumbent bike in your local gym or have purchased one recently, you may be wondering what exercises you could do to use your bike effectively. This guide is designed to guide you through the best recumbent bike workouts for beginners.
A recumbent bike is suitable for beginners because of its seating position and ease of use.
A recumbent bike helps in exercising your hamstrings, quads, bum, and legs. In this article you will learn the best warm up exercises for indoor cycling, workouts for beginners using a stationary bike and more.
Recumbent Bike Workouts for Beginners Workout Plan (2019)
How to set up a recumbent exercise bike
If you have never used a stationary bike before, it is important to familiarize yourself with it first. Take some minutes to learn how it works.
If you are in a gym, you could ask a trainer to help you pick the right bike. If you already have one at home:
- Ensure you have adjusted the seat and pedal straps correctly.
- Start the control panel and ensure everything is working accordingly. Most control panels indicate heart rate, time, calories, and speed.
- Next, check the resistance levels settings. Most bike have the resistance dial under the control panel. After you familiarize yourself with your recumbent bike, it is time to warm up.
Remember to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout
Warm up exercise before cycling
A funny, somewhat sad tale. The first time I decided to start my weight loss journey, I went straight to YouTube, got a nice kickboxing workout video and started exercising that very moment. I didn’t warm up. Three days later, my knees hurt, my back hurt. It was brutal.
Learn from my mistake.
Whether you are a beginner or fitness pro, you must warm up before starting your workout routine. Here are some workout pros swear by:
1. Chest stretch: The first body part you will stretch is your chest muscles. Keeping your chest flexible helps you maintain proper posture throughout your exercise.
What to do: Pick a towel and hold it behind your back. Each hand should hold the end of the towel. Legs should be parted slightly. Then lift your hands slightly, such that your chest will be pushed outwards. Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds and repeat 5 times.
2. Shoulder reach: Next you will warm up your shoulders with shoulder reaches. To loosen your shoulders you should:
What to do: This exercise simply involves bringing your hands together behind your back. Place your left hand behind the back. Fingers should face outwards and point upwards. Place your right arm behind your head. The fingers should face inwards and point downwards. Then stretch yourself to touch your left hands fingers.
3. Leg swings: Next you are going to work out your lower body. If you start cycling without warming up your lower body, chances are your hips and calves will ache after your routine. Here is how to stretch your hips before using a recumbent bike.
What to do: The first thing you need to do is look for something to hold on, for stability, when doing this exercise. Start to swing your left leg forward and backwards. Repeat this 10 times before moving to the right leg. Repeat the exercise for 1 minute.
4.Toe-to-heel and heel-to-toe walking: Now you are going to focus the warm up on your calves. This will help increase their flexibility, strengthen the muscles and protect against stress fractures.
What to do:
Stationary Bike Workout Plans for Beginners
One of the best ways you can exercise using a recumbent bike is through interval training. These cardio exercises involve alternating between periods of intense workouts and ‘rest’.
When I talk of rest I don’t mean you put your legs up. What I mean by rest is active rest. This is the type of rest where you keep working out but at a slower pace.
Here is a quick look at best recumbent bike workouts for beginners (presuming your bike has 8 resistance levels settings)
|Duration (Minutes)||Resistance Settings||Intensity|
|4||2||This is an extension of your warm up exercises|
|3||5||You are exercising harder and faster than earlier|
|2||2||First active rest. Keep pedaling|
|3||5||Your heartbeat is up and you start to sweat a little. You can still talk|
|1||3||2nd active rest break|
|5||6||You are breathless, sweaty, and can't talk.|
|Total Time||20 Minutes|
Once you can comfortably do the 20 minutes without breaking sweat, this will take around 2 weeks of consistent exercises, it is time to take things a notch higher. You will add 10 minutes to your 20-minute routine. Here is how to exercise
|Duration (Minutes)||Resistance settings||Intensity|
|7||7||Heart rate up|
|2||2||First active rest|
|5||8||A little sweaty. Can still converse.|
|2||3||2nd active rest|
|7||7||Very sweaty, can't converse. Flabby thighs Bye!|
|Total Time||30 Minutes|
Once your body becomes accustomed to the exercise above, you can start endurance training and resistance building.
You can do this through increasing the resistance levels on your bike; if you bike’s resistance level go up to 16. Or by adding upper body strength training exercises.
2. Cycling and dumbbells (for upper body and lower body toning)
You can add strength training by including a pair dumbbell to your cycling routine.
If you don’t have dumbbells, then get a pair. Don’t go for the cheapest. Do not pick the wrong size.
If the heaviest item you have lifted in your life is a bottle of water, I recommend you go for hex-shaped dumbbells that weigh between 3-10 lbs for ladies and 5-12 lbs for gents. These are ideal for beginners.
Here is how to incorporate strength training to your routine
|Duration (Minutes)||Resistance Settings||intensity||Dumbbell Usage||Exercise||3||3||Warm Up||Yes||Side Raises|
|7||7||Heart rate up||No|
|2||2||1st active rest||Yes||Upright rows|
|4||8||A little sweaty||No|
|2||3||2nd active rest||Yes||Seated overhead dumbbell press|
|Total Time||30 mins|
Benefits of recumbent bike
Here are some awesome benefits that come with your recumbent bike.
There are two ways your bike keeps you safe. One, its seat is closer to the ground. This means that it has a lower center of gravity which makes it more balanced compared to an upright bike. If you fall by accident, you will hurt less unlike someone falling from an upright bike.
Secondly, you get to exercise from the comfort of your home. If you are a lady, you know how important it is to feel and be safe while exercising and this is exactly what your recumbent bike offers you. Plus you don’t have to worry about the freezing weather, scotching sun, or pouring rain.
A recumbent bike is one of the most comfortable bikes you will ever use. This stationary bike comes with a chair/seat that is padded and comfortable like a normal chair.
This feature makes recumbent bikes best for seniors, riders with disabilities, and people suffering from back pain. Another comfort feature is the pedals in front. Unlike upright bikes where the pedals are below the rider, a recumbent bike has its pedals on the front.
This ensures your feet remain comfortable throughout the exercise. These two comfort features allow riders to exercise on the recumbent bike longer than when exercising on an upright bike.
I love multitasking! And this stationary bike is designed to allow you to do exactly that. Most recumbent bikes such as the FitDesk 2.0 come with small table that allows you to work from your laptop or tablet, read a book or magazine, or knit as you exercise. How cool is that! This helps to ward off boredom.
There is a common myth that since recumbent bikes are comfortable, seat and all, they are they slowest. This is a misconception. Recumbent bike that are used on the road are way faster than the normal upright bike because of aerodynamic fairing.
5. Targets specific muscles
A recumbent bike is known for targeting specific muscle groups. Your workout will target your legs, hamstrings, quads and bum. Prepare to add strength training to your workout routine if you want to your routine.
Extra Tips for beginners
- Dress well
Whether you are exercising from home or at the gym, the first thing you ought to do is dress appropriately. Scientist have proven there is a correlation between dressing and success. If you want to succeed in your weight loss journey, then you have to dress accordingly.
So, what are the best clothes for cycling? We recommend you throw on tights that reach below your knees (three-quarter-length) and a tank top.
2. Use a chamois and get the right shoes
If you use regular tights while cycling, chances are after a few sessions your butt is going to get some sores; saddle sores. The best way to prevent saddle sores is by using tights with a chamois.
A chamois (soft, flexible pad) helps protect all your sensitive areas against friction and sweat.
For shoes, running shoes are perfect. They can be clipped into the pedals.
3. Understand your bike
Now this is key. It is important to understand how your bike works. Before you begin your session, check the seat height. Next take a seat and check the distance between your seat and the handle bars.
Make sure you are not struggling to reach the handlebars.
Next, check the resistance settings. Most bikes have the resistance dial below the control panel. Familiarize yourself with the settings. Speaking of the control panel, what does your bike display?
Most recumbent bikes display time elapsed, calories burned, speed, and heart rate.
Next, check the pedals. Does your bike have built-in straps? These straps come in handy while pedaling. They will help you master the strokes.
If your bike does not have straps, consider moving to another bike, if you are at the gym. If you are exercising from home, consider getting clips or cages.
Nutrition can be confusing for any cyclists, especially beginners. There is a lot of advice floating around and chances are you’ve come across numerous ‘gurus’ offering advice on what works or doesn’t.
What you need to realize is what food works for one cyclist may not work for another cyclist.
The first thing you need to check on is your day-to-day consumption. You need to come up with a nutrition plan for each day.
Start by creating a list of all the foods you love. From this, come up with a meal plan. In your meal plan include lots of vegetables, foods with fiber, and proteins. Avoid sugary and deep fried foods. This way you will become metabolically efficient.
Tip: Always have a snack about 1 hour before starting your workout routine.
5. Focus on your strokes
I’ve often found myself exercising across a couple of first timers. I have to say, pedaling a recumbent bike is not easy especially if you’ve used standard bikes your whole life. Most beginners do it wrong.
Here are a few tips that will help you master pedaling faster. You need to concentrate on pulling up rather than pushing down.
Cages, straps and clips are designed to help keep your feet in place, allowing you to focus on pulling up. Also, keep your back straight by using your abs to support your back.
6. Cool down
Once you are done exercising on your recumbent bike, unclip your shoes and do some cool down exercises. Here are some fantastic cool down exercises
- The camel and cat
- Low lunges
- Sitting gluteal stretch
Stationary Bikes Related Questions
Does recumbent bike burn belly fat?
Well, the good news is, a recumbent bike will help you blast calories. The bad news is, it won’t help you build a six pack.
What the recumbent bike offers is aerobic exercises. These are exercises that target your butt, calf muscles or thighs.
If you want to tone your stomach, you will have to include strength training exercises to your routine. Some great strength training exercises include lunge twists, crunches, and the stomach vacuum.
2. Is recumbent bike good for knees?
If you suffer from knees or joint aches, your best and safest exercise machine is a recumbent bike.
The pedals of a recumbent bike to the front of your feet, so your ankles and hips won’t strain when pedaling. This bike is known for its low impact exercises.
3. Is recumbent bike good for weight loss?
A stationary bike is a perfect equipment for your weight loss journey.
Cycling has helped countless people lose weight. Remember, cycling helps tone your lower body, so include some strength training exercises to tone your upper body.
Were it not for recumbent bikes, seniors, people with back pain and joints pain, and professionals working from home would not get to workout their lower body safely, comfortably and efficiently.
Were it not for stationary bikes, there would be no indoor cycling when the weather was bad outside.
Recumbent bikes are ideal for both pros and beginners. In our guide above you will find some of the best recumbent bike workouts for beginners.