Getting fit with an exercise bike: 7 tips from a personal trainer

We do not say it, but the multitude of studies that exist in this regard: an hour of exercise on a static machine such as the bicycle can burn 600 calories . And without apparent risk for beginners, because as the coach Sandra Lordén explained to us when we talked about the mistakes we make when training at home , the continuous cardiovascular work done on this type of machine is work without pauses at a moderate intensity “That can be done for a long time and at all levels .” But that a stationary bike training has low impact and is an excellent option for amateurs – and not amateurs , because you can also do a training session.

HIIT on a stationary bike – does not mean that it is not necessary to follow certain recommendations. Furthermore, it will depend on whether we achieve better results. Because here is another good news: as Antonio Ángel, CEO of Radical Trainer confirms , “the cardio that riding a bike produces helps us burn calories , but it also helps us work our core and lower body ”. We spoke with the expert to develop the guide for using a stationary bike to be in shape and tone our body.

#1. Correct posture

It is the eternal doubt when you first sit on a stationary bike. How high do I place the saddle? The expert solves it with a simple equation: “Our legs should always be straight once the pedal is at its lowest height. The back must be in a straight position gripping the handlebar and it is important not to keep it curved ”, explains the expert.

And one more detail: because although it may be tempting to cycle at home while watching our favorite series on TV, the basic training manual for a stationary bike advises you to avoid looking for a long time towards the front as it could cause tension in the neck. It is best to look at the bike console and alternate that position with a look at the ground, about 3-4 meters away.

#2. At what maximum intensity level do I put the resistance?

Another frequent question: At what maximum intensity level can I put the resistance of the bike? The expert thus marks the limit. “There will come a point where we are unable to pedal. That is our limit and of course we must lower the intensity to continue since we would not be doing the exercise correctly ”, he points out. Therefore, the ideal is to know what our maximum point is and not exceed it. Of course, it is not advisable to be the whole session at the minimum level since to achieve results we need resistance and exert a force on the pedal .

#3. Should I lower and raise the intensity during the session?

Yes, you can go down and up the intensity by choosing the level of resistance on the bike. Everything will depend on the routine you choose. “The beginning should always be a warm-up, as gentle as possible, and we will increase intensity according to the planned routine and the session,” says Antonio Ángel.

As a general rule, experts advise that in the first workouts you maintain a pedaling cadence at medium intensity for about 40 minutes. And as you gain experience with these workouts, introduce short peaks of intensity during the session.

#4. How to introduce intensity peaks in a stationary bike session?

Knowing when to raise or lower the resistance level to create those intensity peaks will depend, as Ángel points out, on the level of each person. “We can create routines combining the intensity and rhythm of the session to our liking depending on our level. We work strength and resistance when pedaling is harder and speed when it is softer .

There are many classes on YouTube and we can choose one adapted to our level to start our session. It is easier and simpler ”, says the expert. As you progress, you can even adjust those levels and vary the resistance of the machine based on your maximum heart rate .

For example, for weight loss, from Decathlon recommend varying the resistance of the machine every 5-10 minutes simulating descents, ascents and slopes, alternating peaks of maximum heart rate close to 80% with periods of lower intensity that remain around 55% of the maximum heart rate, with a total duration of training between 30-90 minutes.

#5. Time

In order to obtain benefits, Ángel advises carrying out daily sessions of about 30-40 minutes . If you decide to complete the session with a more specific training with a personal trainer, the expert advises leaving the bike for the end since after the training our body will be more active.

# 6. Bike + functional training + yoga

We have already talked about the benefits of a continuous cardiovascular training like this: programs that combine low and high intensity sessions are perfect for toning the legs. And increasing the intensity and duration of exercise will help us lose weight. But to obtain obvious benefits throughout the body, the Radical Trainer expert advises combining exercise bike sessions with functional training routines working with our own body about 3 times a week.

Also, you can even intersperse those bike sessions and functional training with yoga or Pilates. Thus each training will make us work different parts of our body internally and externally,” he adds. Another alternative incombine strength training in the morning with cardiovascular bike training in the afternoon on the same day.

# 7. Beware of advanced routines

Regardless of the type of bike you choose – there are simple folding versions and other more sophisticated spinning ones – it is important that you be realistic and choose a routine adapted to your possibilities. As the Radical Trainer expert explains , a very advanced spinning routine – standing up on the bike to increase pedaling force must be done carefully and only if the bike allows it – can lead to some problems. of health. “In addition, seeing that we do not achieve the objective that the routine marks us and feeling incapacitated when doing it can cause demotivation.

Putting yourself in the hands of a professional or looking for a routine on YouTube that suits our physical condition (beginner, intermediate or advanced) and being honest with ourselves will allow us to have results and take care of our health ”, he concludes.

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