FAQ: Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Recumbent bikes are a great tool to start or build your cycling routine. The bike’s reclined position helps to support beginners, while advanced riders can target lower-body fitness better than with a traditional upright bike. 

Is a recumbent bike good for exercise?

Studies have shown that recumbent bikes pack a cardio workout that’s just as effective as upright cycling and produce better strength training results for lower body muscle groups. The bike’s comfort can be deceiving.

Who should use a recumbent bike?

Recumbent bikes are suitable for anyone, and their low-impact design offers:

  • Reduced stress on joints
  • Full back support
  • A safe way for those new to cardio to build their routine

Recumbent bikes are versatile enough for more advanced riders as well. They come with varying speeds, inclines, and resistance levels for you to build a custom workout at any intensity. Because they target your lower-body, even experienced cyclists will find it a challenging addition to their routine. 

How long should you work out on a recumbent bike?

Recumbent bike workouts can vary in length depending on their style. 

Steady-state cardio

  • Warm up for five minutes and pedal at a steady rate for up to 30 minutes, increasing the total workout time as your fitness improves.
  • This workout is an important part of a fitness routine as it promotes recovery, fat loss, and boosts endurance. It’s also the best option for beginners. 

High Intensity Interval Training

  • Alternate 15 seconds of high intensity (pedaling as fast as you can) with 45 seconds of cycling at an easy pace. Repeat this cycle for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Mix up this high-intensity interval by increasing resistance or incline. 
  • HIIT routines burn more calories in less time — but experts advise not to do them more than three times a week to avoid injury.

Can you lose weight using a recumbent bike?

The amount of calories burned during a cycling workout depends on factors like your body weight and workout intensity. But to give us a starting point, researchers from Harvard University found that a 155-pound adult riding at a moderate pace (about 12 - 14 miles per hour) burns 260 calories in a 30-minute workout. 

Recumbent bikes already offer an aerobic advantage because the comfortable seating position helps you sustain a more intense workout for longer. You can amp up this calorie burn even more by:

  • Upping the pace: that same Harvard study found when increasing the rate to 16 - 19 miles per hour, the rider burned 421 calories in 30 minutes.
  • Increase incline or resistance: this will boost your heart rate while conditioning your lower-body, burning even more calories.

What should my heart rate be on a recumbent bike?

Aerobic exercise like cycling nets best fitness results when your heart beats at 50 to 85% of its maximum rate. 

For the best recumbent bike exercise: 

  • Find your maximum heart rate — it’s 220 minus your age.
  • Adjust the incline or resistance level on your recumbent bike until your heart rate is between 50 - 85% of this number.

Should you stretch before riding a recumbent bike?

You prevent injury and get better results by warming up your body before any exercise. Dynamic stretching is a great way to get your body ready for a recumbent bike workout by loosening your muscles and improving their range of motion. 

Before hopping on your bike, spend five minutes doing dynamic stretches like:

  • Walking lunges
  • Knee to chest
  • High kicks as you walk
  • Jumping jacks

As you start your workout, pedal at an easy pace for five minutes before amping up the intensity. Be sure to repeat this process as a cool-down before finishing your workout.  

G&G recommends the Matrix Fitness R50 XIR. "This bike is very stable, and also very versatile. "The step through feature makes it easy to get on and off."... read more

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