How to get the most out of your exercise bike: 4 Top Tips from a PT
What can I say? The humble exercise bike is - undeniably – a great fitness tool. Providing no impact, it’s suitable for everyone, and offers enough scope for progression, whether you’re a beginner or avid cyclist. Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your exercise bike.
1. Mix it up
Variety is the spice of life! And when it comes to exercise, it’s so easy to plateau. This is when your body gets used to the exercise it’s doing and no longer progresses. You might feel demotivated, bored, uninspired. To prevent this feeling, I strongly encourage my clients to mix things up. Thankfully, this can be done even if you only have an exercise bike at your disposal. On a bike, you can keep yourself challenged with a variety of interval workouts that mix up the resistance and speed you work at. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is a great way to maximise your workout. This involves hard but short periods of work followed by rest periods. For example, you could perform fast sprints for 30 seconds, followed by 30 secs at a slower cadence, then repeat whilst adding one level of resistance each time. It’s a great way to get fast results in less time. Another great example is to perform a climb, adding more resistance every minute till it feels like you’re cycling through mud!
2. Check out on-demand
Many exercise bikes come with a range of programmes or apps, which allow you to access a world of exciting workouts. The Peloton app, for example, has certainly been making waves in the fitness world, and for good reason. This exciting app delivers thousands of on-demand fitness classes, which cater to every level of fitness. Providing motivation, variety and challenges, it’s an incredible advancement in the world of home training. The great news is that you don’t need a Peloton machine, as many other machines have access to the app. The Schwinn IC8 can sync with Peloton, for example.
3. Keep your mind entertained
Whether that means watching TV or creating the very best playlist, this can be just the ticket to greater success on your exercise bike. Many bikes come with consoles that allow you to watch TV or listen to music either by USB port or Bluetooth. If you have Spotify for example, you can link up to your phone and use playlists you’ve already created. Taking the time to create decent playlists can really help to motivate you and achieve greatness! No playlists? Position your bike near your own TV and away you go!
4. Don’t forget your muscles
To decrease chance of injury and also increase strength, toning (reducing body fat) and overall endurance, it’s important to strength train as well as embark on cardio exercise. The NHS recommends performing strengthening exercises that work all major muscle groups at least twice a week. A good exercise bike workout will certainly work the legs and glutes, but make sure you do some upper body strength training on top. This could be as simple as some body weight exercises, such as press ups and ab crunches or could utilise free weights or resistance machines.
In summary, the exercise bike is absolutely an incredible machine. Whether you choose a traditional upright bike, supportive recumbent bike or racer, it provides a stellar workout!