Many of us opt for training at home, in the living room, perhaps with a personalized home gym: in this case – nine times out of ten – the exercise bike is the master.
The best exercise bikes are less bulky than a treadmill or cross-trainer, save you the trip to the gym by saving time and avoiding traffic, and you can enjoy the same health benefits in the comfort of your home.
An exercise bike is the optimal solution for all your weight loss goals and gym training problems. Let’s try to understand if it is true.
Advantages and disadvantages
While there is no doubt that an exercise bike session will help burn calories, fat and lead to weight loss (cycling is a cardiovascular exercise that increases heart rate and burns energy), there are advantages and disadvantages in relying exclusively on an exercise bike to achieve your goals.
Stationary bikes are low impact, as they remove the ground force reaction through the joints, so using them is a great way to train and keep your joints healthy. However, they tend to overload the hips. If we sit all day, our muscles shorten. Cycling strengthens these muscle patterns, making for a good hip flexion exercise.
An exercise bike is also ideal for those with children, as parents can supervise the little ones and at the same time carve out some time for themselves.
At the same time, several studies have shown that road cyclists who use a stationary bike for short interval and high intensity workouts, can significantly improve performance without having to put in hours and hours of work.
Additionally, this is a form of exercise that is practically accessible to anyone, with any experience and ability – virtually anyone can use an exercise bike regardless of coordination, meaning you can train hard without having to worry too much about technique. An exercise bike makes it easier to make progress at first, and newer models can give readings such as power used, distance traveled and calories burned, so you can easily track your workout.
Pedaling in front of the television
The idea of cycling in front of the television is certainly tempting. For indoor cycling professionals, it must be said that the new generation of smart bike trainers is truly exceptional, and many can be linked to training apps like iFit, which uses Google Maps to simulate a real route, or training programs in virtual reality like Zwift. The downside is that they are quite expensive (such as Wattbike Atom and TechnoGym Bike Forma). A good exercise bike still remains, for most of us, the best choice.
A complete exercise for maximum results
Most people feel comfortable riding a bicycle, so there is very little barrier to entry. Since you are in total control, you can train when you want, and as hard as you want. In any case, don’t forget that seated bike work practically leaves your glutes – your biggest muscles – dormant, and loads your thighs really heavily. Alternating seated and standing pedaling on the pedals, you can also train the hamstrings, calves and glutes, as well as the muscles of the back, triceps, biceps, and shoulders in the upper body.
So how to get the most out of a workout on an exercise bike? You need to constantly work on a full pedal stroke like the one described, and increase the power of the hamstrings and glutes. It is also important that the seat and handlebar can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically. Working on endurance is key, it’s not just about pedaling as fast as possible. Varying the intensity of your leg speed and endurance will help you stimulate different energy systems, and of course, jerky training is one of the best ways to build strength.
Below we have selected the best exercise bikes to get you started, as well as some advanced models. Are you ready for an effective home workout?