Home exercise bikes can provide you with a great workout by enhancing your cardiovascular system and strengthening leg muscles, among many other benefits. However, in order to make the most of your at-home bike, it’s important that you’re working out in the right way. Simply going through the motions won’t be what you need to help you reach your goals. Instead, make the most of your cycling workout with these effective tips:
Learn the proper set up
Before you even begin your workout, make sure the seat and back of your bike are adjusted properly. Your legs should be almost fully extended when you pedal, with only a slight bend at the knee. Your weight should also be evenly distributed 60 percent on the seat and 40 percent on the handlebars.
Put on music
Listening to music can be the difference between an average workout and an intense workout. Make a playlist of songs that help give you the energy you need to keep going, even when you feel tired or out of breath. Consider choosing songs that go along with the pace of your exercise regimen. For instance, in the first five minutes or so of your workout, you’ll want songs with a slower beat to get you into the exercise mindset, then as your feet start to pedal faster and harder, listen to songs with a faster beat to keep up with your pedaling pace.
Avoid magazines and books
While a stationary bike seems like the best place to read your favorite book or magazine, save those items for the couch or the bathtub. Without realizing it, these reading materials can cause you to slow down because you’re not focused on your movements, you’re invested in what you’re reading instead. You took the time to workout, so make the most of it by putting down the book and focusing on getting stronger.
Get your upper body involved
Just because you’re working out on a bike doesn’t mean that you can’t get your arms, back and shoulders involved in the action as well. Grab a few light dumbbells, and while pedaling at a moderate pace, do some arm exercises with the weights. While doing bicep curls or tricep extensions, make sure to not wiggle the core of your body to ensure that you’re getting the most out of the movements. Start off slow with two sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise. If that’s too easy, raise the number of reps up to 20.
Don’t rock from side to side
When the resistance levels are high and you’re working hard to pedal, resist the urge to move your upper body from side to side. Instead, keep your back flat and hold your arms in line with your body, staying in one place. By avoiding any upper body movements, you can take strain off of your lower back and avoid potential injuries.
Keep your head up
When your body’s fatigued and you feel like you’re running out of breath, don’t put your head down while pedaling. This will only slow down your oxygen intake and make you feel even more tired than you already are. Instead, turn up those motivational tunes, keep your head up and finish your workout strong.
While you’re likely sitting for the majority of your stationary bike workout, you can stand every once in awhile to give yourself extra power when you need to get through a tough hill. Switch off between standing and sitting to give your legs an even better workout. Make sure that if you’re standing, the resistance is up high enough so that your legs aren’t moving too quickly.