How to properly use your stationary bike

December 27, 2012

Stationary bikes have always been a great way to get in a cardiovascular workout without putting a large amount of stress on your joints. Both your legs and core can really benefit from what stationary bikes have to offer. In order to get the best workout possible on your stationary bike and avoid potential injury, it's important to know how to properly use your bike.

Stationary bikes
There are two types of home exercise bikes. One of them is the upright, stationary bike. Much like a traditional bicycle, you're sitting up straight while your legs extend down to the pedals. You can get the same workout you would outdoors on a normal bicycle, but lucky for you, there's no inclement winter weather to worry about!

Recumbent exercise bike
A recumbent exercise bike is similar to an upright bike, but is different in a few ways. Instead of pedaling straight down, the pedals are located out in front of you. You also have a chair-like seat which supports your back and creates a more relaxed and comfortable position. Active said this seat promotes better spinal posture and allows you to multi-task due to the hands-free environment.

How to set up your bike
It's vital to know how to set your bike up correctly, whether it's a recumbent exercise bike or a stationary bike. Doing so will help you to get the best workout possible out of the equipment and help to avoid injury.

One of the best ways to make sure the bike is properly fitted is to adjust the height of the seat on an upright bike. Spark People suggested adjusting your seat based on the height of your hip. Once you sit on the bike, your legs should be fully extended, helping you to get the best leg workout. You should also make sure the height of the handlebar is in a comfortable position.

"Raising the handlebars higher will alleviate lower back stress that occurs when you lean forward. You should be able to reach the handlebars easily, keeping your elbows slightly bent." explained Spark People.

If you're using a recumbent exercise bike, you can choose to move the seat forward and back. Much like an upright bike, your legs should be almost fully extended out in front of you to give you a full pedal stroke. You can also choose to adjust the degree in which your seat leans back. However, it's important to remember not to tilt the seat too far back. According to Spine Health, this can potentially hyperextend the back and strain the muscles.

For either a recumbent exercise bike or a stationary bike, you should adjust the foot straps so your foot fits snug and won't fall out while pedaling.