Our Favorite Recumbent Exercise Bike Workout Plans
Looking for a comfortable, painless workout that will get you the results you want?
A recumbent bike may be the right choice for you.
This perennially popular workout method is a great way to improve your body without adding stress or pain. If you’re recovering from an injury or have other mobility restrictions, this can be the option that gets you back in shape.
In this essential guide to recumbent exercise bike workouts, we’ll tell you everything you need to know for an effective bike workout regimen. Read on to learn more!
What’s a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
We’ve all seen exercise bikes: the stationary bicycles that are popular in gyms and homes. They help you reap the benefits of bicycling without needing to brave the elements or dodge traffic.
But what’s a recumbent exercise bike?
These bikes offer a reclined, chair-like seat for added comfort during a workout. This is a great way to keep your back supported while exercising, removing any stress or strain from the back.
The reclined position also means your hands are free. Instead of holding onto bike handles, you can read, answer emails, or check social media while getting a workout in.
The added comfort and convenience can help encourage you to have longer workouts, which is great for boosting your exercise productivity without much effort. Minutes will pass and before you know it you’re lost in a favorite book or podcast while on the bike!
Also, the reclined seat means your legs must do a bit more work to combat gravity. This puts you in a position to use muscles that you don’t use every day, getting more results from your workout.
Why Use a Recumbent Exercise Bike?
There are many benefits to doing your workouts on a recumbent exercise bike. Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons why these workouts are so effective.
1. Less Joint Stress
If saving your joints is important, a recumbent bike is the way to go.
That’s because you’ll be reclined, with your legs in front of you. This takes the pressure off of ankle, knee, and hip joints, making this a perfect workout for recovering athletes and elderly people.
2. Added Back Support
Traditional bikes usually offer no back support at all. Not only is this less comfortable, but it can also exacerbate your existing back issues.
If you suffer from back problems, a recumbent bike won’t add any pain or complicate the problems. In fact, working out this way can help get you on the road to recovery.
3. Easy to Get On
Getting on and off a recumbent exercise bike is much easier than getting on a regular bike, making this a great choice for people with mobility issues.
The recumbent seat is lower, and you won’t need to lift your leg over the bike frame. Instead, you can just sit down, much like sitting on a chair.
4. Extra Padding
We all know bike seats can be very uncomfortable. Traditional bike seats have a one-size-fits-all style, but for many body types, the fit really isn’t right.
The wider, padded seat of a recumbent exercise bike means there is comfort for people of any size and shape. This allows you to exercise longer and stay more focused on the workout, rather than the uncomfortable bike seat.
5. Burns More Calories
It’s true that upright bikes burn more calories than recumbent ones in the same amount of time. However, it’s much harder to stay on the upright bike for a long period of time, because it doesn’t put you in a comfortable position.
The recumbent exercise bike may not burn calories as fast as the upright one, but because you can comfortably stay on it for longer, you’ll actually find it easier to burn more calories using this option.
6. Works the Glutes and Hamstrings
The reclined position gives more work to your glutes and hamstrings. If you want to build strength in those areas, you’ll want to use a reclined bike.
7. Lets You Multi-Task
As mentioned above, the recumbent exercise bike is designed to be hands-free. This saves you time by allowing you to multi-task while you work out. Whether it’s work, recreation, or personal development, don’t you want to save time and accomplish more while you work out?
8. Ideal for Major Weight Loss
If you’re significantly overweight, the design of workout equipment can hinder your ability to start losing weight.
Upright bikes have narrow seats that can be impossible to sit on. Most workout equipment can ironically seem to be designed with someone athletic in mind. People of average or above-average weight can find upright bikes and other machines difficult to use.
Plus, putting lots of weight on your joints can cause too much strain, putting you at risk of injury.
However, a recumbent exercise bike is a good fit for everybody. You don’t need to worry about sitting on an absurdly small seat. Also, the machine is simple and approachable, making this a great way to jumpstart a major weight loss plan.
If you’ve been putting off losing weight because of intimidating gym equipment, a recumbent bike is an easy way to get started. You can even do it while watching your favorite shows – now, there’s no excuse to miss a workout.
The Best Exercise Bike Workouts
Everyone is different, and everyone needs a different workout plan to achieve their goals. However, there are a few tried-and-true workout methods that are great for reaching common exercise goals. Let’s take a look at some of the best.
If you’re just getting started on getting in shape, a low-impact workout helps you build the strength you need to move up to a higher intensity later on. Low-impact workouts help you enjoy the workout, so you won’t find yourself avoiding exercise.
This is also good for days when you need an easier workout, but don’t want to miss out on exercise altogether.
1. Pedal Slowly
Start off slow, so you can get used to the feel of the bike. Take 10 minutes to explore the movement without pushing yourself. Get comfortable!
2. Speed it Up
Now, increase your pedal speed for 10 minutes. You can also add difficulty by upping the bike’s resistance level. Work your way up to the hardest resistance you can pedal on, and push yourself for 10 minutes.
Although 10 minutes may seem like a long time, keep in mind that you can keep your mind off the difficulty by tuning into a song, a show, an audiobook – whatever you prefer.
3. Slow Down
For the last 10 minutes, gradually slow your pedal speed down again without stopping.
Keep yourself working for this final stretch, but at a lower difficulty level. You should be able to talk, but with some difficulty.
Don’t forget to stretch a bit after you get off the bike.
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is great for those who want a more intense workout. The changes in intensity are combined with the right intervals to give you maximum results in a short amount of time.
Of course, not everyone is at the same level, so don’t be afraid to adjust the intensity while learning this workout form. You can always move up to a greater difficulty level.
1. Start Easy
Begin at an easy pace to get warmed up. Take 5 minutes to enjoy a slower pace before the intense part begins. Warmups are important to prevent injuries, so don’t skip this step!
2. Bump it Up
Now, jump to a hard pace for 30 seconds. Push yourself as hard as possible, using speed and resistance levels. Then, bring it down to a moderate (but not slow) pace for another 30 seconds.
3. Take a Break
After your hard and moderate intervals, rest for a minute at your original easy pace – but don’t stop pedaling.
4. Add Time
After your one-minute break, work on hard mode for one minute, then moderate for one minute. Remember to push yourself as hard as you can for the hard minute – keep in mind that you will get a break soon!
5. Rinse and Repeat
Repeat the slow-hard-moderate cycle four times for maximum results. This is a great way to burn calories fast. Remember to spend at least 5 minutes cooling down at the end.
HIIT Workout Variation
HIIT is great because it has so many different options. Here’s another variation on the method.
1. Warm Up
Stick with your slow five-minute warm up to get the blood flowing.
2. 30-Second Intervals
For this workout, you’ll stick with 30-second intervals the whole time. Work at 95 percent of your maximum ability for 30 seconds, then slow down for a 30-second break.
Cycle between these two intensities for 20 minutes, and give yourself another 5 minutes to cool off at the end.
The beauty of this workout is that you can always adjust it as you need. Switch up the interval times as needed – the important thing is that you keep the fast-slow cycle going.
Ready for a Recumbent Bike?
This is a great, versatile way to get the workout you need at home.
Whether you’re struggling with injury, obesity, or age getting in the way of your workout goals, or you just want a convenient way to get in shape, a recumbent exercise bike is the way to go.
Wondering which reclined bike model you should invest in? Check out our guide to the top bike models here!