If you are just getting on an exercise bike for the very first time, there’s a good chance you’re not doing it right. Many people think it’s a pretty simple activity – but the truth is, everything matters: from the position of the bike to the height of the seat.
Following are a few guidelines to help you find out if you’re properly using an exercise bike for the first time.
Are You Sure You’re Doing it Properly?
Since a silly mistake will not only make your workout ineffective, it can also put excess impact on your body – and might even lead to injury.
So, why don’t you take some time to learn the do’s and don’ts so that you can do it the right way. Following is all of the information you’ll ever really need.
Types of Exercise Bikes
Before we look at anything else, let’s consider the three most common types of exercise bikes:
How to Effectively Use an Exercise Bike
Next, you will find the steps that you must follow to ensure your workout sessions are effective.
- Sit on the bike and place your heels on the pedals. If your knee is extended and your leg is straight when the pedal is the furthest from you, then you are in the most ideal seat position. If not, you’ll need to change the height of the seat. On a recumbent bike, this is done by taking the seat forward or backward.
- Now, place the balls of your feet on the pedals and pedal to see if you can comfortably ride it.
- Check the handlebar position – you don’t want to have to bend too much while you’re cycling because this can result in hand, back, neck, and shoulder pain. This happens when the handlebars are too high or too low.
- Sit straight, keeping your chin tucked back and your shoulder blades down. To warm up, gently hold your handlebars and slowly start pedaling. Make sure that you’re putting even pressure on both sides. You should do this for about 10 minutes. You want to reduce your risk of injury by avoiding vigorous pedaling to start with. You’ve got to give your body time to adapt to the motion of cycling.
- If the bike is equipped with a heart monitor, use it! This will help guide you in making sure that you keep your heart rate within the ideal range.
According to CDC guidelines, adults should be getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week (7 days), which means you should get at least 20 minutes per day.
If you simply can’t do 20 minutes (or more) at a time, you can break it down into two 10-minute sessions. The last 5 minutes of your workout should be as slow as the beginning in order to cool down.
Are You Making the Same Mistakes?
If you are new to the world of stationary bikes, it’s perfectly normal to make some mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes when they’re just getting started with something.
Here are a few of the most common ones to keep in mind so that you can avoid making them yourself.
Gripping the handlebar too tight
The very first mistake beginners make is holding the handlebar too tightly. The handlebars are there to help you maintain your balance, not hold your entire upper body weight.
When you grip the handlebar tightly, you’re putting extra pressure on your hands, which is not going to be effective. Instead, you should be putting your weight on your lower body and only use the handlebars for balance.
Seat too high/low
When the bicycle seat is set too low, you can’t fully extend your legs and when it’s too high, you end up rocking back and forth while pedaling. Neither of these is effective.
If you’re not sure how to properly adjust the seat, here’s a tip: stand beside the bike and set the height of the seat just above your hips. This should be a comfortable position.
Rocking while cycling
When most people cycle with headphones on, they feel like dancing. However, before you turn your cycle session into a party, consider this: When you rock side to side, you are causing an imbalance which could result in serious injury.
Of course, if you’re aware of this imbalance, you may compensate by gripping the handlebar tightly – which puts more tension in your shoulders (as mentioned above) – which is also not a good thing.
Handlebars too high/low
Another common mistake is setting the handlebars too high or low, which are both bad for you. You know that your handlebars are in the best position if they are aligned with your seat.
Unfortunately, irregular breathing seems to be common in all types of workouts. Most people either breathe too deeply or too shallow- which are ineffective.
Proper breathing is critical because it brings additional oxygen to your muscles and lungs.
Pedaling too fast
When you are on a stationary bike, your rotations per minute, or RPMs, should be 80-120. When you pedal too fast, you could end up freewheeling, which can lead to injury.
The first time you use a stationary bike, you’re likely to make mistakes – almost everyone does, after all. However, when you know what mistakes most people make, it’s much easier to avoid them.
When you avoid these mistakes, you increase the effectiveness of your workout and decrease your chances of experiencing an injury.