One of the amazing parts of working on a recumbent bike is that you get to sit down and get an amazing workout. If you’ve been on your feet all day at work, this type of workout is such a happy medium to work up a sweat without standing.
Seated Position & Seating Adjustments
This works well for those who are obese and can't stand for long periods of time. It also works well for those who are in need of a good cardio workout with low impact (elderly, injured, etc.). Even though you’re seated, don't make the assumption that this is the perfect chance to recline and watch the latest episodes of the soap operas and reality shows. It's essential to actively engage and to make sure that the seat is positioned in the proper position.
When it’s time to get behind the wheel of a car, it’s important to adjust the seat for a few reasons. If there is an accident, you don’t want the impact of the airbag to injure your face. So, it’s best to be a safe distance from the steering wheel. At the same time, it’s important to make sure the feet are close enough to push the pedals. Short people might have a harder time adjusting in a car, but it’s still an important point to remember.
The same concept applies when it’s time to get on a cycling machine. While most of the exercise bikes in gyms are stationary and don’t have airbags, it’s important to make sure your feet can reach the pedals. At the same time, you want to make sure that the legs can extend for a good workout.
Though the lower body does a ton of the work, it’s still wise to make sure that your upper body is supported. Yes, it’s good to engage the core muscles, but make sure the back of the seat is in a position that supports your back. Many riding machines have levers that allow you to adjust the seat to your liking. Don’t be afraid to use them. Customize the seat, according to your height and the length of your legs. When it’s time to start, you should be able to sit comfortably in the upright position without straining, stretching or overextending.
Another way to adjust is to turn on the exercise machine and do a quick warm-up for a few minutes. See how the body feels. If the legs feel overextended, adjust the seat. If the back feels uncomfortable, readjust the position. If you’re doing a HIIT workout, don’t wait until you’re deep in the workout to readjust. If need be, do a longer warm-up session on the recumbent bike to ensure your comfort level. If you’re deep in the workout and the discomfort starts to rear its ugly head, stop and readjust. While it’s good to keep the momentum going, safety is always paramount. You don’t want to risk an injury for the sake of completing a workout.
Pedal Straps, Positioning & Adjustments
Most stationary machines with wheels have pedals that come with straps. It's a lot easier to maneuver the pedals when the feet are attached to them. Many recumbent bikes come with adjustable straps that you can change based on your sneaker size. However, never try to operate the recumbent bike with bare feet. The sneakers serve as a protective shield and provide a good amount of grip when it's time to pedal. Especially during the times when the level of intensity is higher, it's best to wear sneakers in order to get support as you push through those harder moments.
Another reason why it's important to make sure your seat is adjusted properly is that you don't want to hyperextend your hip flexors and impact the entire leg and foot. If your ankles and tibialis anterior muscles get stretched past their ability, this can lead to a serious injury. With such a low-impact machine, an injury is totally avoidable by taking the time out to properly adjust the settings. If you're using a stationary bicycle at home, make sure to place it on a sturdy and stable base. Take into consideration the actual texture of the floor.
If you're using the machine to maintain your health and stamina, you don't need to be on it longer than 30 minutes each day. If you're really looking to lose a certain amount of weight, it's best to increase the intensity and remain on the recumbent bike for an extended period of time. Typically, people that are looking to lose weight tend to stay on the recumbent bikes between 60 to 90 minutes at a time.
This math doesn't apply to those who are doing HIIT workouts. However, since you're spending a significant amount of time on the bicycle, it's really vital to make sure that the body feels well-adjusted and comfortable. Otherwise, you'll naturally find ways to take shortcuts, rush through the workout and get off. This won't help you in the long run. Make the proper adjustments and position the recumbent bike effectively so that you can get the most out of your workout time.