Recumbent bicycles are similar but not to be confused with a regular stationary bike. The advantages of recumbent bike is that the seat is designed in a reclined position which reduces the level of stress and strain on the body. Following a recumbent bike workout for weight loss, the recumbent bike has the potential to aid in substantial fitness and weight loss within a short period of time.
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What is a Recumbent Bike?
Compared to regular upright bikes with small seats above the cranks, this particular piece of fitness equipment has a bucket seat, a backrest, and cranks in front of the rider instead of below the seat.
What are the Advantages of Recumbent Bike?
One of the major advantages of recumbent bike is that it takes the pressure off the joints and lower body, making it a popular piece of cardio equipment for obese or elderly people or people with injuries (particularly joint or knee injuries).
This piece of exercise equipment enables its user to avoid lower back pain and stress on the joints while pedalling. Aside from burning calories, it also provides workout exercises for your legs and major muscles in the lower body.
While it may be true that recumbent bikes do not enjoy the same status as ellipticals and treadmills in your home gym, it is, however, undeniable that these bikes are effective tools for weight loss and fitness. (Very similar to rowing machine workout benefits).
Following this, the reduced strain on the body and added comfort help reduce the risk of injury. For comprehensive recumbent bike reviews on our favourite recumbent exercise bikes, check out my review article. The EXERPEUTIC Recumbent bike was our top pick!
Top 4 Advantages of Recumbent Bike
- A good option for obese or elderly people – the larger seat and better distribution of weight on a recumbent machine make this a low-impact form of exercise. Perfect for people who are obese or suffer from lower back or joint pain. It is also popular for elderly people for these same reasons
- Multi-Task machine – Sitting on a recumbent bike is more like sitting in a chair compared to the saddle of traditional exercise bicycles. You also have your hands free while riding depending on the exercise. It’s, therefore, possible to distract yourself while exercising by watching tv, reading a book, working on the computer etc.
- Less stress on joints – The comfortable bucket seat of a recumbent seat is hands down more comfortable than the saddle of a traditional exercise or spin bike! The more horizontal position of the pedals also protects the knees and ankles from unnecessary strain.
- Back support – During a workout you are encouraged to have a flat back pushed tight into the back of the seat. This makes it the perfect workout for people who suffer from lower back pain.
Recumbent Bike Workout for Weight Loss
By following a recumbent bike workout for weight loss plan, you will not just trim down your body, but also condition other muscle groups – your hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves.
Other than losing weight, this recumbent bike exercise routine also improves lung and cardiovascular capacities while increasing metabolism, hence allowing fat to burn even after the person using it has finished working out.
How to do a Recumbent Bike Workout
During a workout, trainers often recommend that the intensity and speed of the cycling motions be adjusted to vary from time to time for better results. Athletes who fail to vary their intensity levels often encounter weight-loss plateaus since their bodies quickly adapt to a particular cycling motion done consistently.
By varying the motions, you will be ensured to lose excess weight, and tone up problem areas at the same time, at any resistance setting on your bike.
For newbies it’s recommended to start your recumbent bike workout with 30mins, 3 – 4 times a week. After this, gradually increase to 1 hour. If you’re finding it too easy, use heavier flywheels which require more effort (thus allowing more calories to be burned per session).
Finally, for excellent results, interested athletes should follow a recumbent bike workout plan to lose weight, recommended as follows:
Recumbent Bike Workout for Weight Loss: Step-by-Step Workout Plan
It’s always important to do some warm-up exercises and dynamic stretches (moving while stretching) before getting onto your bike. This loosens your joints and tight muscles. Spend a few minutes stretching; try some lunges, squats, toe touches, trunk rotations and leg swings to fully stretch your body before you begin.
2) Adjust your Seat
The simple act of ensuring your seat is well positioned can make a difference between an effective and ineffective workout. It only takes a few seconds. Check your seat (by sliding it forward or backward) until your extended leg has a slight bend when on the far side of the pedalling cycle.
After the preparatory stretches, get on your bike and push the “start” button to do a pedal warm-up. Pedal slowly as you start then gradually increase your pace over 5 minutes. This will adjust your body temperature and loosen up your muscles and joints.
4) Choose Your Resistance
Increase your resistance and speed until you reach your comfortable exercise pace. Keep your resistance workload at a “not too difficult” challenging point, otherwise, adjust it as appropriate for you.
You should be breathing heavily and sweating but still capable of carrying on a conversation. Maintain this pace throughout your workout and end with a less strenuous five-minute cool-down.
5) Maintain Good Form
When cycling, always try to maintain good form. Not only does this help you to get the most out of your recumbent bike workout for weight loss, but it will minimise the risk of injury.
Adjust everything to your comfort and advantage, such as the seat, and backrest. When cycling your back should be straight and flat against the backrest. Hold the handlebars firmly, or the handles at the seat bottom when exercising.
Push forcefully with either leg to move the crank arms until you achieve a regular and steady cycling motion.
Length of Recumbent Bike Workout for Weight Loss
To get the best benefits in your recumbent bike workout, it’s important to exercise for long enough. Aim to do 30min cardio workouts to start with. For a recumbent bike workout for weight loss, increase this to 60 to 90 minutes of cardio per day (5 days per week).
Do some interval training on your recumbent bike for variety. Constantly increase your speed and resistance after your warm-up (up to 80% maximum effort for about 30 seconds). Decrease the effort to 50% for 60 seconds, alternating for about 30 minutes. Finish with a light cool-down (about 5 minutes).
Keep Busy While Working Out
One of the great advantages of recumbent bike is that it is easy to multitask while working out. Some people find distractions help make the workout go faster. If this is you, why not try setting up your recumbent bike in your lounge or office?
Is the Recumbent Bike Good for Weight Loss?
Let’s look at the recumbent bike versus other forms of exercise in terms of calories burned
- 60min recumbent bike at moderate intensity burns 400-450 calories per hour
- 60min walk at 3 mph burns 225 calories per hour
- 60min leisurely swimming burns 400 calories per hour
- 60min upright bike burns 500 calories per hour
The miles you do on a recumbent bike don’t affect your weight loss as much as the intensity of your workout. For this reason, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a very popular recumbent bike workout for weight loss.
Best Recumbent Bike Workout for Weight Loss
How to do a HIIT Workout
- Start with a 5-minute progressive warmup at low to medium intensity
- Then begin your intervals of high-intensity to low-intensity cycling at a ratio of 1:2
- Cycle with everything you’ve got in your high-intensity interval for 30 seconds. I use the hand grips beside your seat for support
- Follow this with 60 seconds of low intensity. Pedal at a very slow but steady pace to gear yourself up for the next high-intensity segment. This is your recovery period
- Repeat this 5 times
- Finish with a five minute cool-down cycle
Like any form of exercise, you will get out what you put in. When it comes to the recumbent bike, intensity is key which is why HIIT has proven to work when looking to burn calories and achieve recumbent bike weight loss results.
My Top Tips to get the Best Recumbent Bike workout for Weight Loss
- Adjust the intensity level – as I mentioned earlier, intensity is vital so you want to be pushing yourself. Aim to get your heart rate up into the fat burning zone
- Keep your abs contracted while pedalling. This will give you an added core workout
- Add dumbbells or a resistance band for an added upper body arm workout while you cycle
- Eat well and drink lots of water – avoid processed foods and focus on eating a nutritious, whole food diet. Above all, cut back on sugar! To get an idea of your recommended daily calorie intake, check out this calorie calculator
Conclusion on Recumbent Bike Workout for Weight Loss
More and more people are finding out about recumbent bike benefits and loving the weight loss and fitness results they’re achieving with a good recumbents bike exercise or workout plan.
You can even watch TV or your favorite movie while working out.
With a recumbent bike, an average-sized person of 150 pounds can lose around 462 calories per hour (with moderate intensity) plus 90 calories more on a higher intensity.
Seriously, there is no other weight-loss machine that can equal the recumbent exercise bike benefits and advantages; not only for senior folks but for younger individuals, as well.
In terms of value for money, the recumbent bike is indeed worth every penny you spend on it. Be sure to read my recumbent exercise bike reviews article to find the best product for your home gym.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
What are the Advantages of Recumbent Bikes?
Sitting on a recumbent bike is like sitting in a chair, with your hands free if you choose, making them a great machine for multi-tasking (this doesn’t mean you don’t have to work though!). The main advantages of recumbent bike s is the low impact nature of the workout and the design of the machine. The horizontal position and comfortable bucket seat helps to protect the knees and ankles from unnecessary strain, making them a great cardio machine for anyone who suffers from back or joint pain.
Who May Benefit From Riding a Recumbent Bike?
Recumbent bikes are a fantastic exercise option for the majority of people, including people who are obese, elderly or those suffering from lower back or joint pain. The primary reason for this is the low impact nature of the workout.
Which is Better a Recumbent or an Upright Exercise Bike?
Recumbent stationary bikes are a great option for people who prefer or need additional back support while working out. The chair-like seating and incline pedals create a much lower impact workout compared to an upright bike. For those who are used to a traditional bike workout then an upright bike may make you feel more at home.
Benefits of Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike
For more benefits on recumbent bikes vs upright bikes, check out my article on the Best Exercise Bikes for Home Workouts