Feeling bamboozled by bicycles? Here’s a quick guide to stationary bike basics.
Picking the right equipment for your workout is important as it can directly help or hinder your motivation and success. Adjusting the equipment properly to fit your body is also essential for preventing injuries, and making each workout a pleasure rather than a pain. If you have been staring at the different types of stationary bicycles in the gym in puzzlement, here is a guide to help you pick the bike that’s right for you.
The Two Types of Stationary Bikes:
- Upright Bikes: These are the most common type of bikes you will find in a gym, and are also the ones used in Spin Classes. The upright bike simulates the form of a regular (moving) bike, and is especially good choice for a thigh workout.
- Recumbent Bikes: This type of bike has a bucket seat, meaning that it provides back support while you recline and pedal in front of you. Recumbent bikes are recommended for older or more heavyset users, as it is a bit more comfortable on the back and bum. The placement of pedals makes this an especially good choice for a glute workout.
Adjust A Stationary Bike To Fit:
- Seat placement: Adjust the seat up or down (on a recumbent bike this will be forwards or back), to fit your leg length. At the bottom of reach rotation, your feet should be flat on the pedal and knees oh-so-slightly bent. At the top of each rotation your knees should not be crunched up into your armpits.
- Handlebars: Adjust the handlebars so you can grip them with your arms extended out at shoulder level. If you are squirming around them, or leaning forward to reach them (and straining your back in doing so), then they should be adjusted to your arm length.
- Pedal straps: Riding with pedal straps is much more efficient and safe than doing without (if your foot slips off a pedal, you can end up with some pretty awful scratches on your calf). Make the straps snug, but not so tight that they cut off your circulation, or pinch your feet.
- The Display Panel: Because of the sheer multitude of brands out there, I can’t describe each display panel to you. But I can advise you to familiarize yourself with the display panels at your gym, either by asking gym personnel for help, or playing around with the display. This is important because on some bikes there are ten levels, while on others there are fifty, meaning that “level eight” is not always going to be the best choice.