Stationary Cycling Guidelines

Riding a stationary bike is popular and productive; it is a relatively easy way to get a terrific cardiovascular workout. Just make sure you pedal properly by following these important guidelines:

Seat height — If the seat is too high or too low, you can’t cycle correctly and may cause knee strain. Seated on the bike with your feet in the pedals, make sure the leg on the lower pedal is comfortably extended or has a slight bend at the knee.

Seat angle — Make sure your seat does not tilt forward, which can force you to lean against the handlebars, putting excessive strain on the hands and arms.

Posture — Sit up straight in the seat. Hunching over can stress the back and trigger low-back pain. Excessive leaning on the handlebars also minimizes the effectiveness of your workout. Unlike upright bikes, recumbent bikes have more supportive seats, keeping the back straight.

Seat size — Larger seats are more comfortable. If it is too large, however, the seat may alter your pedaling motion. If you have to angle your knees outward, you are placing more stress on the joint and not getting the most efficient workout.

Toe clips or foot straps — Use them! They put less stress on the knees and help you burn more calories by allowing you to pull up with one leg as you push down with the other. Try it for short intervals for an extra challenge.

Pedaling rate — Pedal at a rate of at least 70 rpm, preferably 75 to 90 rpm, even if it means using a lower resistance. Your goal should be to get your heart rate up and keep it up throughout the exercise.