How to Lose Weight on a Stationary Bike

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In This Article

Do you use stationary bike workouts to lose weight? Whether you are a beginner or a regular exerciser, you might need a few tips and ideas to boost your weight loss program. Use these stationary bike workouts and helpful ideas to improve your level of fitness and reach for weight loss goals.

Overview 

Indoor bikes are a great way to experience bicycling even if you never learned how to ride a traditional bike. An indoor bike allows you to feel like you are on a bicycle without having to worry about the safety issues that riding on the open road brings.

In addition to offering aerobic exercise, stationary bikes also improve the muscle tone of your hips, buttocks, and thighs.

Types of Bikes

You will find computerized and non-computerized stationary bikes at your local gym. You can also purchase a bike for home use. But extra features don't necessarily provide a better workout. Computerized models may have a display that shows your cadence or heart rate. These bikes might also provide preset workouts for weight loss. But you don't need these features to slim down. 

You'll also find different stationary bike styles at most gyms, including:

  • Recumbent
  • Spin
  • Upright

A recumbent bike allows you to recline slightly as you ride. You sit with the pedals in front of you, rather than below you. These bikes are ideal for someone who has back problems because they support the lower back while upright bikes do not.

You'll find spin bikes at many health clubs. These bikes are used in group cycling classes to burn fat and calories. Riding a spin bike feels like riding a mountain bike or a road bike outdoors. A weighted flywheel on the front of the bike provides resistance to make you feel like you are pedaling on a real road or path. These bikes also allow you to clip into the pedals with sport-specific cycling shoes if you own them.

Riding an upright stationary bike feels very similar to riding your regular outdoor bike

Resistance

To get the best stationary bike workout for weight loss, you need to use resistance. You can set the resistance level based on your fitness level and your goal for the ride. It is important that you do not set the resistance too high when you are first starting out. You want to get a good work out, but cycling should not actually hurt, even for a beginner.

If you are in continual pain while biking, it is a sign that your resistance is set too high for your fitness level.

Proper Form

You should also use good form when you ride a stationary bike. If you take a spin class, ask the instructor to set up the bike on your first ride. They will adjust the saddle so that your joints are protected and you are comfortable throughout the workout. 

If you are riding a stationary bike at home, set the saddle to a height that is roughly at the hip level. As you pedal, this height should allow your legs to extend comfortably. You shouldn't have a deep bend in your knee as your pedal and you also shouldn't be tilting your hips in the saddle or reaching down to complete each pedal stroke. 

The handlebars should allow you to keep your back upright and comfortable. There is no need to set them at a level where you are reaching far forward or leaning to reach them.

Workouts

If you don't have preset workouts on your stationary bike, use these ideas to promote weight loss when you ride. Again, be sure that you are healthy enough for exercise before you begin and always start with a shorter, easier workout when you are a beginner.

  • Hill climb. Start with a steady-state warm-up, then gradually increase the intensity level in 5-minute increments. You'll feel like you are climbing a hill on your bike. The workload gets harder and you'll have to burn more calories and fat as you try to keep the pedals moving at a regular pace.
  • Steady-state ride. Listen to music or watch your favorite television show or movie on your tablet as you ride for 15 to 60 minutes at a steady work level. This workout helps to build your cardiovascular endurance, burns fat, and calories.
  • Speed intervals. Start with a steady-state warm-up, then increase your pace at 2-minute intervals. Pedal faster for two minutes, then return to your regular pace for two minutes. Repeat the intervals for 15-30 minutes, then finish your workout with a 5-minute cooldown.

A Word From Verywell

If you do your stationary bike workouts for weight loss on a regular basis, you'll notice changes in your fitness level and body in a matter of weeks.

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  1. Ho SS, Dhaliwal SS, Hills AP, Pal S. The effect of 12 weeks of aerobic, resistance or combination exercise training on cardiovascular risk factors in the overweight and obese in a randomized trialBMC Public Health. 2012;12:704. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-704