A stationary exercise bike is probably one of the most suitable pieces of exercise equipment to burn calories.
The reasons for this are simple; they don’t put a lot of stress on your joints, they’re usually relatively comfortable, and most importantly, they burn calories effectively.
In this article, I’ll explain in detail how to lose weight on a stationary bike effectively. Additionally, I’ll also help you choose the best exercise bike to lose weight. So, you can start your weight loss journey as soon as possible.
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Are Exercise Bikes Good for Weight Loss?
Cycling is an effective way to increase your heart rate and boost energy expenditure. Therefore it’s also a useful machine to burn calories.
A study by the American Council on Exercise illustrated that in a 45-minute indoor cycling session you could burn up to 600 calories.
Compare this to aerobics (532 calories per hour), walking (356 calories per hour) and calisthenics (400 calories per hour). It’s not hard to see why indoor cycling is a popular method to lose weight.
So long story short; ‘yes’ exercise bikes are good for weight loss. They are a good choice because they’re relatively effective compared to other types of exercise.
Which type of exercise bicycle is best for losing weight?
You might be wondering which type of exercise bike you should choose. Should you choose an upright/spinning type or a usually more comfortable recumbent type?
It is generally accepted that if you exercise on these machines with the same level of intensity, the number of calories burned is about the same.
A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy illustrated that in most circumstances, there was virtually no difference in muscle activity when using a stationary upright bike compared to a recumbent bike. The only variant noted was that recumbent bikes work the shin muscles more, and uprights the thighs.
I must note; ‘muscle activity’ isn’t the same as ‘calories burned’. However, it’s an important indication that the type of bike doesn’t really affect its ability to burn calories.
So, I recommend choosing the type of bike which best suits your needs. Let’s take a look a the different types of stationary bikes.
The different types
As already discussed above, in terms effectiveness there’s probably little difference between recumbent-, upright- and spinning cycle- bikes.
However, it’s still important to know the main differences between the different types. There are three main types, which are:
- Upright bikes; usually have a smaller footprint, similar to real cycling but puts the pressure on back and arms.
- Recumbent bikes; typically have a larger footprint, more stable, more comfortable, easy to get on and off, but does not feel like road cycling. They tend to be the most comfortable, which is especially useful if you’re serious about losing weight and want to exercise for a longer period.
- Spinning bikes; feel similar to cycling on a racing bicycle, and generally, have a medium footprint and higher intensity levels. Might be too uncomfortable if you aren’t flexible.
How to use a stationary bicycle for weight loss?
If you want to burn the most calories in the least amount of time, then you should mainly focus on resistance and variation.
When raising the intensity by increasing the resistance, your muscles and the cardiovascular system require more energy. In other words, you’ll usually burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
But remember to be cautious and don’t exceed your limits, especially in the beginning. Increase the resistance gradually as you start to feel more comfortable. Losing weight takes time, and tiring your body too much will only set you back.
Variation is what’s going to keep you cycling and burning calories.
Keep your workouts varied so that you won’t get bored. Following the same type of workout (program) over and over again isn’t very motivating. At least not to me.
But more importantly, varying your workout program is essential to keep burning fat effectively. Your body will adjust to your workout routine, especially if you keep repeating the same workout program.
As a result, you will usually burn fewer calories as time goes on. This is also known as the “plateau“. Many dread this phase, especially if they’re not aware of how to get past this phase.
3 stationary bike workouts for weight loss
In the following paragraphs, you’ll find workouts you can perform on a stationary bike which are especially useful for losing weight.
Steady Pace, Long Ride
An example of a good fat burning workout is to keep a steady pace during a relatively long workout.
After your warmup, obtain a pace where you feel slightly out of your comfort zone but still able to continue for a longer period (moderate effort).
Get comfortable at your current pace and keep it for the next 30 to 60 minutes. This simple workout helps you burn fat while building endurance.
You might experience saddle soreness after a while. If that’s the case, then I recommend reading this article about exercise bike seats, which helps you make your saddle more comfortable. So you’ll be able to keep exercising without too much discomfort.
Hill climbs are great to challenge yourself. After your warmup, increase the resistance every five minutes. It’s supposed to feel as though as cycling uphill on a real bicycle.
Focus on pedaling at a steady pace. As the intensity increases, you’ll burn more calories. Stop when you feel you’ve given it all you’ve got.
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is a popular type of workout, and not without reason!
It consists of high-intensity speed intervals, generally not lasting more than a minute, followed by a low-intensity resting period. Starting with a resting period of 90 seconds is recommended. You can repeat this cycle for 20 minutes depending on how you feel.
HIIT will trigger your metabolic system, which results in a relatively high-calorie burn, especially in the hours after your workout. For optimal results, you may want to be doing at least one or two HIIT sessions a week.
If you need some more help getting started, you can watch this helpful video:
Reviews of the Best Exercise Bikes to Lose Weight (Our Choices)
In the last part of this article, I’ll compare five different exercise bikes which are, in my opinion, all suitable for losing weight effectively.
Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike
The Exerpeutic Folding Upright Bike might be a good choice if you’re looking for an upright bike to burn fat, but don’t have a lot of space. With just 31 inches, by 19 inches, by 46 inches, it is relatively small. It also folds to half its fully assembled size. Making it easy to store.
Monitoring your weight loss journey on this machine is quite easy. A large easy-to-read LCD shows metrics like; calories burned, heart rate and speed.
The single control button also makes it an attractive choice for people who are not comfortable with complicated technology or want to keep things simple. Like me.
Furthermore, it weighs 39 pounds, and it’s easily transportable. However, its 300-pound capacity means it can still cope with a heavier person.
Additionally, an extra-large seat provides extra comfort and stability, which is a helpful feature for those longer workouts at a steady pace.
Like the Exerpeutic, this bicycle has eight levels of resistance. These levels can be adjusted while remaining seated. Just lean forward and turn the tension knob. The easily adjustable tension might be a useful feature for users who aren’t flexible. There is certainly no need to be on ‘hands and knees’ to adjust the resistance.
The large LCD shows you the number of calories you’ve burned, speed, time and distance. Because of its large size, you’ll probably be able to read it from the recumbent position.
Furthermore, it has a relatively thick padded seat and back. Plus, it also has foam covered handles. These features could make it more enjoyable for people who’re looking for extra comfort.
It weighs 60 pounds and has a maximum capacity of 300 pounds. This makes it more than stable enough for most users.
Lastly, you might also want to know the machine measures 55.5 inches by 25 inches by 37.5 inches. So it does require some space.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002
The adjustable felt pads provide the resistance. There are no “standard” resistance settings; this means you can adjust the resistance and intensity exactly the way you want.
The seat is also designed to resemble a racing bike, with a little-added comfort to your workout more enjoyable. Furthermore, it is adjustable both vertically and horizontally.
Furthermore, it is a relatively heavy machine, weighing 115 pounds. The maximum user weight is 275 pounds. So you can expect it to be sturdy. Lastly, the dimensions of the SF-B1002 are 44 inches by 20 inches by 44 inches.
The XBR450 is an upright folding bike. What makes this machine stand out is the universal tablet holder with angle adjustment. The adjustment of the angle makes it easier to use a tablet while exercising.
The tablet holder is compatible with different brands. The tablet will be securely held by the holder directly within your eye line.
Furthermore, it has a backrest for extra support. The backrest combined with the relatively large seat makes longer workouts more comfortable.
Additionally, you have the choice of being in a racing position by holding on to the front handles or in a reclined position by holding on to the extra handles on the sides. The side handles might be a useful feature for users with back issues who do not want to bend forward.
The Innova XBR450 has eight adjustable levels of resistance. The LCD provides information about your speed, distance, time and calories. You can also monitor your heart rate by holding on to the pulse sensors.
The foldable construction means it will not take up a lot of space when folded and it’s also easily transportable weighing only 47.9 pounds.
The Schwinn 270 might be suitable if you’re looking for a more advanced bike in terms of features. It has Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to monitor your progress through the official Schwinn app, it’s also compatible with other fitness apps.
The 270 enables you to virtually cycle with friends and see a virtual outside world with the RideSocial application. Of course, you’ll need a tablet for this to work.
Additionally, it has built-in speakers, a fan and can charge your USB devices through a connecting port. This is in addition with 29 workout programs, and 25 levels make it a good choice for users who’re looking for a comfortable and challenging workout at the same time.
With a total weight of 93 pounds, it is a relatively heavy machine. Plus, the Schwinn 270 measures 66.5 inches by 12.5 inches by 27.5 inches. So you might want to assemble it in a dedicated space.
In my opinion, the Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike is the best exercise bike for weight loss. It has eight individual resistance levels, which is enough to vary the level of intensity.
In addition, it has a relatively large LCD, which makes keeping track of the total amount of calories you’ve burned easier. Furthermore, the relatively large seat provides extra comfort, which is useful for longer workouts.
It’s mainly a good choice if you’re looking for a comfortable and straightforward stationary bike which is relatively easy to store.