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Recumbent Bike Exercise Program

Last Updated on September 14, 2021 by JP

Exercising with joint or muscle issues can be challenging, but recumbent bikes have provided a comfortable option for those who need a little physical support in their exercise routine. 

While comfort is a key part of a recumbent bike workout, do not underestimate this powerful piece of equipment. Using it in the right way can lead to some serious burn, and most importantly, help you reach all your fitness and weight loss goals. 

We look at the ideal exercise duration and explore the area of High-Intensity Interval Training. There are also four recumbent bike workouts, each for a varying fitness level, that is guaranteed to leave your legs wobbly the next morning. 

High-Intensity Interval Training

recumbent bike exercise program

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise that is a more time-effective way to lose weight, than low to moderate steady exercise. 

Pedaling on recumbent bikes means the focus is on the lower body, so optimizing this type of workout can create a more intense session for overall fat burn. 

This type of workout is generally made up of short intervals of high speed and low resistance, alternating with short intervals of slow, steady pedaling with high resistance. It can incorporate high speed with high resistance, once your fitness levels have increased. 

As long as your workout pace is changing every few minutes, you can combine it however you wish. 

The consistent increase and decrease of the heart rate are what results in the optimal burning of fat. It can also lead to a faster metabolism and has positive effects on internal health such as your heart, lungs, and blood pressure. 

HIIT workouts can be adapted to suit any fitness level, from beginner to advanced. If you learn the basics of what constitutes a HIIT workout, it is possible to compile your own routine to suit your individual needs. 

If you are new to the HIIT space, or you would just prefer to follow an outlined workout, we have you covered. We have put together a few straightforward HIIT workouts that you can follow exactly as is, or to which you can make your own adjustments. 

There is a beginner workout, intermediate workout, and advanced workout. There is also a fiery routine that you can try out once you’ve mastered the advanced. 

recumbent bike program

Beginner Workout 

For those unfamiliar with HIIT workouts, this high-impact recumbent bike routine is a good place to begin. Remember, each individual has varying fitness needs and abilities, so adjust where necessary to prevent injury. Make sure to stretch before and after the workout. 

  • 3:00 minutes (Warm-up): Start with a slow pedal at low resistance.
  • 7:00 minutes: Pedal at low resistance for 00:30 seconds at a high speed. Switch to high resistance at low speed for 00:30 seconds. Repeat this six times more to make up the full 7:00 minutes.
  • 10:00 minutes: Pedal at high resistance for 00:30 seconds at a high speed, then switch to pedaling at low resistance at a medium speed for 1:30 seconds. Repeat this four more times to complete the full 10:00 minutes.
  • 05:00 minutes (Cool-down): Take it easy with a low speed at low resistance for a crucial cool-down period. This will get you ready for your next workout, or wind you down to prevent burnout for the next day. 

Intermediate workout

If you have a little bit of experience with cycling and the beginners’ workout is becoming too easy for you, this intermediate, HIIT workout is the perfect way to step to the next level. 

  • 2:00 minutes (Warm-up): Start with a slow pedal at low resistance.
  • 8:00 minutes: Pedal at low resistance for 00:30 seconds at a high speed. Switch to high resistance at low speed for 01:30 seconds. Repeat this three times more to make up the full 8:00 minutes.
  • 10:00 minutes: Pedal at high resistance and high speed for 01:00 minute, then switch to pedaling at medium resistance at a low speed for 01:00 minute. Repeat this four more times to complete the full 10:00 minutes.
  • 06:00 minutes: Pedal with a low resistance at a high speed for 01:00 minute, then switch to high resistance at a low speed for 01:00 minute. Repeat twice more to complete the full 06:00 minutes. 
  • 04:00 minutes (Cool-down): Bring it down to a low speed at a low resistance for a cool-down period. 

exercise program for recumbent bike

Advanced workout

After a prolonged time using a recumbent bike, you will reach an advanced level of fitness and ability. The key is not to get comfortable: push yourself further with this advanced level HIIT workout. 

  • 5:00 minutes (Warm-up): Start with a slow pedal at low resistance.
  • 10:00 minutes: Pedal at a low resistance and high speed for 01:00 minute. Switch to high resistance at a high speed for 01:00 minute. Repeat this four more times to make up the full 10:00 minutes.
  • 06:00 minutes: Pedal at a medium resistance and low speed for 0:30 seconds, then switch to pedaling at a medium resistance at a high speed for 01:30 seconds. Repeat this two more times to complete the full 06:00 minutes.
  • 09:00 minutes: Pedal at a medium resistance at a low speed for 01:30 seconds, then switch to high resistance at a high speed for 01:30 seconds. Repeat twice more to complete the full 09:00 minutes. 
  • 05:00 minutes (Cool-down): Come down to a low speed at a low resistance for a cool-down period. 

A workout to challenge yourself

Once you have had prolonged and advanced experience with the recumbent bike, you might think there is no way to push yourself harder – until you try this workout. 

This challenging, ultra-advanced HIIT workout should only be attempted if you have the strength and ability to handle it. Stop if and when you feel that you need to.

  • Push your speed and resistance as hard as you possibly can for 10 minutes, without slowing down. 
  • Cool down for five minutes with a very slow, zero-resistance pedal. 
  • Push your speed and resistance as hard as you can again for another 10 minutes, without slowing down. 
  • Cool down again for five minutes with a slow, zero-resistance pedal. 
  • Push your speed and resistance as hard as you can one last time for 5 minutes, without slowing down. 
  • Finally, cool down with a slow pedal for five minutes. 

Once you get the hang of it, feel free to create your own HIIT workouts, or adjust those given here. Doing a new variation every day, or every few days will ensure that you keep things interesting with your recumbent bike routine, and avoid losing interest and momentum. 

Remember to stay hydrated during these workouts, as dehydration could lead to dizziness and low energy levels. A well-rounded, nourishing diet also goes a long way in keeping you energized and exercising optimally. 

recumbent bike exercise plan

How Long Should I Exercise on A Recumbent Bike?

Figuring out how long to spend pedaling on a recumbent bike can be tricky – too short and it’s ineffective, too long and you risk burnout or injury. The ideal time period can vary depending on speed, ability, and resistance, as well as having other exercises that form part of your routine. 

On average, 30-90 minutes per day, for 5-6 days per week, is a decent time frame when using a recumbent bike for cardio. If this is your only exercise for the day, 60 minutes is ideal. If you have other exercises planned, such as jogging, weight training, or bodyweight exercises, keeping it at 30 minutes is best. 

If you are a beginner at cycling or cardio in general, it is safer to start with a shorter workout time. As you progress, you can add an extra 5-10 minutes to your workout on a weekly or fortnightly basis. 

Listen to what your body needs: ensure it is not too comfortable, but also refrain from pushing it too hard. 

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