Most gyms would be equipped with 3 categories of bikes:
- upright stationary bikes,
- recumbent bikes and
- spin bikes.
The next time you enter a gym, take time to observe regular users of each bike type. On which bike do fitter looking people sit? On which type of stationary bike do the less-motivated-looking (they may not be so but they looks so) people sit?
Maybe I am being naughty for bringing this up, but be assured that I do not like unnecessary prejudices. However, when it comes to bike users, there is glaring evidence that the fittest looking, most motivated exercisers do, in general, use spinning exercise bike. Guys and girls on spin bikes ride with their backs straight, arms in front of them. The experienced bikers have the body position of actual bike riding. Sometimes sitting on the seat, sometimes standing as if riding up a hill, and sometimes jumping between the two positions.
The not-so-serious group of gym goers tend to slouch on recumbent bikes, pedaling merrily as if they are on one of those water paddle boats you use on vacations by the lake.
These people are drawn to the offer of a more comfortable seat (where you can lean back and stretch out your legs). While pedaling, they retain enough energy to chat, read or concentrate on a t.v. screen. Very few recumbent bike users workout to exhaustion, because it is rather awkward to move that way and get exhausted. For one thing, you would end up rolling side to side on your butt, and you need your hands to hold your body on its seat.
Which group do you think is really working out to burn excess fat and get fit? Which group do you think will achieve better endurance and leg strength from their workouts on the bikes?
When you go to the gym looking for more comfortable options, you waste your time. Exercise is useless unless done mindfully.
You will get more out of your gym time by using the right type of bike that allows you to exercise intensively, getting your heart rate up to “huffing and puffing”, getting a good sweat. Spin bikes also allow you to move in 3 different positions so that you get different groups of legs and butt muscles working flat out.
When you are working out right, you have no time to read magazines, talk or watch t.v. That is when you know you body is going to get stronger with each stroke of exercise.
What about the upright bikes that aren’t spin – type bikes?
Well these are in-between, and depend on how you work out on them. They are better than recumbent bikes because you are sitting upright and out of that slouched “chair-shaped” position. Unlike the spin bikes, these bikes do not have the mechanism that allows you to ride standing or jump. The sitting position for most of these upright bikes are a little awkward, and not close enough to natural riding posture. When working out on an upright bike, be sure to keep the back straight and work with adequate intensity and focus.
Since spinning type of stationary bikes give the best exercises, why aren’t gyms equipped with more of them?
I have no idea. A gym operators said that its because spin bikes are “less popular with “cardio bunnies” since they have none of that electronics attached.”
If you want to get maximum results out of your workout, forget cardio, forget numbers.
Read also: How to exercise effectively
If your gym does not have them for casual use, you may want to buy your own equipment. Remember to always buy good quality. There are many similar looking Spin bikes in the market, but the quality is different.
Schwinn, which is famous for producing commercial use spin bikes and lower-cost cheap stationary bike for home use. Their cheaper versions are still good quality, with the standard functions:
Fully adjustable seat and handle bars, Infinite resistance levels, flywheel with high inertia, direct drive gearing, corrosion-resistant steel tubing for a safe and sturdy ride, Long life wool felt pad gives smooth and even resistance, Rear Stabilizers/Frame Levelers for stability, Transport wheels for moving the bike.
List Price: $199.99
Current Price: $141.87
Stationary bikes are cool exercise equipment. I use them frequently, but I do not recommend that anyone do stationary bike exercise exclusively or extensively. There is no benefit in being an “expert spinner”. Spinning workouts work the leg muscles and provides great “cardio” but they do leave the upper body with hardly any workout, so don’t forget to do the other exercises too.
Read also How to Exercise with a Stationary Bike.