12 Benefits of Exercise bike: types, differences and workout plan

An exercise bike is an indoor stationary biking equipment designed to simulate cycling without moving from a fixed location, available in various types including indoor cycling bikes, upright and recumbent bikes, air bikes, bike trainers, foldable bikes, and mini exercise bikes. It has gained popularity due to its ability to offer significant health benefits such as weight loss, strengthening of lower body muscles, improvement in cardiovascular health and lung capacity, along with being a low-impact workout that lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, suitable for all fitness levels, and providing a safe, versatile, and all-weather fitness solution. Additionally, its convenience and ease of use, combined with the potential for high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and its effectiveness in improving mental health, make it a favored choice for individuals seeking a comprehensive workout option.

Research Scientist Christine Callahan, Ph.D., from the Human Movement Science Curriculum at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, in a 2023 study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, found that adolescents engaging in aerobic exercise on stationary bikes or treadmills recovered from concussions 4 days faster than those doing stretching exercises, with a notable 48% reduction in the risk of persistent post-concussion symptoms.

In this article, we will explain the 12 physical and psychological benefits of exercise bikes, the 7 types of exercise bikes with magnetic, contact or air-resistant systems, then we compare the exercise bikes with outdoor cycling to further understand the benefits and disadvantages, how to choose an exercise bike, then we give examples of workout plans on an exercise bike for beginners, ladies, losing weight and fat, building muscles, interval training and recovery.

Table of Contents

Benefits of exercise bike

The 12 benefits of an exercise bike include aiding in weight loss, strengthening lower body muscles and stamina, improving cardiovascular health and fitness, enhancing lung capacity and VO2 Max, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the impact on joints, enabling HIIT and interval training, being suitable for all fitness levels, improving mental health, providing an all-weather anytime fitness workout, ensuring safer workouts than outdoor cycling, and offering more versatility than outdoor biking.

  1. Helps with weight loss
  2. Strengthens lower body muscles and stamina
  3. Improves cardiovascular health and fitness
  4. Improves lung capacity and VO2 Max
  5. Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  6. Lowers impact on joints
  7. Allows for HIIT and interval training
  8. Caters to all fitness levels
  9. Improves mental health
  10. Offers all-weather anytime fitness workout
  11. Offers safer workouts than outdoor cycling
  12. Offers more versatility than outdoor biking

Benefits of exercise bike

Helps with weight loss

Exercise bike helps with weight loss by creating a calorie deficit through sustained aerobic activity, which efficiently burns calories and improves overall fitness. This method of exercise strengthens lower body muscles, enhances cardiovascular health, and is accessible for all fitness levels, making it a versatile tool for achieving weight loss and health goals.

Manuel Chavarrias from the Faculty of Sport Science, University of Extremadura, Spain, in a 2019 systematic review highlighted indoor cycling on exercise bike’s effectiveness in weight loss, noting significant improvements in body composition when combined with diet

Here are the calories burned in 30 minutes on a stationary bike for various intensities based on different body weights which provides a clear overview of how different intensities and body weights impact calorie burn, underscoring the exercise bike’s role in weight loss strategies.

Activity150lb / 68.04kg175lb / 79.38kg200lb / 90.72kg225lb / 102.06kg
Bicycling, stationary, general250.05291.72333.40375.07
Bicycling, stationary, 30-50 watts, very light to light125.02145.86166.70187.54
Bicycling, stationary, 51-89 watts, light-to-moderate171.46200.04228.61257.19
Bicycling, stationary, 90-100 watts, moderate to vigorous242.90283.39323.87364.35
Bicycling, stationary, 101-160 watts, vigorous effort314.34366.74419.13471.52
Bicycling, stationary, 161-200 watts, vigorous effort392.93458.42523.91589.40
Bicycling, stationary, 201-270 watts, very vigorous effort500.09583.44666.79750.14
Bicycling, stationary, RPM/Spin bike class303.63354.23404.84455.44

Exercise bike helps with weight loss

For a person weighing 175lb / 79.38kg, bicycling on a stationary bike at 51-89 watts with light-to-moderate intensity burns 200.04 calories in 30 minutes, while engaging in a very vigorous effort at 201-270 watts burns 583.44 calories in the same duration.

Strengthens lower body muscles and stamina

Exercise bike strengthens lower body muscles and stamina by engaging key muscle groups such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and gluteus maximus in a dynamic and continuous motion, promoting muscular endurance and strength. This consistent pedaling action requires sustained contraction and relaxation of these muscles, which over time, enhances muscle fiber endurance, increases mitochondrial density, and improves oxygen uptake efficiency. 

Moreover, the resistance element of exercise bikes can be adjusted to challenge these muscles further, leading to hypertrophy and increased muscle stamina. This form of aerobic exercise also boosts cardiovascular health, facilitating improved blood flow and nutrient delivery to muscle tissues, thereby enhancing overall endurance and stamina.

Professor Chris Rissel from the University of Sydney, Australia, in a 2013 published study mentioned that indoor stationary cycling significantly increases leg strength, muscle endurance, balance, and functional abilities in healthy middle-aged and older adults.

Improves cardiovascular health and fitness

Exercise bike improves cardiovascular health and fitness by enhancing the efficiency of the heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Through regular and rhythmic aerobic exercise, exercise biking increases the heart’s pumping capacity, improving cardiac output and reducing resting heart rate. This activity promotes the dilation of blood vessels, improving blood flow and oxygen delivery to tissues, which can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, cycling on an exercise bike raises the heart rate to a targeted heart zone, stimulating metabolic functions and improving the body’s ability to utilize oxygen, which are critical markers of cardiovascular health.

Dr. Masoud Moghaddam from the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, USA, in his 2023 research demonstrated that sprint interval training on stationary air bikes increases time to exhaustion by 7.3% to 8.7% and metabolic equivalents by 12.3% to 14.9%, offering a time-efficient method for substantial cardiorespiratory improvements.

Improves lung capacity and VO2 Max

Exercise bikes improve lung capacity and VO2 Max by facilitating sustained aerobic activity that challenges the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, respectively. Cycling on an exercise bike increases the oxygen demand, prompting the lungs to maximize oxygen uptake from the air and efficiently transfer it to the bloodstream, thereby enhancing lung function over time. Simultaneously, the heart works harder to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles, gradually improving the body’s maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 Max), which is a key indicator of aerobic fitness and endurance capacity. Through regular training on an exercise bike, individuals can significantly increase their lung capacity and VO2 Max, leading to better overall fitness and performance.

PhD student Qian Guo from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, China, in a 2022 real-world crossover study published in Environmental Pollution found that physical activity, such as stationary biking, can mitigate the detrimental effects of air pollutants on lung function, emphasizing the role of exercise in enhancing lung capacity among healthy adults despite pollution exposure.

Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol

Exercise bike lowers blood pressure and cholesterol by promoting the improvement of heart function and enhancing the circulatory system’s efficiency. Through regular aerobic exercise, like cycling on an exercise bike, the heart muscle strengthens, leading to more effective blood pumping with less effort, which decreases the force on arterial walls and subsequently lowers blood pressure. Additionally, exercise on a bike stimulates enzymes that help move LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it’s converted to bile or excreted, thus reducing levels of bad cholesterol. This physical activity also increases the production of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol, which helps remove other forms of cholesterol from the bloodstream. The combined effects of lowered blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

PhD student and researcher Ida Berglund from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, in a 2021 original study found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on exercise bikes minimally reduced HDL-C in men by 1.2% over 5 years, compared to reductions of 6.9% and 7.8% in control and moderate-intensity continuous training groups, respectively, indicating HIIT’s effectiveness in preventing HDL-C decline.

Lowers impact on joints

Exercise bike lowers the impact on joints by providing a low-impact form of aerobic exercise that significantly reduces stress on weight-bearing joints, particularly the knees, hips, and ankles. Unlike running or walking, where each step generates a force up to several times the body’s weight on the joints, cycling on an exercise bike allows for a smooth, continuous motion that keeps the joints moving without the harsh impacts, making it an ideal exercise option for people with joint concerns or those recovering from injury.

Doctor Peishun Chen from Panyu District Central Hospital, Guangzhou, China, in a 2024 study published in Sport Sciences for Health, found that exercise bikes, compared to treadmills, significantly lower the impact on joints by preventing a decrease in knee joint cartilage volume in patients with simple obesity, emphasizing its safety and effectiveness for joint health.

Allows for HIIT and interval training

Exercise bike allows for HIIT and interval training by providing a controlled environment where individuals can easily adjust resistance levels and pedaling speed to alternate between high-intensity bursts and recovery periods. This flexibility enables users to effectively target and improve their aerobic and anaerobic fitness, as HIIT protocols demand short, intense efforts followed by lower-intensity recovery phases, which can be precisely managed on an exercise bike. The ability to quickly change resistance and intensity on the exercise bike makes it an ideal tool for structured interval workouts, enhancing cardiovascular health, increasing metabolic rate, and promoting fat loss efficiently.

Professor Saïd Mekari from the Department of Kinesiology, Acadia University, Canada, in a 2020 pilot study found that HIIT on a stationary bike significantly enhances cognitive function, particularly in executive components, more effectively than moderate-intensity continuous exercise, highlighting the cognitive benefits of HIIT and interval training.

Caters to all fitness levels

Exercise bike caters to all fitness levels because it offers adjustable resistance settings and varied workout programs that can be tailored to individual needs, making it accessible and effective for beginners, intermediate users, and advanced athletes alike. Its ease of use, combined with its availability in gyms and for indoor home exercise, ensures that anyone regardless of their fitness journey can start, maintain, or intensify their workouts simply by adjusting the bike’s settings to match their current fitness level and goals. This adaptability makes the exercise bike a versatile tool for achieving a wide range of health and fitness objectives.

Improves mental health

Exercise bike improves mental health by stimulating the release of endorphins, often referred to as the body’s natural mood elevators. These biochemical changes reduce the perception of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body similar to that of morphine, leading to a state commonly known as the “runner’s high.” Regular aerobic exercise on an exercise bike also helps in reducing levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, while promoting the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, which can alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety. Furthermore, the rhythmic cycling motion and focus required during a workout can produce meditative effects, reducing stress, enhancing cognitive function, and improving sleep patterns, contributing significantly to overall mental well-being.

Professor Peng Xu from Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou, China, in a 2022 study found that bicycling machine exercise significantly improves mental health in both healthy and obese individuals, demonstrating its effectiveness as a versatile tool for enhancing mental well-being across diverse populations.

Peng Xu from Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou, China, in a 2022 study, revealed that bicycling showed a 28.32% improvement in mental health for healthy people and and bicycling machine exercises showed a 19.13% greater improvement in mental health for obese individuals without chronic conditions, highlighting their significant impact on enhancing mental well-being.

Offers all-weather anytime fitness workout

Exercise bike offers an all-weather anytime fitness workout because it is designed for indoor use, allowing individuals to maintain their fitness routine regardless of outdoor weather conditions. The versatility of indoor cycling features, such as adjustable resistance levels, pre-programmed workouts, and the ability to simulate varying terrains, ensures that users can achieve a comprehensive and effective workout at any time of the day without the limitations posed by external environmental factors. This convenience makes the exercise bike an ideal choice for consistent training, helping users stay on track with their fitness goals year-round.

Offers safer workouts than outdoor cycling

Exercise bike offers safer workouts than outdoor cycling because it eliminates the risks associated with outdoor environments, such as traffic, uneven or slippery road surfaces, and the potential for collisions or falls. Indoor cycling on an exercise bike provides a controlled setting where users can focus on their workout without the hazards of navigating through cars, pedestrians, or challenging weather conditions. This controlled environment not only reduces the risk of injury from accidents but also allows for a more focused and effective training session, making it an especially appealing option for those concerned with safety while exercising.

Offers more versatility than outdoor biking

Exercise bike offers more versatility than outdoor biking because it allows users to simulate various cycling conditions and tailor workouts to specific goals within the comfort of their own home or gym. With features like adjustable resistance, programmable workouts, and the capability to engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT), spinning classes, and endurance sessions, indoor exercise bikes cater to a wide range of fitness levels and objectives. This versatility enables users to switch between different types of workouts easily, such as cardio, strength, and interval training, without needing multiple pieces of equipment or dependence on weather conditions, making it a comprehensive tool for fitness enthusiasts looking to maximize their training efficiency and variety.

What are the types of exercise bikes?

The types of exercise bikes, based on their resistance system including magnetic, contact, or air, are indoor cycling bikes, upright exercise bikes, recumbent bikes, air bikes, indoor bike trainers, foldable indoor bikes, and mini exercise bikes.

What are the types of exercise bikes

This comparison table below outlines the versatility and specific features of each exercise bike type, highlighting their suitability for different fitness needs and spaces.

Exercise Bike TypeResistance CapabilitiesMuscles WorkedMax Rider Weight CapacityBike WeightPrice RangeMinimum Space Requirement
Indoor cycling bikeMagnetic, ContactLegs, Core, Upper body (with handlebar movement)300 lbs / 136 kg100-120 lbs / 45-54 kgUS $400-$2000+10 sq ft / 0.93 m²
Upright exercise bikeMagnetic, ContactLegs, Core250 lbs / 113 kg50-80 lbs / 23-36 kgUS $200-$8008 sq ft / 0.74 m²
Recumbent bikeMagnetic, ContactLegs, Lower back350 lbs / 159 kg60-90 lbs / 27-41 kgUS $250-$150015 sq ft / 1.39 m²
Air bikeAirLegs, Core, Upper body350 lbs / 159 kg100-130 lbs / 45-59 kgUS $500-$100010 sq ft / 0.93 m²
Indoor Bike trainerMagnetic, Fluid, MechanicalLegs, Core (depending on use)Varies with bike used20-40 lbs / 9-18 kgUS $100-$5005-10 sq ft / 0.70 m²
Foldable indoor bikeMagnetic, ContactLegs, Core250 lbs / 113 kg40-60 lbs / 18-27 kgUS $150-$5005 sq ft (foldable) / 0.46 m²
Mini exercise bikeMagnetic, ContactLegs (limited)220 lbs / 100 kg20-30 lbs / 9-14 kgUS $50-$2002-3 sq ft / 0.23 m²

Exercise bike types comparison

Indoor cycling bike

Indoor cycling bike as a type of exercise bike, is specifically designed for high-intensity cardio workouts, closely mimicking the experience of outdoor cycling. Known also as stationary bikes and spinning bikes, these stationary bikes feature a weighted flywheel that is connected to the pedals through a transmission system, allowing for smooth and adjustable resistance. This design offers users the ability to simulate various riding experiences, such as uphill climbs and sprints, making it ideal for interval training sessions. 

Popularized by brands like Peloton, indoor cycling bikes have become a staple in both home gyms and fitness centers for their effectiveness in burning calories, improving cardiovascular health, and building lower body strength. Equipped with features like adjustable seats, handlebars, and often sophisticated digital consoles for tracking performance and virtual classes, they cater to a wide range of fitness levels and workout preferences.

What are the pros and cons of indoor cycling bikes?

The pros of indoor cycling bikes are their effectiveness in cardiovascular workouts, adjustable resistance levels for all fitness levels, and low impact on joints. The cons include the potential monotony without varied workout programs, higher upfront costs for advanced models, and the requirement for space.

Indoor Cycling Bike ProsIndoor Cycling Bike Cons
Effective cardiovascular workout enhances heart health and burns calories.Can become monotonous without varied workout programs or virtual classes.
Adjustable resistance levels cater to all fitness levels and allow for varied workout intensities.Higher upfront cost, especially for models with advanced features like live classes.
Low impact on joints reduces the risk of injury compared to high-impact exercises.Requires space, which may be a constraint in smaller living areas.

Upright exercise bike

Upright exercise bike simulates the posture and feel of a traditional road bicycle, providing an efficient cardiovascular workout that’s accessible in the comfort of one’s home or gym. Its design features a vertical orientation, which encourages an upright seating position, mimicking the stance of outdoor cycling and engaging the core muscles along with the lower body. This type of bike often includes adjustable resistance levels, handlebars, and seating to accommodate various fitness levels and preferences, making it versatile for both high-intensity workouts and leisurely rides. The upright position benefits users by promoting better spinal alignment and a more intensive workout for the upper body compared to other stationary bikes, offering a balanced exercise regimen that targets a wide range of muscle groups.

What are the pros and cons of Upright exercise bikes?

The pros of an upright exercise bike are its ability to mimic the feel of outdoor cycling, promote better posture, and its compact size. The cons include potential discomfort over long periods, strain on the wrists and lower back, and suitability issues for individuals with balance problems or certain injuries.

Upright exercise bike ProsUpright exercise bike Cons
Mimics the feel of outdoor cycling, engaging more muscle groups.The upright position may be uncomfortable for longer workouts.
Promotes better posture and spinal alignment during workouts.Can put more strain on the wrists and lower back compared to recumbent bikes.
Typically smaller and more compact than other types, saving space.May not be suitable for those with balance issues or certain injuries.

Recumbent bike

Recumbent bike is a type of exercise bike that features a laid-back reclining position, offering a comfortable seat with a backrest, which distinguishes it from other exercise bikes by providing superior support for the back and reducing strain on the upper body and joints. Its design allows for a more ergonomic workout position, distributing weight evenly and minimizing pressure on the lower back and hips, making it an ideal choice for individuals with back issues, older adults, or those seeking a low-impact exercise option. The recumbent bike’s unique structure also encourages better spinal posture and targets the leg and glute muscles differently than upright or indoor cycling bikes, offering a distinct cardiovascular workout that is both effective and accessible to a wide range of fitness levels and physical conditions.

What are the pros and cons of recumbent bikes?

The pros of a Recumbent bike include superior lower back support, suitability for individuals with physical limitations or injuries, and encouragement of comfortable, extended workouts. The cons involve a larger spatial footprint, less effective simulation of outdoor cycling, and higher costs due to size and features.

Recumbent bike ProsRecumbent bike Cons
Offers superior lower back support and reduces strain on joints.Takes up more space than upright or foldable bikes.
Ideal for those with physical limitations or recovering from injury.May not simulate outdoor cycling as effectively as other types.
Encourages a more comfortable and longer duration workout.Typically more expensive due to their larger size and additional features.
Does a recumbent bike burn belly fat?

Yes, a recumbent bike burns belly fat when used consistently as part of a cardiovascular workout routine that increases heart rate and calorie burn, but targeted fat loss in specific areas such as the belly is not possible; overall body fat reduction, including the belly, will occur with regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Air Bike(Dul-Action Exercise bike)

The air bike, also known as a dual-action exercise bike, integrates handlebars that move in sync with the pedals, offering a full-body workout that simultaneously engages the arms and legs. Air bike uses a fan-based resistance system, where the intensity of the workout increases with the pedaling speed, providing an infinite range of resistance levels that make it suitable for both high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and steady-state cardio. Designed for users seeking to maximize calorie burn and improve aerobic capacity across a wide range of fitness levels, the air bike’s unique combination of upper and lower body engagement makes it a highly effective tool for building endurance, and strength and achieving comprehensive fitness goals.

What are the pros and cons of air bikes?

The pros of an air bike include providing a full-body workout, automatically adjustable resistance suitable for all fitness levels, and being ideal for HIIT for improved cardiovascular fitness. The cons comprise noise from the fan resistance mechanism, the potential unsuitability of intense workouts for beginners or those with certain injuries, and a larger footprint than some other exercise bikes.

Air bike ProsAir bike Cons
Provides a full-body workout, engaging both upper and lower body.Can be noisy due to the fan resistance mechanism.
Resistance automatically adjusts with effort, suitable for all fitness levels.Intense workouts may not be suitable for beginners or those with certain injuries.
Ideal for HIIT, offering intense workouts for improved cardiovascular fitness.Larger footprint than some other types of exercise bikes.

Indoor Bike trainer

An indoor bike trainer is a device that allows you to use your regular bike as a stationary exercise bike by securing the bike’s rear wheel and providing resistance. It can range from basic models that simply hold the bike in place and offer adjustable mechanical resistance, to smart trainers that connect to devices via Bluetooth or ANT+ to simulate real-world conditions, interact with training software, and adjust resistance automatically based on virtual terrain encountered in apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad, or Sufferfest. Brands like Elite, Wahoo, Tacx, and Saris are known for their high-quality trainers, offering a range of options from entry-level to high-end smart trainers, making indoor training accessible and engaging for cyclists of all levels, whether for fitness, training, or competitive virtual racing.

What are the pros and cons of indoor bike trainers?

The pros of an indoor bike trainer include allowing for year-round training with your own bike for consistent riding, offering interactive sessions with virtual platforms like Zwift for smart trainers, and being compact and portable for easy setup and storage. The cons include the potential high cost of smart trainers, the need for additional accessories or app subscriptions, and varying noise levels and bike compatibility that can affect the experience.

Indoor Bike Trainer ProsIndoor Bike Trainer Cons
Allows for year-round training with your own bike, ensuring ride consistency.Can be expensive, especially smart trainers with advanced features.
Smart trainers offer interactive training sessions with virtual platforms like Zwift.May require additional accessories like a compatible device or app subscriptions.
Compact and portable, making it easy to set up and store when not in use.Noise level and bike compatibility can vary, affecting the overall experience.
Is cross trainer or exercise bike better?

A cross trainer is better than an exercise bike for a full-body workout because it engages more muscle groups simultaneously, providing both upper and lower body conditioning, whereas an exercise bike is better than a cross trainer for targeted lower body strengthening and cardiovascular improvement because it offers a focused workout with minimal stress on the joints.

How to turn a bike into an exercise bike?

To turn a bike into an exercise bike, one should secure the bike onto a stationary bike trainer or roller, which clamps onto the rear wheel or supports the bike in a balanced position, respectively, allowing for indoor cycling by providing resistance to the rear wheel, and optionally connect to a smart device for interactive workouts if using a smart trainer.

Foldable indoor bike

The foldable indoor bike is designed for individuals seeking a convenient, space-saving exercise solution, featuring a compact, collapsible design that allows for easy storage in small living spaces. Tailored for home use, it caters to those with limited space who don’t want to compromise on their fitness routine. Its special features often include adjustable resistance, a comfortable seat, and sometimes digital monitors to track workout progress. This type of bike is ideal for people living in apartments or homes where space is at a premium, offering the flexibility to maintain a regular cardio workout without the need for a permanent, dedicated exercise area.

What are the pros and cons of a Foldable bike?

The pros of a foldable bike include its space-saving design for easy storage, portability and lightweight nature for easy movement and transport, and affordability compared to other exercise bikes. The cons are potential issues with stability and durability, limited features and resistance options, and possibly not accommodating very tall or heavy users as comfortably.

Mini Exercise bike

The mini exercise bike is a compact, portable fitness device designed primarily for seated workouts, targeting the lower body, particularly the legs and feet, while also offering the option for hand and arm exercises when placed on a table. Its purpose is to provide a convenient means of cardiovascular exercise and muscle toning for individuals with limited space, mobility issues, or those seeking a low-impact exercise option that can be easily integrated into their daily routine, such as working at a desk or watching TV. Ideal for seniors, office workers, or those in rehabilitation, the mini bike offers an accessible way to increase daily physical activity, improve circulation, and enhance overall fitness without the need for a full-sized exercise bike.

What are the pros and cons of a mini exercise bike?

The pros of a mini exercise bike include its high portability and ease of storage, making it perfect for small spaces, its versatility for both lower and upper body workouts, and its affordability, offering a simple way to maintain activity levels. However, the cons are its limitations in resistance and workout intensity compared to full-sized exercise bikes, potential stability issues during use, and its unsuitability for high-intensity workouts or those targeting advanced fitness goals.

Mini exercise bike ProsMini exercise bike Cons
Highly portable and easy to store, making it ideal for small living spaces.Limited in terms of resistance and workout intensity compared to larger bikes.
Versatile for both lower and upper body workouts when placed on a table.May not provide the same level of stability during use, affecting workout efficacy.
Affordable and accessible, providing a convenient way to stay active.Not suitable for high-intensity workouts or advanced fitness training goals.

What are the differences between exercise bikes and outdoor cycling?

The differences between exercise bikes and outdoor cycling like road cycling, gravel biking or mountain biking span across training efficiency, versatility, safety, cost, and space requirements. The comparison table below shows how each mode of cycling suits different preferences, lifestyles, and fitness goals, highlighting the unique benefits and limitations of exercise bikes and outdoor cycling.

AspectExercise BikesOutdoor Cycling
Training EfficiencyAllows for precise control over resistance and intensity, enhancing workout efficiency.Provides variable resistance naturally through terrain and wind, requiring adaptability.
VersatilityOffers a wide range of workouts, including HIIT and endurance, regardless of external conditions.Offers diverse experiences and terrains but is weather and location-dependent.
SafetyProvides a controlled, safe environment free from traffic and road hazards.Involves risks such as traffic, poor road conditions, and weather.
CostRequires an initial investment and may involve subscriptions for interactive features.May have higher upfront costs for the bike and maintenance but lacks ongoing costs.
Space RequirementNeeds a dedicated indoor space, which can be challenging in limited living areas.Does not require home space but depends on accessible outdoor areas.

What are the differences between exercise bikes and outdoor cycling

What is an exercise bike good for?

An exercise bike is good for improving heart health, enhancing mental health, aiding in weight loss, managing diabetes, assisting in stroke recovery, preventing stomach prolapse, alleviating knee pain, building muscle strength, increasing flexibility, and improving joint mobility. Here’s a detailed explanation of each point listed below.

  1. Heart Health: Regular workouts on an exercise bike increase cardiovascular fitness by strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure, which reduces the risk of heart disease.
  2. Mental Health: Cycling stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, thereby improving overall mental well-being.
  3. Weight Loss: High-intensity sessions can burn a significant number of calories, contributing to overall weight loss and body fat reduction, making it an effective tool in weight management strategies.
  4. Diabetes Management: Exercise bikes help in controlling diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and aiding in managing blood sugar levels through regular physical activity.
  5. Stroke Recovery: For individuals recovering from a stroke, using an exercise bike can enhance motor skills and provide a safe, controlled environment for rehabilitation exercises.
  6. Preventing Stomach Prolapse: Regular, low-impact exercise like cycling can strengthen core muscles, which support the abdominal organs and can help in preventing conditions like stomach prolapse.
  7. Alleviating Knee Pain: Cycling is a low-impact exercise that strengthens the muscles around the knees without putting excessive pressure on them, thus helping to alleviate knee pain.
  8. Building Muscle Strength: It targets the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, helping to increase leg strength (especially important for track cycling) and endurance.
  9. Increasing Flexibility: Continuous pedaling action can help improve the flexibility of the leg muscles and joints, contributing to better movement and reducing the risk of injuries.
  10. Improving Joint Mobility: Regular use of an exercise bike can enhance the range of motion in the hip and knee joints, promoting joint health and mobility.

What is an exercise bike good for

What muscles does the exercise bike work?

An exercise bike works various muscles from head to foot, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abs, and the muscles supporting the back, shoulders, and even the arms to some extent when maintaining posture or using bikes with handlebars that move. Here’s a detailed look at how each muscle group is engaged as below.

  1. Glutes (Gluteus Maximus, Medius, and Minimus): The glutes are heavily engaged during the pedaling motion, especially when pushing down on the pedals, which helps in strengthening and toning the buttocks.
  2. Quadriceps (Front Thigh Muscles): These muscles are primarily responsible for extending the knee and are actively engaged with every pedal stroke, promoting strength and endurance in the front of the thighs.
  3. Hamstrings (Back Thigh Muscles): Working in concert with the quadriceps, the hamstrings help in pulling the pedal up if you’re using clipless cycling shoes, contributing to balanced leg strength and flexibility.
  4. Calves (Gastrocnemius and Soleus): These muscles work to push down and pull up the pedals through the cycling motion, aiding in calf muscle definition and function.
  5. Abs (Abdominal Muscles): While not as directly engaged as the leg muscles, the abs play a crucial role in maintaining stability and posture on the bike, contributing to core strength and balance.
  6. Lower Back (Erector Spinae): Supporting the upper body’s posture during cycling, the lower back muscles are engaged, which can help in improving posture and reducing back pain.
  7. Shoulders and Arms (Deltoids, Biceps, and Triceps): On stationary bikes with moving handlebars or when maintaining a static position on traditional handlebars, the shoulders and arms are engaged to some extent, helping in upper body toning.
  8. Hip Flexors: These muscles are involved in the upward phase of the pedal stroke, working to lift the knee towards the body, which can enhance hip mobility and strength.

What muscles does the exercise bike work

Is a stationary bike better than a treadmill?

A stationary bike is better than a treadmill for low-impact cardiovascular workouts and reducing strain on joints because it allows for seated exercise that minimizes pressure on the knees and ankles, but a treadmill is better than a stationary bike for weight-bearing exercises that improves bone density because it involves walking or running, which exerts more force on the bones, enhancing their strength.

Is riding an exercise bike good exercise?

Yes, riding an exercise bike is a good exercise because it provides a low-impact way to achieve cardiovascular fitness, making it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. It supports high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for those seeking a challenging workout to improve heart health and increase metabolic rate, and it’s effective for weight loss by allowing for controlled, sustained calorie burn in a safe and predictable environment.

What are the benefits of an exercise bike for men?

The 5 top benefits of an exercise bike for men are improved cardiovascular health, significant calorie burn for weight management, enhanced lower body strength including legs and glutes, reduced risk of joint injuries due to its low-impact nature, and increased testosterone levels which can lead to better muscle recovery and growth.

What are the benefits of an exercise bike for women?

The 5 top benefits of an exercise bike for women are effective cardiovascular conditioning that supports heart health, targeted fat loss and body shaping particularly in the lower body, improved mood and stress reduction through endorphin release, strengthened pelvic floor muscles contributing to reproductive health, and enhanced metabolic rate aiding in long-term weight management.

What are the benefits of an exercise bike for seniors?

The 5 top benefits of an exercise bike for seniors are enhanced cardiovascular health with minimal joint stress, improved balance and strength reduced risk of falls, increased mobility and flexibility in the lower body, a safe and controlled environment for exercising, and the promotion of mental well-being through regular physical activity.

What are the benefits of an exercise bike for juniors?

The 5 top benefits of an exercise bike for juniors are building a foundation for healthy exercise habits, improving cardiovascular fitness and endurance, enhancing leg strength and overall muscle tone, offering a safe introduction to regular physical activity, and providing a fun and engaging way to release energy and reduce screen time.

What are the disadvantages of exercise bikes?

The disadvantages of exercise bikes include the potential for knee and lower back pain, limited upper body workout, the monotony of stationary cycling, the initial cost of purchasing high-quality equipment, and the need for space to accommodate the bike. Here’s a detailed look at each disadvantage as below.

  1. Knee Pain: Prolonged use or improper setup of an exercise bike can lead to knee pain due to repetitive motion or incorrect positioning, stressing the knee joints over time.
  2. Lower Back Pain: Without proper form or support, stationary cycling can cause lower back pain, as a hunched posture over extended periods places strain on the lumbar region.
  3. Limited Upper Body Workout: Exercise bikes primarily target the lower body, meaning they don’t provide a comprehensive workout for the upper body muscles without incorporating additional exercises.
  4. Monotony of Stationary Cycling: Cycling in place for extended periods can become monotonous, making it challenging to stay motivated without varied workout routines or interactive cycling apps.
  5. Initial Cost: High-quality exercise bikes, especially those with advanced features like interactive screens and connectivity, can be expensive, representing a significant initial investment.
  6. Space Requirement: Even though some models are designed to be compact or foldable, an exercise bike still requires dedicated space within the home, which can be a limitation for those with limited living areas.

What are the disadvantages of exercise bikes

How to choose an exercise bike?

To choose an exercise bike, consider factors such as fitness tracking, online platform support, resistance, price, exercise bike types, brands, weight limit, speed, comfort, warranty, and height adjustment. Here’s a detailed explanation for each as below.

  1. Fitness Tracking: Look for bikes with advanced fitness tracking capabilities, including calories burned, heart rate, and training zones, to closely monitor your progress and adjust workouts accordingly.
  2. Online Platform Support: Compatibility with online platforms like Zwift, Peloton classes, and spinning online classes can significantly enhance your exercise experience through interactive and community-driven workouts.
  3. Resistance: The type and range of resistance offered by the bike are critical for matching workout intensity to your fitness level and goals, from gentle rehabilitation exercises to high-intensity endurance training.
  4. Price: Exercise bikes come in a wide range of prices, so balancing your budget with the features and quality you need is important.
  5. Exercise Bike Types: Understanding the differences between Upright, Recumbent, and Indoor Cycle bikes will help you choose the one that best fits your physical needs and workout preferences.
  6. Brands: Reputable brands like Sunny Health & Fitness, Marcy, and Schwinn offer reliability and quality, with a range of models to suit various needs and budgets.
  7. Weight Limit: Ensuring the bike can comfortably support your weight is essential for safety and durability.
  8. Speed: Consider your desired workout intensity and whether the bike supports the speed settings you need for effective training.
  9. Comfort: Adjustable and ergonomic design features can greatly enhance comfort, making longer workouts more enjoyable and reducing the risk of strain or injury.
  10. Warranty: A comprehensive warranty can protect your investment and provide peace of mind, covering potential repairs or replacements.
  11. Height Adjustment: Proper height adjustment is crucial for ensuring optimal leg extension during pedaling, enhancing workout effectiveness, and reducing the risk of injury.

How to choose an exercise bike

What are the workout plans on an exercise bike?

The workout plans on an exercise bike include a beginner’s program focusing on gradual intensity increases to build stamina, specific routines tailored for men and women to meet their unique fitness goals, a weight loss regimen emphasizing sustained cardio sessions for calorie burn, muscle-strengthening workouts targeting lower body strength and endurance, interval training plans combining high-intensity bursts with recovery periods for enhanced cardiovascular health, and recovery sessions designed for low-intensity, steady-state cycling to aid muscle recovery and flexibility.

Exercise bike workout plans for beginners

Exercise bike workout plans for beginners are designed to gently introduce new exercisers to cardiovascular fitness, focusing on building stamina and comfort with the bike while keeping calorie burn at a reasonable level for fitness improvement without overexertion.

Here is a weekly exercise bike workout plan example for beginners. 

DayActivityFocusCalories Burned (Approx.)
MondayExercise Bike: Low Intensity (20 min)Cardio & Stamina Building150-200
TuesdayRest DayRecovery
WednesdayExercise Bike: Medium Intensity (25 min)Cardio & Endurance200-250
ThursdayStrength or Cross-Training (30 min)Muscle Strength & FlexibilityVaries
FridayExercise Bike: Medium Intensity (30 min)Endurance & Cardio250-300
SaturdayRest DayRecovery
SundayLight Activity: Walk or Yoga (30 min)Flexibility & Active RecoveryVaries

Exercise bike workout plans for beginners

Exercise bike workout plans for ladies

Exercise bike workout plans for ladies are tailored to meet specific fitness goals and limitations, focusing on promoting cardiovascular health, fat burn, and flexibility while ensuring calorie burn remains at a reasonable level for effective and sustainable fitness improvement.

Below is an example of a weekly workout plan on the exercise bike for ladies.

DayActivityFocusCalories Burned (Approx.)
MondayExercise Bike: Low Intensity (20 min)Cardio & Endurance150-200
TuesdayRest or Light YogaFlexibility & Recovery
WednesdayExercise Bike: Medium Intensity (30 min)Cardio & Fat Burn250-300
ThursdayPilates or Strength Training (30 min)Core Strength & FlexibilityVaries
FridayExercise Bike: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) (20 min)Cardio & Calorie Burn200-250
SaturdayRest DayRecovery
SundayLight Walk or Stretching (30 min)Active Recovery & FlexibilityVaries

Exercise bike workout plans for ladies

How many minutes should a woman spend on an exercise bike?

A woman should spend at least 150 minutes on an exercise bike per week, distributed over several days, because this aligns with the World Health Organization’s recommendations for moderate-intensity aerobic activity. This amount of exercise helps improve cardiovascular health, supports weight management, and enhances overall fitness levels, making it an effective and manageable routine for women seeking to maintain or improve their physical well-being.

What does cycling do to a woman’s body?

Cycling benefits a woman’s body by toning the lower body muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, enhancing muscle definition and strength. It boosts cardiovascular health, increasing heart rate and endurance, tailored to women’s fitness needs. It aids in weight loss by burning calories, and supporting women’s health and fitness goals. Cycling also elevates mental well-being for women by reducing stress and increasing endorphin release. Furthermore, it offers a low-impact alternative to high-stress exercises, minimizing the risk of joint strain and injuries, making it a comprehensive and beneficial workout for women of all ages and fitness levels.

Exercise bike workout plans for weight loss

Exercise bike workout plans for weight loss are specifically designed to achieve a significant calorie burn, aiming for a total of 3500 calories per week to potentially lose 1 pound. This goal is approached by varying the intensity and duration of workouts throughout the week to optimize fat burning while allowing adequate recovery time.

Here’s a weekly plan example targeting this fitness goal, which balances medium-intensity steady-state sessions with high-intensity interval training to maximize calorie burn and fat loss, incorporating rest days to ensure recovery and prevent overtraining. Achieving the goal of burning 3500 calories per week can contribute to effective weight loss when combined with a balanced diet. 

DayDuration (Minutes)IntensityEstimated Calories Burned
Tuesday45High (Interval Training)500-600
WednesdayRest Day
SaturdayRest Day
Sunday45High (Interval Training)500-600

Exercise bike workout plans for weight loss

Can you lose weight by just using an exercise bike?

Yes, you can lose weight by just using an exercise bike because it enables you to burn calories efficiently; cycling at various intensities can help you create a calorie deficit, essential for weight loss. Considering that burning 3500 calories equates to losing approximately 1 pound of body fat, regular sessions on an exercise bike can significantly contribute to this goal. However, achieving sustainable weight loss also requires attention to diet and overall lifestyle habits, ensuring you consume fewer calories than you expend while maintaining nutritional balance for optimal health and energy levels.

Can you lose belly fat by riding an exercise bike?

Yes, you can lose belly fat by riding an exercise bike as part of a comprehensive fitness regimen because it helps in burning calories and improving metabolic rate, which are key factors in reducing overall body fat, including visceral fat around the abdomen; however, spot reduction of fat in specific areas is not possible, and a combination of regular cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and a healthy diet is essential for targeted fat loss and muscle toning in the abdominal region.

How long should you ride an exercise bike to lose weight?

The duration of your workout on an exercise bike to lose weight effectively should vary depending on the intensity level. Here’s a breakdown of suggested daily workout durations for different intensities in the below table.

ActivityDuration for Weight Loss (Minutes/Day)
Bicycling, stationary, general45-60
Bicycling, stationary, 30-50 watts, very light to light60-75
Bicycling, stationary, 51-89 watts, light-to-moderate45-60
Bicycling, stationary, 90-100 watts, moderate to vigorous30-45
Bicycling, stationary, 101-160 watts, vigorous effort20-30
Bicycling, stationary, 161-200 watts, vigorous effort20-30
Bicycling, stationary, 201-270 watts, very vigorous effort15-25
Bicycling, stationary, RPM/Spin bike class20-40

How long should you ride an exercise bike to lose weight

These durations are designed to optimize calorie burn and promote weight loss. Lower-intensity workouts typically require longer durations to achieve similar calorie burn as shorter, high-intensity sessions. Adjusting your workout intensity and duration can provide a tailored approach to meet your weight loss goals efficiently.

Is 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike enough to lose weight?

Yes, 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike is enough to lose weight if the sessions are conducted at a moderate to high intensity because this duration and intensity level can effectively burn calories, contribute to a calorie deficit, and improve cardiovascular health. Consistency and gradually increasing the workout intensity are key to maximizing fat loss and achieving weight loss goals over time.

Is walking or biking better for belly fat?

Biking is better than walking for belly fat because it can be performed at higher intensities, leading to more calories burned in a shorter period, which is essential for fat loss including belly fat. Biking on an exercise bike like an air bike provides a more vigorous full-body workout, especially when incorporating variations like standing or interval training, thereby increasing metabolic rate more effectively than walking. However, both activities contribute to overall health and can aid in reducing belly fat when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise routine.

Exercise bike workout plans for muscles

The workout plan for building lower body muscles focuses on exercises that target the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, aiming to enhance muscle tone and strength through varied resistance levels.

Here’s a weekly plan tailored for muscle building and toning as below. 

DayActivityMuscle FocusIntensity
MondayHigh Resistance Training (30 min)Quadriceps & GlutesHigh
TuesdayRest Day
WednesdayInterval Training (High/Low Resistance) (45 min)Quadriceps, Hamstrings & GlutesVariable
ThursdayActive Recovery (Low Intensity) (30 min)Calves & GlutesLow
FridayHill Climb Simulation (High Resistance) (40 min)Quadriceps, Hamstrings & GlutesHigh
SaturdayRest Day
SundayEndurance Ride (Medium Resistance) (60 min)Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes & CalvesMedium

Exercise bike workout plans for muscles

This plan balances high and medium-intensity workouts with rest and active recovery days to promote muscle growth and prevent overtraining. High resistance training and hill climb simulations emphasize muscle strength and endurance, while interval training adds variety and challenges the muscles differently in each session. Active recovery days ensure muscles have time to repair and grow.

Is riding an exercise bike good for your legs?

Yes, riding an exercise bike is good for your legs because it provides a comprehensive workout that targets the major muscle groups in the legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, enhancing muscle tone, strength, and endurance without placing undue stress on the joints.

How long should you ride an exercise bike to tone your legs?

To tone your legs, you should ride an exercise bike for at least 30 minutes a day, 4 to 5 times a week, because consistent, moderate to high-intensity cycling sessions stimulate muscle endurance and strength, effectively enhancing muscle definition and tone in the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

Is an exercise bike good for the knees?

Yes, an exercise bike is good for the knees if used correctly and at moderate resistance because it provides a low-impact form of exercise that can strengthen the muscles around the knees without placing excessive stress on the knee joints, thereby enhancing joint stability and reducing the risk of injury.

Do exercise bikes build muscle?

Yes, exercise bikes build muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves because the pedaling action requires these muscle groups to contract and work against resistance, which over time can lead to increased muscle strength and endurance, contributing to a more toned and defined lower body.

Does an exercise bike build stamina?

Yes, an exercise bike builds stamina by providing cardiovascular workouts that increase heart rate and lung capacity, allowing you to sustain physical activity for longer periods. Regular sessions improve aerobic fitness, enhancing your endurance both on and off the bike.

Exercise bike workout plans for Interval Training

Interval training on an exercise bike alternates between high-intensity bursts and low-intensity recovery periods, effectively enhancing cardiovascular fitness, burning calories, and improving stamina.

Here’s a weekly interval training plan, which is designed to boost metabolic rate and increase fitness levels, with varying intervals to challenge the body and prevent plateauing. Rest and active recovery days are crucial for muscle repair and preparing for the next high-intensity session.

DayActivityTotal DurationIntensity
MondayWarm-Up (10 min) + Intervals (1 min high, 1 min low) x 10 + Cool Down (10 min)30 minHigh/Low
TuesdayRest Day
WednesdayWarm-Up (10 min) + Intervals (2 min high, 1 min low) x 7 + Cool Down (10 min)30 minHigh/Low
ThursdayRest Day
FridayWarm-Up (10 min) + Intervals (30 sec high, 1 min low) x 15 + Cool Down (10 min)30 minHigh/Low
SaturdayActive Recovery (Low Intensity, 30 min)30 minLow
SundayRest Day

Exercise bike workout plans for Interval Training

What does an exercise bike do for your body?

An exercise bike tones your lower body muscles, including quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, enhances cardiovascular health by improving heart and lung function, aids in weight loss through high-calorie burn, provides a low-impact workout that reduces stress on joints, and boosts overall stamina and endurance, contributing to improved physical fitness and well-being.

Is 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike enough?

Yes, 30 minutes a day on an exercise bike can be enough if the sessions are conducted at a moderate to high intensity, as this duration meets the minimum recommended daily exercise for adults to maintain health, improve cardiovascular fitness, and support weight management, effectively contributing to overall well-being and fitness goals.

Is it good to use an exercise bike every day?

Yes, using an exercise bike every day can be beneficial for improving cardiovascular health, enhancing muscle tone, and aiding in weight management, provided that you vary the intensity of your workouts to include both high-intensity and low-intensity sessions to prevent overtraining and ensure adequate recovery for your muscles. It allows for consistent physical activity which is key to maintaining overall health, but listening to your body and incorporating rest or lighter exercise days as needed is crucial to avoid injury and fatigue.

What are the benefits of an increased resistance exercise bike?

The top 3 benefits of an increased resistance exercise bike are enhanced muscle strength and tone, particularly in the lower body, improved cardiovascular stamina through more intense workouts, and increased calorie burn which contributes to more effective weight management and fat loss.

Exercise bike workout plans for Recovery

Exercise bike workout plans for recovery focus on gentle, low-intensity cycling sessions that promote blood flow to the muscles without placing undue stress on them, aiding in the reduction of muscle soreness and facilitating the repair process after intense cycling sessions or other workouts. These recovery rides help flush out lactic acid, reduce stiffness, and speed up the healing of micro-tears in muscle fibers, contributing to overall muscle recovery and preventing injury.

Here’s a weekly plan tailored for recovery, which alternates between light recovery rides and rest or active rest days to ensure muscles have the opportunity to recover fully. The focus is on maintaining movement and promoting healing without the intensity of regular training sessions, making it ideal for the days following heavy exercise or when recovering from an injury.

MondayLight Recovery Ride20-30 minutesLowEnhance blood flow, reduce muscle soreness
TuesdayRest DayAllow muscles to heal and recover
WednesdayLight Recovery Ride20-30 minutesLowFacilitate lactic acid flush
ThursdayActive Rest (Yoga or Stretching)30 minutesLowImprove flexibility and aid muscle recovery
FridayLight Recovery Ride20-30 minutesLowPromote muscle repair and reduce stiffness
SaturdayRest Day or Gentle Walk30 minutesVery LowMaintain activity without stressing muscles
SundayLight Recovery Ride or Active Rest20-30 minutesLowSupport continued recovery and preparation for upcoming workouts

Exercise bike workout plans for Recovery