Is cycling on a recumbent exercise bike helpful/detrimental

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Loosenutt
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Is cycling on a recumbent exercise bike helpful/detrimental

Postby Loosenutt » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:54 am

Hi,

My gym has more recumbent (semi recumbent) exercise bikes than normal (upright) exercise bikes, which means that sometimes that is the only option available.

I get a good workout on the recumbent bikes, however I can feel slightly different muscles being worked (and you don't have the option to stand to simulate a sprint or hill).

My question: Is cycling on a recumbent exercise bike helpful or detrimental as training for road cycling?

I accept that doing kilometers on any bike is better than none and that getting out on the road is the best, however are there any reasons to avoid the recumbent exercise bikes?

Thanks

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Kalgrm
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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:03 pm

In my experience, I don't think there is enough cross-training to benefit you much. When I bought my recumbent bike, it took quite a few months to train the muscles I use on it, even though I was already very fit on the MTB.

If you want to train for road-riding, ride your road bike. Even the stationary upright bike at the gym won't be as good as your road bike for training. The recumbent stationary bike will help your cardio fitness, but it's not specific enough in its muscular training to achieve your aim.

Now, if you wanted to train to ride the stationary bike for long periods, I'd recommend the stationary bike as a training aid. :)

Cheers,
Graeme
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Alex Simmons/RST
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Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:01 pm

+1

Basically training that replicates the joint angles, speeds and forces of road cycling is the best training for road cycling.

Recumbents likely take away some of those elements but the basic ability to push the pedal away from you (with the opposing force being the back of the seat rather than your body weight) presumably has some similarity and if you go hard enough it will work your aerobic engine and legs.

It would certainly be better than nothing if there is no other choice.

In one case I suggested a client use an elliptical trainer when they had no other option as it was at least similar to a riding motion (they went on a family cruise and the ship's gym had elliptical trainers but no bikes worth riding).

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Postby toolonglegs » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:59 am

My wife has an eliptical trainer...I can't get my heart rate up on it,bit like walking,can't get my heart rate over 115bpm doing that either,mainly because it is dead flat in my town...but I still do 45-60min walk most nights before bed if I can't face getting on the trainer.
One day I will get to try a lounge chair,but haven't seen any here yet...would be nice to have one in winter with a nice blanket to keep me warm thou :lol:

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Postby ni78ck » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:18 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:+1

Basically training that replicates the joint angles, speeds and forces of road cycling is the best training for road cycling.



i remember some time back you said to me " the only way to better your cycling was to cycle more". i almost did not believe you. i thought whats wrong with running or playing soccer for fitness.

your toally right :oops: :oops: :oops: . i did a fitness coarse for 6 weeks and when i finished my legs were stronger but my cycling did not improve much. :shock: . i was better at climbing but my speed was still the same. now that im cycling more i am improving much quicker and my body is recovering quicker too. thanks for the tip!
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Alex Simmons/RST
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Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:49 pm

ni78ck wrote:your toally right :oops: :oops: :oops: .
Surely not? :wink:

In all seriousness, there are three basic principles in training:

Specificity, specificity & specificity.

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Postby Kalgrm » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:15 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:In all seriousness, there are three basic principles in training:

Specificity, specificity & specificity.

So, where does cadence come into that? ;) :lol:
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Postby Loosenutt » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:46 pm

Alex Simmons/RST wrote:In all seriousness, there are three basic principles in training:

Specificity, specificity & specificity.


Hi,

Thank you for the great feedback.

I assume that if I use my roadbike on one of those indoor trainers (triangular contraption that you mount your rear weel to) I would get a much more representative training session?

Unfortunately the one I bought a couple of months ago on a whim from a certain discount website sounds like a 747 is taking off behind me.

Please excuse a further two quesitons: 1) Are the triangular indoor trainers worth while and 2) if they are worth while, are there any decent types / makes / models that doesn't sound like a 747 taking off.

Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

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Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sun Jan 04, 2009 9:24 pm

Loosenutt wrote:
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:In all seriousness, there are three basic principles in training:

Specificity, specificity & specificity.


Hi,

Thank you for the great feedback.

I assume that if I use my roadbike on one of those indoor trainers (triangular contraption that you mount your rear weel to) I would get a much more representative training session?

Unfortunately the one I bought a couple of months ago on a whim from a certain discount website sounds like a 747 is taking off behind me.

Please excuse a further two quesitons: 1) Are the triangular indoor trainers worth while and 2) if they are worth while, are there any decent types / makes / models that doesn't sound like a 747 taking off.

Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

For the most part, they will never completely replicate real riding but can go very close, depending on the trainer. Some turbo trainers are better than others.

The #1 rule of buying a turbo trainer is to get one and make the set up something that you will want to ride rather than dread. That is different for everyone.

The main things that make riding a turbo hard are:
- low intertial load (so get one with a heavy flywheel, mag units are usually horrible to ride)
- poor cooling - imperative you have a monster fan for cooling. Unfortunately the sound of the fan will drown out the sound of the trainer
- motivation (so consider ways to help time pass when on the trainer, music, videos, structured routines, monitoring devices, computer controlled ergo brakes etc)

I would suggest looking at the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine.

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Re: Is cycling on a recumbent exercise bike helpful/detrimen

Postby Kalgrm » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:35 pm

Loosenutt wrote:My gym has more recumbent (semi recumbent) exercise bikes than normal (upright) exercise bikes, which means that sometimes that is the only option available.

G'day Loosenut,

This might sound simplistic, but is there any reason you can't ride your bike to the gym? If you could, it means you're already warmed up by the time you get there, you can do your workout without the wait for a decent stationary bike, then ride home again to cool down (or do a decent training ride to finish off with.)

Cheers,
Graeme
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Re: Is cycling on a recumbent exercise bike helpful/detrimen

Postby Loosenutt » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:33 pm

Kalgrm wrote:is there any reason you can't ride your bike to the gym?


Good question, the Gym is in the building I work in and I live 1.2km from work.....I live in Glenwood, near the start of the M7 and work in Bella Vista.

I have cycled more kilometers in the last two weeks [500km], than I have driven my car in the last 6 months.

There are two parts to the Gym issue:
1) Planning for a winter program, I want to be able to keep my fitness at a decent level during winter (I though a recumbent would be better than nothing :? )

2) I was initially planning to do some light weights at the gym, however as I have discovered in this forum if you want to train for cycling, then train for cycling, as Alex puts it: "Specificity, specificity & specificity".


So, based on the feedback on the forum I will be cycling outside as much as possible and adopting a training program to focus my training. Secondly I will purchase a decent indoor trainer for my bike.

Ryan

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Postby trailgumby » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:42 pm

The possible exception i would put to this is core strength.

Steve Hogg has made the point to me (and I hold it to be true) that cycling does not do a lot for one's core strenght, particularly if one's job is sedentary (eg, sitting on your @rse all day pushing pixels).

Yet, core strength is vital for comfort and efficiency on a bike. To this extent, some form of cross-training to develop and maintain core strenght is vital

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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:55 pm

I think this should be qualified with "Road cycling does not do much for core strength." Mountain biking did a lot for my core strength due to the way the bike must be "muscled" over and around obstacles. I ususally come home with tightness in the abdomen muscles after a good ride.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:19 am

It should also be pointed out that if you train enough (and in a manner specific to the type of riding you do), you will get all the core strength you need to ride a bike, by riding a bike.

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Re: Is cycling on a recumbent exercise bike helpful/detrimental

Postby MattyK » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:45 pm

Thank you jane-bot.

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