Indoor cycling is an excellent cardio exercise that mainly targets your leg muscles. But if you want better results and time efficiency, full-body weight loss workouts on a stationary bike are the key. The question is, how?
Using an air-assault bike for your cycling routine is one way to work your entire body. This bike type also has infinite resistance, pushing you to pedal harder and burn more calories. Hybrid training is another method. With this option, you can combine cycling with a complementary exercise in one session.
Keen to learn how you can apply these to your weight loss program? Here are the essentials you should know.
What are Full-Body Weight Loss Workouts?
Before we go into the actual exercise strategies, let’s first understand a few concepts. What is a full-body workout and what makes it great for weight loss?
Full-body workouts involve exercises that target several or all your muscle groups. These are more complex than regular cycling, for example, as you need a combination of movements to work your entire body.
A typical combination would be cardio workouts and strength training in one.
There are two popular ways to structure total-body workouts.
- One is the superset method, where you perform two back-to-back exercises that target opposing muscles without rest in between.
- The other is the circuit method, where you perform two back-to-back exercises that target entirely different muscle groups. In simpler terms, it’s an upper and lower body workout.
By mere description, you can tell that full-body workouts are challenging and taxing on the body. The good news is, that you can tone down their intensity or difficulty to match your age and fitness level.
Like any exercise, the results you get from your full-body workouts depend on your effort. Discipline and consistency are equally essential.
Why are full-body workouts good for weight loss?
All types of physical activity, like running, swimming, or weightlifting, contribute to better health and weight management.
However, full-body workouts have unique features that make them more effective and ideal for weight loss goals. Here are some of them:
- Full-body workouts burn more calories quickly. Total-body training is a compound exercise where multiple muscle groups work. According to the American Council on Exercise, more muscles at work also mean more oxygen uptake, which leads to higher energy expenditure. Researchers further support this by saying that combined resistance and cardiovascular training burn more calories, which is excellent for individuals with limited time to exercise.
- Full-body workouts stimulate muscles as you lose fat. Weight loss can be tricky as you have to lower your calorie intake to lose body fat, which also causes you to lose muscle mass. However, by doing total-body training, you can still burn calories and activate several muscles without demanding too much recovery reserves. In short, full-body workouts help you balance your diet and exercise requirements to lose weight efficiently.
- Full-body workouts offer higher flexibility. Total-body training lets you perform various exercises in or out of your home gym. You can design full-body training sessions with or without equipment, too. With this level of flexibility, you can continuously exercise no matter where you are or how busy your schedule gets. Remember, workout consistency is essential to successful weight loss.
- Full-body workouts prevent boredom. Doing the same activity repeatedly not only affects your motivation. It also leads to the dreaded fitness plateau that slows down your progress. Trying out different full-body workouts should keep your body guessing and burning calories. More importantly, you can complete every session without watching the clock.
How Can You Do Full-Body Weight Loss Workouts with Stationary Bikes?
It may seem impossible to do total-body training with indoor cycling, given that this cardio exercise focuses on your legs. A little creativity is all you need to make your stationary bike fit in your full-body weight loss workouts.
Here are a few suggestions.
1. Consider working out on an air assault bike.
Air bikes suit weight loss and full-body training for two reasons. One is because air bikes have infinite resistance. Your pedalling speed and effort will dictate the resistance level of your bike.
As you cycle faster, the pedals feel heavier, forcing you to push and pull more. When you exert more physical power on the air bike, your heart rate also shoots up, resulting in higher calorie burn.
Another reason is that air bikes have moveable handlebars. Exercising your arms while pedalling activates more muscles, intensifies the workout, and gives you better health benefits.
You can also check out this air bike vs spin bike comparison to learn more about their weight loss potential.
2. Combine cycling with resistance or strength training in one session.
If you usually spend 1 hour on your indoor cycling routine, why not allocate a few minutes of your schedule to resistance or strength exercises?
For example, after 45 minutes of biking, put the remaining 15 minutes for your upper body training. You can also apply a similar technique to shorter cycling workouts.
With endurance and strength training combined, you strengthen your muscles and build up stamina. In turn, you become a more powerful rider, on top of gaining weight loss benefits.
Here are some full-body weight loss workout ideas you can try with your stationary bike:
- Add basic strength training exercises. After your indoor cycling session, do some squats, deadlifts, chest presses, or triceps push-downs. This plan is ideal if you want a well-rounded upper and lower body. Seniors can incorporate these strength training exercises into their biking workouts, too.
- Add arm exercises. If you do not have an air bike with moveable handles, lifting light dumbbells is one way to target your upper body. You can also use resistance bands if you like. This list of upper-body exercises should give you more ideas.
- Add core-strengthening exercises. If you are doing cycling workouts to lose weight and tone your body, consider adding supplementary exercises that target your torso and core. Glute bridges, planking, hanging leg raises, and Turkish get-ups are excellent examples.
3. Complement your cycling workout with another type of exercise.
You can pair indoor cycling with another activity to activate your upper-body muscles and achieve a more complete workout. You can do this by incorporating your preferred complementary exercise into your weekly workout routine.
Here are a few combos meant for each other:
- Indoor cycling and Pilates. The secret to becoming a good cyclist is having a stable core section. And a Pilates session, whether on a mat or reformer, can give you that structural strength.
- Indoor cycling and barre. Barre moves involve isometric muscle contractions and core tightening, which boost your cycling performance. However, barre workouts are also low cardio. And that is why it matches perfectly with your wheeled work.
- Indoor cycling and hiking. Biking is a non-weight-bearing exercise, while hiking is the exact opposite. And hitting the trail is one way to use all that strength built up from your cycling sessions. Walking on uneven terrain also keeps your body guessing and engages other muscles you probably do not use on a stationary bike.
Final Words on Full-Body Weight Loss with a Stationary Bike
Without a doubt, full-body weight loss workouts are possible with a stationary bike.
You can do this by tweaking your current routine and adding strength training or your preferred complementary exercise.
Alternatively, consider adding an air assault bike to your home gym for challenging full-body exercise sessions.
Just remember, limit your total-body training to two to three times a week and give your muscles adequate time to recover.
Pair your cycling workouts with another exercise that targets a different muscle group. That way, you can keep your weight loss plan rolling and progressing.
Other Questions on Weight Loss and Indoor Cycling
1. Should I consider stationary bike interval training to lose weight?
Interval training with an exercise bike involves intense cycling at a maximum effort followed by short periods of active recovery. In turn, you get to burn more calories within a shorter time. It also boosts your metabolism for longer and promotes fat loss.
2. How can I achieve sustainable weight loss with indoor cycling?
Sustainable weight loss means committing yourself to a long-term active lifestyle. And you can do this with indoor cycling by having an exercise bike you enjoy using. Working out within your heart rate zone, changing your cycling workouts, and doing HIIT also results in long-term weight loss.
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