Many people turn to the best recumbent bike for indoor use because they want to enjoy the same workout benefits and results that they do when riding outdoors, but if you’re a seasoned cyclist then you know how uncomfortable a stock recumbent bike seat can be, even after you’ve broken it in.
Why the Wrong Exercise Bike Seat Can Negatively Impact Your Workout
This is a common problem with any style or type of bike, whether it’s a recumbent bike vs. upright bike, the bottom line is stock saddles just aren’t comfortable. In fact, they’re the number one component on an exercise and traditional bike that gets upgraded almost immediately. But why?
Stock seats on recumbents and other styles of bikes are made from cheaper materials that don’t exactly have the rider’s comfort in mind. Instead, the main goal is to keep the price of the bike down.
Upgrading this feature can majorly increase the bike’s overall comfort, which, in turn, will encourage you to use your exercise bike consistently.
A recumbent bike features a heavily padded seat. Some models feature a separate backrest and saddle, while others will take a bucket seat approach. These seats look plush and comfortable, but unfortunately, many stock seats simply aren’t and can require several weeks of use before they’re properly broken in.
If your recumbent bike has a seat that’s causing you pain, you may even find yourself making excuses just to skip a workout. If your goal is to use your recumbent bike a few times a week to lose weight, then your workout should be both challenging and enjoyable. If it’s not, then you’re just setting yourself up for failure.
How the Wrong Seat Can Cause Saddle Sores
If you’re used to spending several hours a week on your bike, then you’ve probably dealt with saddle sores at some point. This same problem can occur when using your indoor recumbent bike. But what’s the main cause of saddle sores? The answer is an uncomfortable recumbent bike saddle. Recumbents typically feature large backrests combined with a large saddle, so they can definitely be more comfortable than a traditional bike seat, but if the saddle itself is too rigid and unforgiving, you can lose precious time otherwise spent working out because you’ll need to take several days off in a row to heal. Saddle sores occur due to constant and ongoing pressure caused by the saddle. Cyclists will experience tender and swollen spots in certain areas that rub against the seat. These sores are no joke and can make exercising downright unpleasant if not impossible. Once you get a saddle sore, you must take two to three days off from exercising in order to give the delicate skin adequate time to heal. Saddle sores are easy enough to treat, but if this is an ongoing issue, then you need to remedy it immediately before it begins to affect your weight loss progress.
The solution? You can totally upgrade the saddle, swapping the stock saddle out for an orthopedic model, or a gel topped saddle cover. Both options work to provide extra padding where it’s needed the most, while also helping to evenly distribute your weight so there is no unnecessary pressure applied to specific areas. If your recumbent bike has a bucket style all in one seat, then upgrading this component can be a little pricey, but in the end, it’s totally worth it.
Making the Proper Seat Adjustments for Better Workout Results
Surprisingly, people who cycle indoors often overlook the importance of using the right seat. It must be adjusted precisely in order to avoid saddle soreness, chafing, discomfort, and even knee and joint pain. While it’s true that a recumbent bike workout can provide impressive results in terms of weight loss and an increase in endurance, it’s definitely not worth seriously injuring or straining muscles, tendons, or joints because of it.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to avoid this problem. Aside from upgrading the seat itself, you can also adjust the height to ensure you’re not putting too much strain on your joints.
Compared to indoor upright bikes, the recumbent saddle is pretty striking. They offer plenty of back support because the body is kept in a reclined position, which is a huge plus for cyclists who suffer from ongoing upper and lower back problems. This is a common issue for many cyclists who normally ride upright bikes. An upright bike requires a more aggressive riding stance, providing zero back support and instead encourages neck, shoulder, and back discomfort and tension.
With a recumbent, riders will enjoy additional support thanks to the ergonomic backrests and larger saddles.
However, this big chair-like seat won’t help to reduce back pain if you’ve failed to position it correctly. Make sure you set the seat up correctly so that your legs are kept level with your hips, or slightly higher.
Additionally, your legs shouldn’t extend fully while you pedal. The knees should be kept in a slightly bent position, at fifteen degrees. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be unlikely to overextend your joints and you’ll also enjoy more power behind the pedals.
Now that you’re aware of the importance of a good recumbent bike seat and proper seat positioning, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable workout and better workout results. Most beginners report that the number one reason why they quit riding their recumbent exercise bike is the uncomfortable riding experience. With a new seat and proper positioning, you’ll find that you actually enjoy working out and you won’t experience the same type of stiffness and discomfort you did before you upgraded the saddle.
Aside from a more comfortable ride, the best saddle and the right type of seat adjustments can also prevent serious and chronic injuries that can prevent or discourage you from consistently working out. Ultimately, the type of seat you choose should be based on personal preference, but if you’re ordering a new seat online make sure you check out recumbent exercise bike forums and get advice from seasoned riders who can recommend a comfortable saddle or cover that will last.