Stationary bikes are one of the best ways to get a fulfilling and effective cardio work out. Indoor bikes share many perks and advantages with treadmills and other cardio machines, minus the obligatory knee and joint aches. However, people tend to avoid them due to one simple reason: they can become quite uncomfortable after a few hours.
There are several factors that can cause this inconvenience – they are either equipped with cheap, hard seats, or the seat type is not suited to the user’s body build or type of exercise. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to help users pick up the models with the best seat possible. Here is a small guide that will teach you how to choose the seat for your stationary bike.
Types of Bike Seats
Generally speaking, you will see two types of stationary bikes at every gym: recumbent bikes and upright bikes. While there are some general structural distinctions between these two variants, the major difference is the rider’s position, which is determined by the seat.
Contrary to popular belief, the seat is the most important feature of the bike because it not only ensures top quality cardiovascular activity, but it prevents the user from developing backaches and muscle sores. If you want to find out more about specific seat models, you can always check out a full list on www.ExerciseBikesExpert.com
However, regardless of the seat’s quality, you might end up with backaches anyway because using upright bikes is akin to riding a bicycle. Upright bikes are good for short, intense workouts meant to increase cardiovascular capacity and build lower body muscles simultaneously, but are not suited for slow, methodical cardio sessions.
Although the upright bike, in spite of its disadvantages, will not put as much pressure on your joints and wrists as a treadmill, the recumbent bike is objectively superior from a comfort perspective. The seat provides proper rest for the bottom and is especially recommended for people with chronic back problems, as well as those who suffer from the occasional back pain because it offers proper back support.
Despite all this, whether or not one bike type is superior to the other still depends very much on personal preference and what type of exercises you want to do. If you want a bike that you can hop on and off after a casual warm-up cardio session, go for the upright bike. If you want to spend long periods of time on it, the recumbent bike is more appropriate as it offers an extra degree of comfort and support for the back.
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Types of Cushioning
Technically speaking, all cushioned seats provide the same degree of comfort for the bottom. However, cushioning materials react differently when exposed to weight. There are two common cushioning materials:
- Foam cushioning provides the rider with a soft, comfortable feel without deflating. This material is entirely pliable, and it can recover its initial shape even after many consecutive hours of riding. Furthermore, foam cushioning is especially good for fitness enthusiasts who weight over 90 kilograms, or riders with prominent sit bones because it does not compact as quickly as the seats made out of gel.
- Seats with gel cushioning are more suitable for casual cardio workouts during which you do not want to necessarily work out any muscle groups, but to warm up for other exercises. Although it is technically more comfortable than foam cushioned seats, it tends to deflate more quickly.
- Alternatively, if you are on a tight budget, you can always buy a separate saddle pad for extra comfort and cushioning. The main advantage of getting a separate saddle add-on is that, due to their cheap price, you can always replace them once they get too degraded, whereas replacing an entire stationary bike saddle will cost you more money.
Finally, another feature you should look for in stationary bikes seats is center slits. These are designed to offer comfort and protection to the perineum – the area between the sit bones which is filled with arteries and nerves. Furthermore, thanks to its design, center slits eliminate any potential pressure that other standard saddles put on the perineum, facilitating proper air flow and comfort.
However, due to anatomical differences, some people might not find these type of seats very comfortable. A good rule of thumb is to take it for a trial run before purchasing to determine if it is a good fit for you or not.
But don’t forget about your upper body workout and get a combo for both your lower body and shoulders as well. More often than not, fitness enthusiasts avoid stationary bikes because they can get very uncomfortable after a while. Moreover, the fact that most people tend to omit taking the seat into account before purchasing a bike does not help.
To cut things short, it all depends on how much time you are willing to spend working out and your personal, structural anatomy. Hopefully, this article provided you with some insight into what features and perks you should look for to ensure the most comfortable and fulfilling cardio experience possible.
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