You likely understand that pedal exercisers can help you stay more active. The workouts below offer some inspiration about how to approach this.
Keep in mind that you can definitely get creative yourself. Contrary to weight lifting exercises, the guidelines for cardiovascular workouts are not that strict.
1. Active relaxing
One of the main benefits of good pedal exercisers is that they allow you to stay active while being able to do other activities at the same time.
For example, most people can easily combine some pedaling with watching tv, listening to music, or reading a book.
This first “workout” is extremely straightforward but because it takes full advantage of one of the main benefits of pedal exercisers it is worth mentioning.
Pedal exercisers are just a bit more distracting than lower-intensity devices than mini ellipticals but they are still very doable in this area. Additionally, for under desk workouts, pedal exercisers are often just a bit too big.
That being said, here is the simple but helpful focused work mini elliptical workout:
- 3 minutes of slow pedaling at a light resistance to start off
- Adjust the resistance to something you can keep up for hours without being distracting.
- Take breaks of 15-60 minutes when the pedal exerciser becomes too uncomfortable
- If you have a stretching routine, this is good to do when your muscles are warmed up from moving
Due to the low intensity, basically anyone can do this type of movement sequence multiple times a day.
2. HIIT pedal exerciser workout
Many people are also looking for more intense and interesting pedal exerciser workouts. These individuals can benefit from a HIIT-style (high-intensity interval training) session.
In HIIT you alternate between short periods of intense movements and recovery periods. These more intense periods make your heart and lungs work harder compared to low-intensity steady state exercise.
As long as you don’t overdo it, HIIT can be great for improving cardiovascular health. When in doubt, start with lighter workouts and build up from there.
The HIIT pedal exerciser workout goes as follows:
- 2 minutes of pedaling at a light resistance to warm up
- 30 seconds of fast pedaling at a heavy resistance
- 90 seconds of slow pedaling at a light resistance
- Keep alternating between these 30-second and 90-second intervals about 8-14 times.
- 2 minutes of pedaling at a light resistance to cool down
To adjust the resistance you may need to take your feet off the pedals for a few seconds. As long as you work hard enough during the pedaling sessions, you can still get in a good pedal exerciser workout.
What “fast pedaling” and a “heavy resistance” are sounds and is relative to your personal fitness level.
As you get fitter, you can consider gradually increasing the time of the high-intensity sessions up to 60 seconds and reducing the duration of the rest periods to 60 seconds.
Additionally, you can do more of these intervals as long as your body can deal with it. Fit individuals can sometimes go up to 40 minutes and even 60 minutes of total time spent working out.
Not pushing yourself too hard is important for avoiding injuries. Pushing yourself hard enough is important to get the health benefits to the largest extent possible.
3. Leg-arm peddling combo workout
Most of the good pedal exercisers also allow you to comfortably use the machine with your arms. This allows you to engage more different muscles while still focusing mostly on cardiovascular health.
To use a pedal exerciser with your hands you preferably have a table but you could also make it work by putting the device on your lap.
An example of a leg-arm peddling combo workout is:
- 2 minutes of leg pedaling at a light resistance to warm up
- 45 seconds of fast leg pedaling at a heavy resistance
- 2 minutes of arm pedaling at a light resistance to warm up
- 30 seconds of fast arm pedaling at a heavy resistance
- Alternate between the arm and leg sequences about 4 to 7 times
- 2 minutes of arm pedaling at a light resistance to cool down
The muscles worked with pedal exercisers when using your legs mainly include the front thigh muscles, back thigh muscles, calves, and butt muscles.
When you switch over to the arm pedaling, you start engaging your shoulders, back upper arms, front upper arms, and upper back.
Because your arms are a lot weaker than your legs, you want to do shorter intense intervals and use lower resistances during the arm pedaling.
Is a pedal exerciser a good workout?
These are not the most intense pieces of exercise equipment but pedal exercisers do work in the sense that can help you stay more active while doing things like watching tv, listening to music, and potentially working at a desk.
For situations like these, pedal exercisers offer a relatively good workout.
At the same time, there are plenty of equipment and exercise options that can offer more health benefits in a shorter amount of time for fitter individuals. Some of these include rowing, running, the elliptical machine, etc.
How long should you use a pedal exerciser for?
You can use a pedal exercise as long your workout stays comfortable. At low intensities, this can easily be up to 30-60 minutes and longer. If you are new to exercising this can also be less. At high intensities it will likely take around 20 minutes or less until you need a break. If you have any specific calorie-burning goals you can also calculate an estimation of how long you need to peddle.
Can I use a pedal exerciser every day?”
Most people can use a pedal exerciser every day due to the relatively low intensity. That being said, if you feel any discomfort you may need to use your pedal exerciser less often, improve your nutrition, and/or improve your sleep.