All recumbent exercise bicycles come with a variety of resistance levels. Twenty is a good average. Less expensive models have fewer, more expensive models have more.
How many do you need?
Well, to tell the truth, you really only need one. And that’s the one that is ideal for your level of strength and your workout goals.
But, of course, the manufacturers must make their cycles with enough options to accommodate all potential customers.
Also, in time, as your muscle strength grows you may need to move up to a higher resistance level in the future.
Basically, the resistance level mimics the effort of pedaling a bicycle up an inclined slope.
At the very lowest resistance settings, the pedals go around and around with hardly any effort. You’re just moving your legs.
You’re getting less exercise than if you were walking. Because if you were walking, you’d be carrying and moving your weight against gravity.
At the high resistance levels, it’s like cycling straight up a mountain cliff, except with a recumbent exercise bike you can’t stand up.
Unless your calf and thigh muscles are already quite strong, the top levels of some or all bicycles may be simply too hard for you to pedal.
Therefore, you’ve obviously got to find the happy middle.
Obciously, you have to find a resistance level that you’re comfortable with and which matches your type of workout.
If you have decided you want to cycle slowly for a relatively long period of time, you’ll need to use a lower resistace level. That’s because higher resistance levels will tire your leg and back muscles out quickly.
If you want to do a more intense HIIT workout, you can up the resistance levels to increase the intensity, forcing yourself to work harder.
In a way, that’s a good thing about exercise bicycles. When you walk, swim or run, the intensity remains the same. It’s your body weight and gravity.
When you cycle outside, it’s your body weight, gravity and the incline of the pavement you’re on. If you’re on a flat surface, you can’t increase the resistance no matter what. If you need to go uphill, you must fight your way up, no matter how tired you are.
Indoors on a recumbent exercise bike, you’re in control.
Before you buy, do check out how easy it is to switch resistance levels.
It’s a good idea to warm up with a low resistance level, then go up for the full-scale workout.
Do be careful, and pay attention to how you feel. Cycling against major resistance will help force your muscles to get stronger.
However, if you strain too hard, you can injure yourself, holding back your progress.