Summary—Pilot Study: Physiologic and Metabolic Responses using the RealRyder Indoor Cycle.
A Pilot Study was conducted the week of March 9th, 2009 at CSU, Northridge’s Exercise Physiology Lab, under the guidance of Dr. Steven Loy, PhD, Chairperson, and Department of Kinesiology, to measure certain physiologic and metabolic responses of the RealRyder ® Indoor Cycle. A comparison was made between a “locked”* stationary RealRyder ABF8 Indoor Cycle and an “unlocked” RealRyder ABF8 Indoor Cycle, i.e., in its “natural” unstationary configuration during seated and unseated (standing) protocols.
*The Articulating bike frame design of the RealRyder ABF8 allows the cyclist to steer, lean, and balance themselves in the “unlocked” configuration.
The primary comparison then is the center position and the turning position in the sitting and standing position. From a RR (RealRyder) perspective, the data should be very encouraging. …We feel there is an appropriate comparison that can be made to the center to turn position in both sit and stand since resistance was not altered in either. The differences are striking.
In the sit, all subjects evidenced an increase with averages of:
+11.9 %VO2 max
+0.02 RQ reflecting an estimated 6.6% increase in carbohydrate requirement for the activity
In the stand, all subjects evidenced an increase with averages of:
+11.7 %VO2 max
+0.7 RQ reflecting an estimated 19.3% increase in carbohydrate requirement in the activity though it is suggested that this is NOT reflective of the activity alone but also reflective of an increase in CO2 production related to lactate production as the exercise intensity was rather high for the lesser conditioned subjects.
As we briefly discussed the increase of caloric cost of ~2 kcal/min, when extrapolated over the course of a 30 minute ride is 60 kcal/min (or, 100 extra calories in a 50 minute ride). The turning protocol was not unrealistic given the return to center between every turn for about 10 seconds and so the results above could be magnified. From this limited sample size, it seems the relative increase in oxygen consumption is similar whether sitting or standing but there may be differences at higher intensities of exercise which may require different muscle recruitment.
Max VO2 (ml/kg/min)
Relative O2 (ml/kg/min)
Caloric Cost (Kcal/min)
** Turns greater than the unlocked position (P <0.05).
Six muscles were examined for a 3 second interval during each condition (locked, unlocked, left turn, right turn) for each position (seated, standing). Two of the muscles were “core” muscles: erector spinae and external oblique. The remaining four were upper extremity muscles: biceps, triceps, traps, and middle deltoid. Electrodes were placed on only one side of the body and figures should be interpreted with this in mind, particularly when evaluating the turn data. The assumption discussed later is that electrodes on the other side of the body would have reflected similarly thus the bilateral symmetry assumption. Each sample was collected at the approximate midpoint in time of the condition protocol. During the turns, the 3-second interval was collected when the rider was at the maximum deviation from the central position. Each muscle was expressed as a percentage of the maximum voluntary isometric contraction, and is presented below:
As can be appreciated from the standard deviation bars on the figures, muscle activation responses were highly variable.
For statistical purposes, bilateral symmetry was assumed for all positions/conditions. Therefore, the right and left sides were summed for the turns and doubled for the two straight ahead conditions.
Because of the small sample size, normal distribution was not assumed and nonparametric tests were used. To determine if differences existed between conditions, a Friedman two-way ANOVA was conducted. If statistical significance was found, Wilcoxon Matched tests were used post-hoc to determine which conditions were different.
FURTHER COMMENTS—From Rich Hanson, MA, Exercise Physiology. Executive VP of RealRyder International
Metabolic Response and Functional Movements of the RealRyder ABF8:
When each subjects’ bike went from “locked” (stationary) to “unlocked” (the natural unstationary design of the RealRyder ABF8) their Relative O2 (ml/kg/min); Kcal/min; and Heart-Rate (bpm)—Decreased. (!) Speculation from several PhD’s for this phenomenon is that this more “natural” (functional) movement of the articulating bike frame, linked also to the handlebars, and are controlled by the rider, creates the improved biomechanical efficiency for both the lower and upper extremities.* The bike’s design allows the cyclist to recruit other muscle groups to make any given workload “easier” whereas stationary bike riders are limited by local muscle fatigue. There are numerous published studies that confirm that local muscle fatigue is the major reason given by test subjects for ending a Max VO2 Examination-- when using stationary cycle ergometry.
Colin Irving (the bike’s designer-and a very accomplished road bicyclist) has stated that he can “work harder, more easily” on the ABF8 than on a stationary bike, or on roller devices. Obviously, the following statement is pure speculation on our part, but this metabolic decrease is intriguing: We believe that a cyclist can work harder (with increased watts and with increased muscular involvement) and longer (time) when using the RealRyder Indoor Cycle compared to any stationary cycle.
Dr. Loy also made this unsolicited comment: “Overall, the agreement of the subjects was that in the center mode (holding the bike straight, without turning) it was just simply more enjoyable than the standard spinning cycle…”
*Functional Movements: Observations of a Physical Therapist using the RealRyder Indoor Cycle—
“Knee rehabilitation protocols include exercycle routines in all phases of the rehabilitation process. The RealRyder has been valuable because it is the only exercycle, I'm aware of, that allows the functional synergy of the foot, knee, hip and trunk to take place in three planes. This synergy is especially helpful in late phase knee rehabilitation when mimicking out of the saddle hill intervals. The RealRyder is a welcome addition to our rehabilitation process”.
We believe that working harder can actually be Fun!