The Stomach for UNI

So I’m a rather tall (6’5’’) middle ager of moderate build (low 200’s if it’s not too close to a Holiday.) I’m rather dexterous and can bike, slackline, juggle and dance.

I’d like to add unicycling to my repertoire, but I have a concern; I look like I’m smuggling a basketball under my shirt. I have a huge protruding gut and can’t see my shoes (size 12’s).

I’m sure Unicycling is great exercise (at least as good as light aerobic activity I’m already getting) but Will Unicycling TARGET my abs and burn my belly down to some semblance of human (non-alien) proportions?



I consider unicycling (especially muni) far more than light aerobic activity. I run and unicycle on the same trails, and its waaay easier to run them than uni them.

I find unicycling to be a pretty hard core cardio and leg exercise. I’m sure there’s a lot of core work as well, but muscularly I tend to feel it in the legs.

Learning to ride alone, will burn some calories. I remember wearing a T-shirt in December (in Utah so we’re talking 0-30*) and I was still sweating after riding only a few revolutions.

Once you learn how to ride, do some Muni and especially climb, climb, climb, and you’ll soon realize that it’s far more than light aerobic.

I hit a 2 mile sustained climb today and felt like my heart had grabbed an axe and was hacking it’s way out of my chest. It was awesome. :slight_smile:

I’d just spend time on wheels…period. Steady, aerobic, low-impact exercise can only help matters. And even though few things are as physiologically transformational as a l-o-n-g regular bicycle ride, and even though I don’t really consider my road unicycling to be as aerobically intense as my regular bike workouts, for some reason, after finishing even just 15 or 20 miles on the 36" unicycle, my body feels quite “worked,” and in ways that the bicycle doesn’t work me. Lots of people, on hearing that I ride the uni, have commented that unicycling “must be great for your core!” I’m not sure what my “core” is, but I know it’s one of the currently fashionable topics of conversation around the gym water cooler…and maybe they’re right, since the lower and mid-back and abdomen are areas that feel especially fatigued after a lengthy uni ride (are those areas part of a person’s “core?” :thinking: ) Dunno. Anyway, as has been observed in multiple previous threads, unicycling, however effective it may or may not be as a form of exercise in itself, dovetails nicely with other cross-training aerobic activities like running, bicyling, hiking, whatever. Good luck!

I am a cross country skier and train my core all the time. But it still doesn’t compare to what all my unicycling does.

Cruising? Better than jogging but not by much IMO.

Learning and Muni is a great workout though. But IMO Muni requires good core strength to ride well more than the actual riding effects the core.

For me a strong core significantly improves my riding and reduces UPDs. I won’t Muni unless I can do 30 single leg lifts L, 30 R, 30 L, etc for 30 min w/ 10 lb per pair ankle weights. (Also leg lifts gets a flat belly more effectively than most exercises I’ve tried) if a flat belly is all you care about, if you do the LLs w/o weights for 10 + min every day you’d make significant slimming progress.

Terry started Muni @ 50, lost 35 lbs and now look at him :sunglasses:

“Regular” unicycling doesn’t particularly work your abs area. Not to send the wrong message; learning to ride will burn plenty of calories! But then if you want to focus on that area, I’d recommend tuning your unicycle skills toward Trials/Street/Flatland. Specifically, work on doing really high jumps.

Also another great area would be practicing the BC Wheel. That’s a wheel with foot pegs, or platforms, and nothing else. Lots of ab work one one of those.

Or, if you get a 36" and just crank out tons of miles, you’ll be amazed at the effect. Or less miles, offroad, on a smaller wheel.

For my first month of actual riding on my Uni, I found my core muscles ached quite a bit. Now they’re rock solid and I have to do over 2 hours of MUni to get that same ache.

I find the cardio workout from mountain unicycling is better than I get from an hour’s intensive Muay Thai in the gym.

I could still stand to lose a stone or more, but the fat’s dropping off nicely and my legs are turning into ‘tree trunks’, according to my wife :wink:

Thanks for the replies. I know I’m getting into uni, just wanted to check my expectations.

Follow up: is there a height sizing guide for wheelbase? Are larger wheels harder to learn on or designed for muni/distance? I’ll be testing them around the shop to ensure my knees aren’t in my ears, but I’m looking for guidelines.

I’m six-five so my gut says go big. And if I get a bif comfortable tire for my stride, could shorter people adjust the seat and still ride/learn on it?

And I’m only buying ONE uni. No trainer/practice/beginner. It needs to take me into at least moderate skill level.


at 6’4 220 on a good day size 14 shoes i ride trials and street and when i go out for a trials ride and do just side hops i feel like im going to die its good cardio

At your height, most 20" uinicycles are out - the stock seatpost will be too short and the thing will feel tiny. (I learned on a 20", I’m 6’ tall, it feels small and I barely had enough seatpost)

A 24" would feel like a 20" does to shorter people. Smallish, manageable, good to learn on. Shorter people could learn on it too. The stock seat post would be long enough for you.

a 26" would also work as a learner unicycle for someone of your height and is a good size for travelling around and riding longer distances. Most shorter people would struggle to learn on a 26".

a 29" Uni would feel bigger. People have learned to ride on them from scratch, but it’s uncommon.

All the above assume a standard road tyre (1.75" ish) is fitted. MUnis have fatter tyres which basically moved them up an inch or two size-wise. My 24" QU-AX MUni actually measures 26" tread to tread, but my 29" road uni only measures 28" with the slimmer tyre.

The best thing you can do is find a local unicyclist and ask to try his collection (we all have more than one…) for size while hanging on to a fence and see how they feel.

Most of the time people learn on 20 or 24 inch wheels because they are easier to handle and they don’t feel so high off the ground. But that’s not a hard rule. There is at least one person here who learned on a 29". If you are stubborn enough, you can make anything work.

I think at your height, a 20" unicycle would be ridiculously small. You might be better off with a 26". If you get yourself a mid-level 26" muni like this one, you could learn on it and then happily ride trails on it for years to come. Durability is not a problem with these munis, so it will last as long as you want to ride it.

W/ your size and weight, I’d go for a 24, prefferably w/ a splined hub like the Nimbus II.

You could go a bit bigger right off the bat or the Muni above, but I’d start w/ the less expensive 24. After learning, use it to learn new skills, tricks, and as a loaner to friends who want to learn, while you save up for a really nice uni of your chosen style.

And let’s not forget Scott Kurland who learned to ride on a coker. :astonished:

These are the types of unicycling that are the most strenuous exercise for me (roughly in order):

  1. Mountain unicycling
  2. Ultimate wheel riding
  3. Wheel walking uphill
  4. Hula hooping while idling
  5. Jumping rope while idling
  6. Double wheel riding
  7. Long runs of coasting
  8. BC wheel riding
  9. Big wheel riding

I practice/ride 2-7 hours a day 6-7 times a week. My normal practice routine is fairly light and I try to toss in harder elements to get more exercise.

Dang your a big boy!
I’m 6’1 and between 200-210lbs.
That was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn uni is core strength,then my overall balance gets worse every year.Hopefully this will help.

I got a CX24 to learn on,and just picked up a 20" cyclepro for $20,feels like the 20" is going to be easier for me to learn on.

So yeah atleast a 24",have read some threads of people learning on 26" or 29".I dont think a 26" would be out of the question w/ your size.

I’m slightly concerned that another foot+helmet+pads will transform me into a giant demented beast ripping down the trails…

Haha,it will.Add a ZZ Top beard and long hair and thats me!:smiley: