Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Learn the best stationary bike workouts for every fitness level (from beginner to advanced)

Discover the perfect stationary bike workout for you

Man riding a bike trainer
Aditya Wardhana/Unsplash

Whenever the weather is cold or rainy, but you still want to get a ride in, you can supplement with a stationary bike workout indoors! Cycling is an effective form of cardio that also allows you to build muscle in your legs. Both stationary bikes and bike trainers can be relatively inexpensive, allowing many people to enjoy cycling even when the weather doesn’t permit it.

The other thing that’s wonderful about trainers is you don’t need to focus on what’s in front of you, meaning you can binge your favorite show, watch Master Class, or catch up on your reading while you ride. You can also just focus on getting in a good workout. The key to great workouts is having a plan. Outlined below are multiple plans for every level of rider.

There are a number of different stationary bikes out there these days. Of course, many people will be familiar with Peloton. Peloton revolutionized the home-cycling industry by creating well-manufactured stationary bikes paired with great coaches. If you loved spin class at the gym but haven’t been going, you’ll love Peloton.

There are many other stationary bikes out there. Bowflex, NordicTrack, and Schwinn all make versions. The other option is to get a trainer. If you already have a bike, a trainer turns that bike into a stationary bike. Typically trainers elevate your back wheel off the ground. A mechanism then presses against the back tire, creating resistance. The workouts below can be done on a stationary bike or a bike trainer.

A man training with a bike
Michael makrem Grace/Shutterstock

What are the benefits of biking?

Whether you are on a stationary bike or taking it to the road, biking has numerous health benefits. The key to enjoying these perks is to stay consistent! It may take some time for you to really notice any changes, so be sure to be disciplined and patient.

The following are just a few great benefits of biking:

  • Develops muscle in the lower body
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Betters balance and coordination
  • Helps lower your resting heart rate
stationary bikes in gym
Maarten van den Heuvel / Pexels

Best stationary bike workout for beginner riders

Our first workout comes from Healthline. It advises starting with a 25-35 minute workout and then adding more time as your body adapts.

  • Warm up with 5-10 minutes of low-intensity pedaling
  • Turn the energy level up to medium intensity for 5 minutes
  • Followed by high intensity for 1-2 minutes
  • Back to medium intensity for 5 minutes
  • High intensity for 1-2 minutes
  • Back to medium intensity for 5 minutes
  • Cool down with 5 minutes of low-intensity cycling

This routine is sure to get your heart rate up without over-taxing your system.

Kampus Production/Pexels / Pexels

Best stationary bike workout for intermediate riders

This next workout comes from and is sure to help you break a sweat. Designed to simulate climbing hills, it suggests you do the following:

  • 10-15 minutes of easy cycling to warm up
  • Pedal at level 8 for 2 minutes
  • Stand and pedal at level 10-15 seconds
  • Repeat this four times
  • Pedal with low intensity for 10 minutes
  • Cool down at low intensity for 10 minutes

You can repeat the steps in bold if you want to get more from your workout.

Cyclist training
Munbaik Cycling Clothing/Unsplash

Best stationary bike workout for advanced riders

Our last workout comes from Men’s Journal. If you really want to feel the burn, this workout is for you.

  • Warm up for 10-15 minutes with low-intensity cycling
  • Pedal as hard as you can for 15 minutes
  • Rest 3 minutes
  • Pedal as hard as you can for 10 minutes
  • Rest 3 minutes
  • Pedal as hard as you can for 5 minutes
  • Cool down with 5 minutes of low-intensity cycling

This workout is sure to leave your legs feeling like Jell-O and your heart pumping.

Julia Larson / Pexels

How to track your workout

There are a number of apps out there that’ll help you track your progress and record your workouts. Many of them connect to your bike, allowing for two great things. One, you can select rides (hill intervals, for example), and the app will adjust the difficulty all on its own.

Two, many of them come with destination rides. If you have a TV or screen in your exercise room, you can cast a pre-recorded ride onto the screen. Suddenly you’re cycling through Spain, and not your laundry room/exercise space. Some of these apps even allow you to ride with others in real time and compete. Here are some of the best apps for stationary cycling.

  • Zwift
  • Wahoo
  • TrainerRoad
  • Road Grand Tours

We hope that you’ll enjoy these workouts, whether you’re new to stationary bike training or just looking to mix up your routine. Cycling indoors is a great form of training, and the number of workouts out there is endless. Paired with proper nutrition, these workouts are sure to have you looking and feeling your best.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine VanDoren
Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her…
The 5 best treadmill workouts to gain fitness fast (and feel great after)
Mix up your treadmill routine and make your workout fun
Three athletes running on treadmills at Stride.

Paul Le was used to gyms measured in the tens of thousands of square feet. Recruited out of a Texas college by the UFC (yes, that UFC) as a trainer for the promotion's California-based gyms, Le worked his way up the ladder, advising fighters and everymen alike before moving into management.

But just like big box stores of the same size, he found a lack of personality, even intimacy, in their spaces. And so, in November of 2020, after a decade with the company, he left, assuming a new role as the general manager of the Little Italy San Diego location of Stride Fitness, a treadmill-based interval training concept. The difference, he said, has been night and day.

Read more
Can’t do pull ups? You need this simple addition to your workout routine
a man doing pull ups

There's no doubt that a pull-up is one of the most challenging exercises to master. Not only does a pull-up require a strong upper body, but it also requires grip strength and core stability. Even for people who regularly do killer back exercises at the gym, a pull-up is a different type of motion than that of many strength training exercises -- making it difficult even for those with a strong back. However, with time, patience, and dedication, anyone can master the pull-up.

There are many approaches to pull-up training, such as using an assisted pull-up machine or performing negative reps. Ultimately, a combination of techniques and exercises can help your body gradually get used to pull-ups and improve over time. Using a pull-up band is a great way for beginners of any skill level to start practicing a pull-up motion. Here's how.

Read more
The 9 best cardio workouts to shake up your routine
Cardio variety to keep from boredom during workouts
Man running on snow-covered field

Running sucks — or at least it seems like it when you're just starting out. For a lot of people, learning to run, bike, swim, or one of countless other forms of aerobic activity like HIIT workouts is an exercise in discomfort. But before you head out the door in your brand-new workout gear, intent on suffering for some vague sense of "fitness," let an expert weigh in. "You have to have a plan," said Mecayla Froerer, Head of Fitness Programming at iFit.

Not familiar with iFit? You likely are familiar with its hardware-based dependents, including NordicTrack, ProForm, and Freemotion, which, along with its stand-alone app, stream interactive workouts across a host of disciplines. Some of the modalities in which Froerer's trainers concoct plans for every need and all its related machines are running, biking, rowing, and HIIT classes. It's no surprise, then, that Froerer, a swimmer by training and a runner of late, appreciates moving broadly across disciplines.

Read more