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.

Christine VanDoren
Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her…
Are pre-workout supplements safe? (Plus, more of your questions answered)
Everything you need to know about pre-workout supplements
Man squatting down with pre-workout supplement

Gone are the days when the only question you got asked in the gym is what brand of whey protein are you taking? The world of sports supplements and athletic performance aids is becoming increasingly complex and vast. Walk the aisles of any supplement store, and you’ll quickly realize there are supplements for pre-, post-, and inter-workouts with innumerable options and iterations to keep track of.
Even your own gym, where you once would have only seen other guys drinking water or basic sports drinks during and after workouts, now is filled with sights of water bottles filled with all sorts of powdered mixes and enhanced fluids, tubs of protein powders, and electrolyte drinks, and even various bottles of capsules and pills. Some gyms even have dedicated “nutrition bars” where you can order pre- and post-workout smoothies, juices, and energizers. Clearly, the ever-present quest to get the most out of our bodies and maximize physical performance has been answered by supplement companies and fitness marketing businesses.
One said type of supplement to enter the athletic performance market over the last decade is pre-workouts and they are becoming more and more popular amongst the general gym population. As the name describes, pre-workout supplements are taken before a workout and are intended to boost athletic performance and output. Though they may not be as common as energy or electrolyte drinks and protein shakes, if you’ve seen other guys sipping a pre-workout drink or popping a few capsules before hitting the weights and have found yourself wondering if doing the same will improve your own fitness, keep reading to learn the basics of pre-workouts and whether pre-workout supplements actually work.

What are pre-workout supplements?

Read more
The best pre-workout meals – everything you need to know
Maximizing athletic performance in the gym requires the right nutrition beforehand
Man eating before a workout

As in most things in fitness, there is never going to be a one-size-fits-all situation. Whether that's diet, exercise, routines, supplements, habits, the list goes on, just because something works for someone else does not mean it will work for you. A pretty commonly asked question on that fact is whether you should eat a pre-workout meal.

First thing, you need to establish which group you fall into. Do you feel fully optimized during your session, either with or without food? Some people feel less sluggish on an empty stomach and love to recover with a feast. Others feel lethargic and struggle throughout without proper fuel. If you're the latter, this article is for you. If you aren't sure, try both for a couple of weeks and compare your training performance.

Read more
The 13 best shoulder workouts for an outstanding upper body
Bodybuilder doing shoulder press

A pair of built, sizeable shoulders sitting on top of a guy's torso is a telltale sign of someone who is not only aesthetic but functional as well. Strong and healthy shoulders are incredibly crucial for all of life's tasks, especially as we age and begin to lose muscle density.

Shoulder injuries are disastrous, making even common daily tasks like carrying groceries painful. So, one of the best things that you can do is to stop neglecting your shoulders and make sure you do some of the best shoulder exercises to make them stronger, as well.

Read more