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Best Stationary Bike Workouts

As winter approaches and the weather turns colder, rainier, and snowier, many of us are looking to move our workouts indoors. Cycling is a great form of cardio that also happens to develop your leg muscles. Stationary bikes and bike trainers are relatively inexpensive and can allow you to continue cycling hard 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, catch up on your reading while you ride. Or you can 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.

Close-up of man's hands on handlebars of a bike.

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 Peloton bike in a gym.

Best Stationary Bike Workout for Beginner Riders

Our first workout comes from Healthline. They advise starting with s 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.

Best Stationary Bike Workout for Intermediate Riders

This next workout comes from Bicycling.com and is sure to help you break a sweat. Designed to simulate climbing hills, they suggest:

  • 10-15 minutes of easy cycling to warm up
  • Pedal at level 8 for 2 minutes
  • Stand and pedal at level 10 for 15 seconds
  • Repeat this 4 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.

An artistic photograph of a cyclist training.

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.

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.

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