Working out from the comfort of your home is something that more and more people are going after. Cycling enthusiasts have found numerous ways of taking their bike rides to their living rooms and modern stationary bikes have really improved over the last few years. These stationary bikes can deliver different results based on the type of workout you go through. This is why I decided to create this article where we will see some of the best stationary bike workouts that all focus on different aspects of your physical preparation.
I have divided the workouts we will go through in a few different categories. These are:
- Fat-burning workouts
- Speed-focused workouts
- Time-based workouts
- Endurance workouts
Before we move on, make sure you check out my guide on some of the best recumbent bikes on today’s market. There, I’ve discussed my favorite models for this year along with all their pros and cons. Now, let’s start with the workouts that will help you shed those fats!
There are two different far-burning workouts that we will go through here. Both of these are working primarily in the zone that we call “the fat-loss zone”. Those types of workouts are hard for beginners and often involve high-intensity sprints that will definitely make you break a sweat.
Fat-Loss Workout Example Number 1
Start with a 5 minute warm-up at a slow pace. Use a low resistance setting on your stationary bike. Then, continue with picking up the cadence while keeping the same resistance for the first 5 minutes of the workout. For minutes 5-10 lower your cadence and increase the resistance setting to one of the high ones. The harder the resistance the better. For the next (and last) 5 minutes do 20-second sprints with all of your effort put into them followed by 10-second recoveries for 8-10 times. Keep the resistance level higher than normal. The cool-down should last as much as the warm-up where you gradually decrease the resistance and pace.
Fat-Loss Workout Example Number 2
This one is very similar to the first workout but only has three parts:
- A 10-minute warm-up session with moderate pedaling, moderate resistance
- 5 minutes all-in sprints (20-second sprints, 10-second cooldown)
- Wind down
If you want to learn how to get the most out of your stationary bike and set it up properly, click here!
Using your home exercise bike to increase your on-road speed is a smart idea and will actually help you get much faster once you go out in the spring. The key to these types of workouts is to focus on your cadence and your ability to push yourself hard for longer periods. These two things will make sure that you have the needed endurance to maintain a higher average pace.
Speed Workout Example
Start by warming your body up for around 10 minutes at a moderate cadence and resistance. For the first 10 minutes of your actual workout, sprint for the first 10 seconds of every minute. For the next 10 minutes, spend 1 minute going all-in followed by 1-minute easy pedaling. Keep your efforts around 9-10 RPE or if you are using heart rate zones, try staying between 80 and 90% of HRMax. Wind down by pedaling slowly at a low resistance for around 10 minutes.
If you want to learn how to get faster at cycling on and off the road, click here!
Working out based on the time you have is a nice way to fit your home workouts into your busy schedule. Those workouts are often intensive and are meant to replicate the physical efforts of a much longer workout. Still, some are simply meant to be short and useful for your day-to-day fitness levels. In general, there are three time-based workouts that are the most common:
- 15-minute workout
- 30-minute workout
- 45-minute workout
Let’s check each one of those now…
The 15-minute workouts consist of 4 smaller parts. As usual, you start with a brief 5-minute warm-up by having a fast cadence and low to moderate resistance. For your next 5 minutes, you increase your cadence and alternate between standing up and sitting every 30 seconds for a total of 10 times position changes. After that, max out your efforts for one minute going all in. Use the final 4 minutes to wind down slowly bringing the resistance back to zero.
30-minute workouts are more intense and allow you for more room to work with. As with the previous workout, start with a brief 5-minute warm-up with normal cadence and resistance. Then, pedal moderately fast for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds pedaling on a lower resistance. Repeat this 8 times with a 1-minute warm-down period. Repeat this whole 5-minute step three times in total and wind down for 5-10 minutes at a normal pace and lower resistance.
45-minute workouts are the most diverse and include the most elements and steps. Start by a moderate warm-up and then pedal straight off the seat at medium resistance and pace for 5 minutes. Then, go all-in for 2 minutes at a lower resistance and sit down, keeping the same fast pace for 3 more minutes. Repeat those fast-paced 5 minutes again but now with slightly higher resistance. Now the fun begins. Continue by pedaling straight for 1 minute at a high pace high resistance setting. Then, move onto a seated position for 3 minutes, maintaining slightly slower cadence with lighter resistance. Finish up by pedaling standing up for 5 full minutes at a higher resistance at a moderate pace. Start winding down by pedaling 2 minutes at a moderate pace and resistance. Slightly pick up the pace with light resistance for the next 5 minutes and then slowly start building up the resistance for 4 minutes. By the end, you should have a lot of trouble pedaling through this workout. Take the last 5 minutes to finish winding down at a low resistance and slow pace.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the endurance workouts that will allow you to maintain your pace with less effort when you’re out on the road…
The thing that improves your endurance the most is keeping a higher heart rate during your workouts. In specific, you should be targeting a higher maximum heart rate (MHR). Your heart rate is divided into 5 zones depending of the percentage of your max heart rate (220 – age) you are using. The first zone is from 50 to 60%, second from 60 to 70, and so on. Keeping a heart rate above 70% will greatly improve your body’s ability to use the oxygen you provide it with through your lungs. This translates to higher agility and capability to handle prolonged amounts of training stress or in other words, it allows you to push a higher pace for longer periods of time. Almost all new stationary bikes monitor your HR one way or another. Some do it through sensors in the handles, while others use a clip that is attached to one of your fingers. Some advanced models can even connect to your wireless chest-strap that gives the bike detailed information about your heart’s performance. If they don’t have that, though, you can use the bike’s own RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale that will tell you how hard you’re exercising your body from 1 to 10 (1 is very easy and 10 is all-out effort).
Endurance Workout Example
- Warm-up for 5 minutes at an easier pace
- For the first 5 minutes of the workout work in your 2nd HR Zone (50-60%) or 5 RPE
- The next 5 minutes go into the next zone (60-70%) or 6 RPE
- Then spend 5 more minutes in the 3rd zone (70-80%) or 7 RPE
- Then, go for 2 minutes in your 4th HR zone (80-90%) or 8 RPE
- For the next 8-10 minutes, let your HR drop to around 60% and then return back to around 90% of your HRMax. Keep pushing yourself until you pass 90% and then let your heart rate drop back to 60% and repeat the process for the remaining 8-10 minutes
These 25-30 minutes should be enough to train your endurance especially if you have this workout multiple times in your weekly schedule.
If you’re set on taking your endurance workouts outdoors, make sure you bring your cycling fitness tracker and bike speedometer to help you track your data and help you analyze it afterward. Endurance rides are often longer and provide you with plenty of information to work on after the workout. You can combine these with time attacks and set personal records if you are in the mood to push yourself.
Among the countless potential stationary bike workouts, you can find some pretty good ones that are specifically designed to help you with a certain goal. From the ones that I’ve shown you here, you can use the time-attacks and fat-burning ones inside the same weekly schedule, while having the endurance ones grouped together every other week. Speed workouts shouldn’t really be mixed with endurance workouts and time attacks as they exercise your body in a completely different way and set your muscles for a vastly different challenge.