HIIT Cycling and how to do it?

Your Guide To HIIT Cycling


Billy Hughes
August 22, 2021

If you want to take your indoor cycling up a notch, get additional health benefits, and torch more calories, you might want to add a bit of HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training, to your workouts.

What, exactly, is HIIT?

HIIT is short bursts of intense exercise followed by less intensive sessions that you can add to your cycling routine or other workouts.

HIIT is a great way to boost your workouts and give you some variety in your exercise routine. It’s short, quick, and explosive!

Let’s start by exploring its benefits and see how you can make the most of them to take your exercise out of a rut.

HIIT: What Are Some Of Its Benefits? 

It Boosts Your Fitness In Less Time

benefits of hiit cycling

HIIT is great for when you’re pressed for time!

This is because of how it usually lasts from 10 to 30 minutes but gives you the same health benefits that you’d gain from doing double the amount of moderate-intensity exercise.

Even if you have a lot of time to work out, you might wonder why you shouldn’t reduce your exercise sessions if you’re going to get the same benefits. 

It Torches More Calories

One of the best reasons to take up HIIT is because of how you can lose weight with it.

Research has found that when calories burned during 30 minutes of running, biking, weight training, and HIIT were compared, it was found that HIIT burned between 25 and 30 percent more calories than the other exercise types.

But that’s not the only reason why HIIT helps you to burn more calories. It continues working for several hours after your workout, with various research showing that it increases your metabolic rate during this time.

It Lowers Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is linked to various health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. By incorporating some HIIT into your fitness schedule you can reduce your risk of these conditions.

A study found that doing two months of HIIT on an exercise bike reduced blood pressure as much as continuous endurance training in participants who had high blood pressure.

Interestingly, the participants of the study who took part in endurance training exercised for 30 minutes four days a week, while the HIIT participants only exercised for 20 minutes three times a week.

It Lowers Your Blood Sugar 

Having high blood sugar for extended periods of time can be dangerous. It’s been linked to damage to blood vessels that provide organs with blood, which can increase one’s risk of health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

When 50 studies were analyzed, researchers found that HIIT decreases blood sugar while also improving the body’s insulin resistance more than traditional continuous exercise. 

Can You Use Your Stationary Bike For HIIT? 

spin bike for heat training

Your stationary bike is actually the perfect gym equipment for HIIT workouts. This is because of how you can customize your workouts on it.

You can change the bike’s intensity, speed, and resistance, all of which result in bursts of strenuous activity that forms part of HIIT. Before you get started, it’s important to choose the right bike.

While you can do HIIT effectively on a variety of stationary bikes, some are better than others. For example, a recumbent bike that allows you to sit back in a reclined position while pedaling won’t enable you to increase the speed and resistance while engaging your body’s muscles.

This is why an upright or spin bike can both be more suitable to HIIT. You can also stand up while cycling, especially when using a spin bike, which makes it even better for varied and fast-paced HIIT workouts.

Doing HIIT on your bike offers some great benefits. These include how you can boost your power and endurance while cycling, while also preventing stress from being placed on your body.

HIIT workouts can impact the joints, but you won’t get this on a bike. This is because it’s low-impact exercise, so you can achieve the benefits of HIIT without the stress on your joints.

Another benefit is linked to the previous point: HIIT on a stationary bike is something anyone can do, which makes it more accessible. 

Do You Need To Warm Up Before HIIT Cycling? 

When it comes to any exercise, warming up is always important.

When cycling, for instance, you need to warm up before getting on your bike so that you don’t risk injury and it can also help you to perform much better because your muscles are warmed up and therefore more flexible. So, there’s no doubt that you should warm up before HIIT too, especially because it’s strenuous.

There are different types of HIIT warm-up exercises you can try. A good one includes a range of motion exercise and light cardio, but if you want to warm up on your bike before HIIT, you can cycle for about five to 10 minutes.

The key is to keep it light. You want to warm up your muscles and get your blood flowing in preparation of the workout, not tire yourself out before you’ve even hit your stride! 

How To Get Started With HIIT Bike Workouts

how to start with hiit workout

There are many ways in which you can add HIIT to your bike workouts. Here are some easy ones to consider.

Beginner HIIT Bike Workout

  • Start by pedaling for 30 seconds as fast and hard as you can. 
  • Then, pedal for between two and four minutes at a slower pace.
  • Repeat these two steps for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how long you want your HIIT session to be. If you’re just starting out, you should start with a shorter workout so that you don’t push yourself too hard.

Miracle HIIT Intervals

There’s an HIIT workout known as the “miracle interval”, a term coined by Olympic coach and author Gale Bernhardt.

This type of HIIT workout is called that because of it’s high-intensity and fat-burning benefits but also its longer recovery so that you don’t completely burn out. Here’s how to do it.

  • Start by warming up on your bike for 10 minutes. 
  • Cycle for 45 seconds all out at high speed, followed by 4:15 minutes of easy cycling. (Note: “all out” means you’re giving it your all and putting in the most effort you can.)
  • Cycle for 40 seconds all out at high speed, followed by 4:20 minutes of easy cycling. 
  • Then, do 35 seconds of all-out fast cycling followed by 4:25 minutes of easy cycling. As you can see, the amount of time you spend cycling at your maximum potential decreases with each step while the amount of time spent doing easy cycling increases. 
  • Complete 30 seconds of all-out fast cycling followed by 4:30 minutes of easy pedaling. 
  • Do 25 seconds of all-out fast cycling followed by 4:35 minutes of easy cycling. 
  • Do 20 seconds of all-out fast cycling followed by 4:40 of easy cycling. 
  • Finish off with 15 seconds of fast cycling and 4:45 minutes of easy pedaling. 
  • You can use another few minutes of cooling down if you feel it’s required. 

Tips For Doing HIIT On A Bike

Now that you have some idea of how to start doing HIIT workouts on  your stationary bike, you should ensure you follow these important tips to maximize your workouts.

  • Tailor the exercise intensity to your fitness. When we speak about going all-out when it comes to the speed and intensity of your HIIT workout, you should bear in mind that you have to start slow. The most important thing is to take your individual fitness level into account. Push yourself as much as you can handle without injuring yourself or overdoing it.
  • When you’re just starting out with HIIT bike workouts, you should aim for 30-second bursts of high intensity. But, make sure that you have low-intensity rests that make up double the time you spend doing the high-intensity workouts. Don’t skimp on those as they’re effective ways to help your body recover so you can give the next intense session your everything.
  • Go easy on the resistance. You want the resistance level to be high enough to give you a challenging workout but without being too demanding on your body. Here’s a tip to look out for when doing HIIT on your bike: if your resistance level is preventing you from being able to give the cycling your all-out speed, then that’s a sign it’s too high for you. It’s usually better to concentrate on changing your speed instead of your resistance.
  • Don’t do it too much. One of the benefits of HIIT, as mentioned earlier, is that it enables you to get fit and lose weight with shorter workouts. You really don’t have to do many HIIT cycling sessions to make the most of these benefits. HIIT can be quite taxing on your body so it’s best to stick to no more than three sessions per week. It’s also important to note that overdoing HIIT workouts can be unhealthy. A study found that while moderate amounts of HIIT boosted one’s fitness and performance during exercise, longer ones done almost daily reduced people’s fitness gains and caused their health to deteriorate, such as by causing their blood sugar to become less stable. Even more alarming, the study showed that the participants who did too much HIIT displayed markers of oxidative stress, which is cell damage that’s linked to chronic illness, premature aging, inflammation, as well as fatigue. 

What Should You Eat Before HIIT Cycling?

what to eaat before cycling

Since HIIT can be vigorous, you want to ensure you have enough fuel in the tank to enable you to get through it.

If you last ate a proper meal about two or three hours before your workout, it’s a good idea to top up with a small snack.

An apple with peanut butter or a banana are good suggestions to boost your energy and blood sugar. Aim to eat this snack 30 to 60 minutes before you get on the bike. 

You also want to ensure you stay hydrated because of how intense HIIT workouts can be, so be sure you have your water bottle handy during your workout.

Related Questions

What should you wear for HIIT cycling?

When engaging in HIIT on your bike, make sure you’re dressed in moisture-wicking and breathable clothes to keep you dry and cool.

How long should your HIIT cycling session be?

When you give cycling your all during the intense intervals of HIIT, you should aim for 30-second bursts. This gives you enough time to boost your speed but it prevents you from running out of energy. 


HIIT has many health and fitness benefits, so it’s worth including it in your cycling routine. It will also add some variety to your regular workouts, which is ideal to take you out of a fitness rut or weight-loss plateau. 

In this article, we’ve looked at what you stand to gain from HIIT, such as increased calorie burn and fitness, and how you can start doing it on your stationary bike.

The great thing about HIIT is that you can easily incorporate it into your cycling workouts and do short sessions to maximize its various benefits. 


Billy Hughes

Billy Hughes is a fitness trainer based out of New York. She has registered success in training clients at multiple fitness centers and thus aims to establish her module relevant to the post-pandemic era. Her space, Cerevellum.com, is an attempt towards encouraging and educating more people on the scope of indoor fitness. She believes the power of fitness can transform attitude, personality, and way of living. She also finds it rewarding to help people achieve their goals and make their lives better.