Cycling indoors helps you to build leg strength and cardiovascular health, and it’s great for all fitness levels.
Here are five of the best indoor cycling workouts to try when you need to inject something new into your routine.
We’ve got spin bike and standard exercise bike indoor cycling workouts for you to try.
Workout 1: Spin Bike Speed Intervals
If you want to become faster on your bike, you’ll want to do this indoor cycling workout. Make sure you set aside about 47 to 60 minutes to complete it.
Before you start, make sure you have set the bike to an easy gear. Ready? Let’s go!
Start by spinning at an easy pace for about 10 to 15 minutes.
For one minute, use a fast pedal interval.
Allow yourself to recover for two minutes.
Repeat the above steps three times.
Then, spin at an easy pace for five minutes.
Put in 95 percent effort for 30 seconds.
Spin at an easy pace for another 30 seconds.
Repeat the above 10 times.
Allow yourself to cool down for 10 minutes.
If you want even more of a challenge from this indoor cycling workout, you can make it more difficult by adding one on/off interval that lets you spin for 30 seconds at 95 percent effort and then for 30 seconds at an easy pace.
You can do this for a maximum of 20 intervals.
Workout 2: The Calorie-Burn Climb
This is a 40-minute workout that’s great for beginners and intermediates. It’s ideal for helping you to lose weight because it brings your heart rate into different zones. Here’s how to do it.
Start by cycling at an easy pace for five minutes.
For 10 minutes, alternate between 30 seconds of hard cycling and 30 seconds of riding at an easy pace. Note that your exertion level when you’re cycling harder should be 8 out of 10.
For five minutes, allow recovery by cycling at an exertion level of about 3 or 4 out of 10.
For 15 minutes, you want to alternate between a three-minute climb and two minutes of easy cycling. When you’re climbing, you want your resistance to be set to 6 or 7.
Then, for eight minutes, you want to alternate between 30 seconds of hard cycling and 30 seconds of easier cycling – when you’re cycling hard, you want to increase your resistance as well as speed. Aim for exertion levels of eight or nine out of 10.
Remember to cool down for five minutes with easy cycling.
Workout 3: Fartlek Bike Training
What’s Fartlek training, you ask?
It’s a type of workout that blends cardio with HIIT exercise. Since it’s unstructured, you can push yourself as hard as you want, then allow yourself time to recover so that you basically set the pace according to your comfort level.
This is a 30-minute workout that you should try on your bike when you want to add a bit more variety to your exercise routine.
For five minutes, you should warm up by cycling at an easy pace.
For between 15 and 20 minutes, you will alternate between moderate-to-intense cycling and easy cycling. The great thing about this workout is that you can determine how much effort you want to put in, so take your current fitness level into account.
Cool down with five minutes of easy cycling.
Workout 4: Tabata Bike Workout
Tabata is a type of vigorous HIIT workout that makes use of intervals to help you torch more calories. How this workout on your bike works is that you have 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of recovery.
Begin by cycling for five minutes to warm up, but instead of using an easy pace you want to cycle at a fast speed while using low resistance on the bike.
Cycle for 20 seconds on medium resistance.
Lower the resistance for 10 seconds.
Repeat the previous two steps eight times.
Allow yourself to recover for one minute. You want to cycle at low resistance.
Cycle for 20 seconds on medium resistance, then decrease the resistance for 10 seconds. Recover for one minute. Repeat this step three more times.
Cool down for five minutes. Cyle at a slow pace while gradually reducing the resistance.
Workout 5: Heart Rate Endurance Workout
By knowing your maximum heart rate, you can make the most of your bike workout to increase your endurance and fitness.
When you spend more time cycling in a higher heart rate zone, you improve your aerobic energy system. This is important because it boosts your endurance, so you can recover from those tough workouts much faster.
You will also need to know how to calculate your heart rate zones, however. To work out your maximum heart rate, simply subtract your age from 220.
When you have this maximum heart rate number you’ll be able to work out other heart rate zones, such as 60 to 70 percent of your heart rate, so that you can work out in different zones.
Here’s a workout that you can do on your indoor bike which uses heart rate zones.
Start by warming up by cycling at an easy pace for five minutes.
For between 0 and 5 minutes, use a heart rate zone of 50 to 60 percent. This basically means you’ll have to work out at 50-60 percent of your heart rate.
Then, for between 5 and 10 minutes, use a heart rate zone of 60 to 70 percent.
For 10 to 15 minutes, work out at 70 to 80 percent of your heart rate.
Push yourself to hit between 80 and 90 percent of your heart rate, and stay in this zone for about 15 minutes.
For the next 17 to 25 minutes, allow your heart rate to decrease so that you’re cycling at between 60 and 70 percent of it. Then, increase it to between 80 and 90 percent. You want to keep pushing until it goes over 90 percent. Then, quickly bring it back down to between 60 and 70 percent. You want to repeat this for about 10 minutes.
Finally, cool off by cycling at an easy pace for five minutes.
A Note On Cycling Difficulty Levels
When you hear “easy pedaling” or “moderate intensity” it might not always be easy to know exactly what that means and how it should feel.
So, here’s a crash course on the cycling terms to help you do them properly when you climb onto your bike.
Easy pedaling: This is similar to when you’re cycling on a flat road. You are basically cycling at a pace that you would find comfortable to maintain all day.
Moderate cycling: This is when the cycling starts to feel like you’re putting in a bit more effort, but not too much – you should still feel that you can maintain it. Your breathing will be a bit heavier but you should be able to talk, just not in complete sentences.
Hard cycling: This is when your breathing is heavy. You would only be able to get out a few words of conversation. When cycling hard, you should be at a medium to high resistance.
All-out cycling: This is when you’re at the hardest resistance that you can tolerate.
What do you achieve from the different heart rate zones?
When working out at between 60 and 70 percent of your heart rate, you can burn more fat. At 70 to 80 percent of your heart rate is when you build stamina – this is the aerobic zone.
And, working out at between 80 to 90 percent of your heart rate improves anaerobic capacity.
What is the 50 to 60 percent heart rate zone on my fitness tracker?
Some fitness devices make use of this heart rate zone which is meant to be used for warm-up sessions or easy beginner workouts.
Who said indoor cycling was boring? If you want to increase your variety and make it more fun, you’ll want to start trying some new bike workouts.
In this article, we’ve provided you with five workouts to get your heart pumping, help you burn more calories, and boost your strength.
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.