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A Solo 30-Minute Workout on a Stationary Bike

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

Can’t get enough of group cycling classes? You’re in good company. The popularity of stationary bike workouts continues to rise, and it’s no wonder: A typical cycling workout has significant benefits for your mind and body, which accumulate with consistent indoor cycling practice.

When you can’t make it to a studio workout — or if you just don’t want to pay those boutique fitness prices — try this at-home stationary bike workout for beginners and experienced riders alike, created by cycling workout specialist Ruth Zukerman, the co-founder of both SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports. This 30-minute stationary bike workout combines heart rate–revving sprints and muscle-building climbs to deliver the impact of a studio session anytime, anywhere.

What to Know Before a Stationary Bike Workout

Before you even start pedaling, ensure your stationary bike is set up properly, advises David Robertson, a cycling instructor for Chicago Athletic Clubs and Fitness Formula Clubs in Chicago. “Proper setup is crucial for maximizing the benefits of the workout and preventing injury,” he explains. “The general guideline is that your seat should be at hip height, and handles should be at approximately the same height or slightly above the seat.”

Next, comprehend the difference between cadence and resistance. “Cadence is the speed at which you are riding, often known as RPM (or revolutions per minute),” says Robertson. “When you increase your cadence or speed, you generate more intensity as your legs pedal faster.” Resistance, on the other hand, pertains to the tension on the wheel of the bike — also known as the pushback you feel while pedaling. “When you are adjusting your resistance on the bike, you are escalating resistance and making it more challenging to pedal, akin to how you might feel on an incline or hill on an outdoor bike,” adds Robertson. And similar to cadence, boosting your resistance intensifies your stationary bike workout.

In addition to adjusting the resistance on the bike and increasing or decreasing your cadence, you can utilize your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to gauge your effort level. In general, your RPE describes how vigorously you feel like your body is working during exercise. An RPE of 1, for instance, would feel like an effortless stroll in the park, while an RPE of 10 would feel like you’re sprinting with all your strength and unable to utter a single word. So if you feel completely breathless during a portion of the workout with a recommended RPE of 3 or 4, don’t hesitate to reduce the speed or tension.

Lastly, ensure you’re comfortable with the different positions of your body when performing a stationary bike workout. In indoor cycling, “first position” refers to seated cycling, which you’ll employ for fast, flat roads (think: cadences of 100 RPM or more).

Runner-up posture” is analogous to standing, with your hips slightly hovering above the seat, states Robertson. You’ll assume the runner-up posture for minimal resistance and moderate jogs at 70 to 90 RPM, and it’s marginally more demanding for novices as it necessitates greater core stability. Lastly, third position will be utilized for strenuous climbs at slow tempos. “Third position is also when you’re off the saddle, but your hands reach farther up to the ends of the handlebars, you incline forward at the hips and elongate your spine,” elucidates Robertson. “This stance feels very athletic, with your hips directly above the saddle, and you may sense the bike seat lightly brushing your inner thighs.

To obtain the most out of your spin session and establish that in-studio ambiance, pair this workout on a stationary bike for beginners and pros with high-energy tunes — executing intervals to the refrain of your preferred songs — and you’ll forget that you’re riding by yourself, guaranteed.

30-Minute At-Home Stationary Bike Workout

How it operates: Preserve the subsequent 30-minute workout on a stationary bike on your mobile device, insert your favored exercise headphones, and produce your very own one-person spin class. Twice to three times per week, finalize this cycling workout in its entirety, and as you progress, you’ll observe that you’re incorporating more resistance to uphold the recommended RPE levels.

You will need: A stationary bike, such as Soulcycle’s at-home bike (if you do not possess one at home, you can always execute this routine at the gym), and a bike mat.

Design: Mehroz Kapadia.

Time (Minutes) What to Accomplish Speed (Revolutions Per Minute) Tension RPE
0-4 Warm up: Stay seated with hands in second position. Moderate (80) Light 3-4
4-8 Increase resistance; stay seated for 1 min, stand for 1 min, then repeat. Moderate (70-80) Moderate 5-6
8-11 Decrease resistance and sit down with hands in second position. Fast (85-100) Light 5
11-12 Stand up with hands in second position and jog. Fast (85-100) Light 5-6
12-14 Sit down with hands in second position and increase resistance every 30 seconds. Slow to moderate (50-70) Moderate to heavy 6-7 
14-17  Rise with hands in third position and increase resistance each minute.  Leisurely (40-50)  Very burdensome  7-9 
17-26  Repeat minutes 8-17.  Leisurely to speedy (40-100)  Light to very burdensome  5-9 
26-28  Lessen resistance; rise with hands in second position and jog.  Very rapid (100-125)  Light 
28-30  Cool down; sit down with hands in second position.  Moderate (80)  Light  3-4 

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