Top Stationary Bike Workouts That Are Fun For Any Fitness Level

Last Updated on March 29, 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol

Recently purchased a stationary bike and want to know the best stationary bike workouts?

It’s something we all want to know, no one wants to waste time doing workouts that aren’t efficient or benefiting us.

I’ve been scrutinizing dozens of websites and forums all to find the best of the best so you can really get the most out of your stationary bike cardio workouts.

Now with so many different routines out there all telling you to focus on different things, it’s hard to find the one that suits you best or will help you achieve the goal you’ve set for yourself.

But hold on,

I’ve looked at routines that accommodate different types of people and incorporate many factors such as the adjustments on your bike, efficient intervals, and appropriate warm-ups and cooldowns.

Here’s something you need to know, keeping your mind entertained during your workouts is essential, listening to the right playlist, podcast, or even watching TV will help you considerably in achieving your workout goals. 

Now let’s jump in so I can tell you all about the best stationary bike workouts.

Firstly, What Are The Different Types of Stationary bike?

Upright

Upright bikes are the most commonly used exercise bikes and have the traditional frame shape of a bicycle. This means you’ll be upright while pedaling which works the same muscles as if you were riding a real bike.

This is great for those who want to keep fit or lose weight as you’ll be able to do both high and low-intensity workouts due to the versatility of upright bikes. Upright bikes usually come with more accessories too such as resistance bands or virtual programs built into the LCD.

Pros

  • Provide a great cardio workout 
  • Adaptable and easy to use
  • They’re cheap, some as low as $100

Cons

  • Less stable for older and overweight users

 

Recumbent

Recumbent bikes have reclined seats so you can still lose weight with less effort and in a comfortable position. The seats on recumbent bikes are adjustable and usually much comfier than those on upright bikes. The reclined position makes it easier to do other things while cycling. For example, write emails or read a magazine 

Recumbent stationary bikes are usually targeted at seniors and those who are overweight as they provide a sturdy frame that is easy to get on and off of. They also cater to less intense workouts which is ideal for those with less mobility.

Pros

  • Comfortable and secure
  • Less soreness, due to reduced muscle strain
  • Easier to watch TV, read, or write

Cons

  • Can be more expensive

 

Dual-Action

A dual-action bike has handlebars that can be moved back and forth which means you can get a full-body workout while pedaling. With some, this can be adjusted so the handlebars or pedals stay still allowing you to focus on upper or lower body workouts if not both.

Dual-action stationary bikes focus on low impact workouts, so you’ll slowly burn fat over time. This makes them a good choice for those of you with injuries or looking to lose excess weight. They aren’t efficient at building muscle.

Pros

  • Exercise upper and lower body muscles
  • Good for weight loss
  • Adjustable and versatile cardio workouts

Cons

  • Can cause spinal stress

 

What Are The Benefits of Stationary Bike Workouts? 

Improves Cardio – Cycling is a great way of improving your cardiovascular health. It strengthens your heart, muscles, and lungs which improves blood flow and oxygen through your body. 

This means more energy and a better mood which in turn reduces stress levels. Lower stress can lead to better sleep and brain functioning.

Some other benefits include a lower blood sugar level, lower blood pressure, and even a stronger immune system. 

So for 30 minutes of cycling a day, it seems worth it just for these alone

But wait, there’s more

Weight Loss – This is where finding the best stationary workouts really helps, depending on the intensity of your workout program you can burn over 500 calories an hour using a stationary exercise bike. 

So finding an effective diet and combining it with a couple of hours of cycling will see          you dropping sizes by the dozen if that’s what you’re aiming for.

The best thing is that by using a stationary bike you can occupy your exercise time with      TV and other things while burning these 500 calories which sets stationary bike workouts above most of the competition.

Strengthens lower body muscles – This too varies on what intensity you are cycling at but using a stationary exercise bike will gradually build leaner muscles in your lower body.

This pedaling will strengthen calves, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Better yet, it can also improve your muscles in your back, core, and glutes.

And if you’re using an upright or dual-action you also have the potential to work upper body muscles like your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. 

Different Workouts

Best Stationary Workout For Beginners 

An exercise bike is one of the best options for interval training, allowing you to switch between intensities. Switching intensities allows you to challenge different parts of your body and doubles as a great way for beginners to get started as it welcomes breaks while still burning calories.

First, you should warm up a little before getting on your exercise bike, a walk around the block should do the trick, or even just a few stretches. 

Next, you should cycle at a low intensity for around 5 minutes, after this, you should cycle at full effort for 90 seconds and follow this up with a minute of you working at half your full effort to give yourself a break.

Then you’ll want to do this repeatedly but with a minute of full effort and 30 seconds of half effort as opposed to the 90 seconds full and 60 seconds half, you just did.

After this, you should cycle for around five minutes at 60% effort and if you think you’re feeling up to it the whole process can be repeated leaving out the warm-up. 

That’s not all though,

Make sure you warm down when finished some stretches can go a long way and prevent any unwanted soreness. 

Pros

  • Will ease a beginner in
  • You’ll feel a difference without causing harm
  • Easy and can be done over 15 minutes

Cons

  • Not tailored to a specific goal

 

Best stationary bike workouts for weight loss (or to lose weight)

When it comes to weight loss using stationary bikes resistance is what you need to be looking at. A high resistance will help you shed those pounds quicker but don’t go straight for a high-intensity workout as if you feel pain while cycling you’re doing it wrong.

While some exercise bikes come with preset workouts that will help you lose weight I’ve got a few ideas for you that will be sure to help you make a difference.

One method is to increase your resistance every 5 minutes for around an hour, this simulates cycling up a hill and makes pedaling get progressively more difficult.

Pros

  • You’ll feel the effects without soreness

Cons

  • Must be done for around an hour for any effect

Another way is to increase and decrease speed across two-minute intervals. Start slow and after two minutes pedal as fast as you can. Keep switching between speeds at two-minute intervals for around 30 minutes. Just be sure to warm up before and cool down after for five minutes.

Pros

  • Higher intensity than others

Cons

  • Can be difficult to change in such short intervals

If you’re looking for something a little more simple, however, you can go at a steady pace for an hour. Work at 50-60% effort for the full hour while watching a show or movie and you’ll start to see some weight loss over time.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to do other things while cycling

Cons

  • Monotonous and long

 

Spin stationary bike workout that’s brilliant for cardio

Now this one is a little more specialist so I’d suggest mastering the other techniques before you can try this and feel the effects of it. 

Start with a four-minute warm-up of easy pedaling, then you’re going to spend 3 minutes pedaling at this pace but alternating every 30 seconds between standing and sitting while you pedal.

After this step, you should alternate again every 30 seconds but instead of standing and sitting, you will pedal with full effort and low effort using a steady resistance you are comfortable with.

This is where the main workout begins, spend 3 minutes pedaling at a hard intensity that you will be able to maintain then pedal for another 3 minutes with low intensity. 

Once again you should pedal for 3 minutes at a high-intensity and repeat this process around 3-4 times. Then finally cool down with a four-minute low resistance pedal.

Pros

  • Variety in steps reduces boredom
  • High-intensity and improves cardio
  • Can be done in 30 minutes

Cons

  • Complex and not beginner-friendly

 

Best stationary workout to improve endurance

This workout will also require you to be more familiar with your exercise bike so don’t go rushing into this too soon. Endurance takes practice but if you are ready I’ve got a workout that’s going to do your program wonders.

As you probably already know by now begin with a warm-up, this should just be a basic 5-minute steady pace warm-up.

Then spend one minute going at around 60% max effort at a moderate resistance level, slow yourself down for 30 seconds to recover, and then go straight into a 90-second push with a slightly higher resistance than before.

Recover for 30 seconds again and follow it up with a 120-second push at a slightly higher resistance. After this recover for five minutes at a steady resistance level. This whole process can then be repeated around 3 times but if you master this and want to do more that’s also ok.

End with a five-minute cooldown and you’ll have successfully done an efficient endurance workout. This workout is great for pushing yourself at a steady pace and constantly upping the ante. You won’t be putting the pedal to the metal but you’ll feel a slow burn as you go which will build stamina.

Pros

  • Builds stamina
  • Easy to follow
  • Eases you in while still pushing yourself

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginners

Summary

So now you know some of the best stationary bike workouts for weight loss, cardio, endurance, and if you’re just starting out.

However, workouts shouldn’t be followed to the letter, there’s room for adjustment and it all depends on what you’re comfortable with and more importantly what your body can take.

There’s a difference between feeling the burn and suffering pain from doing your workouts so always be careful and take breaks if needed.

Knowing what you want from your workout is key so think about your goal be it weight loss or cardio and then try the workouts I’ve suggested. 

After trying them myself I found they all gave me a slightly different experience and result so experiment with them and see what works for you.

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