How Do I Make My Own Stationary Bike Workout?

stationary bike workout

There’s something about a good spin class that really gets people going. Words I’ve heard used to describe one include “exhilarating,” “sweaty,” and “brutal.” When you consider the many benefits of a stationary bike workout (super low impact, intense cardio interval training, excellent fat burning, lean muscle-building, and mental toughness development), it’s no wonder that people love the high energy of a spin class packed with people.

For a lot of us, though, it’s easy to feel a little lost without an instructor guiding our workout. After all, having a dedicated and energetic person encouraging and challenging you almost invariably makes for a better, more intense workout. But when left to our own devices (maybe we missed class, or can’t get to the gym when one is scheduled), do we have any hope of having a good cycle session that isn’t boring or too easy?

You might also like: Group Fitness Classes Actually Work

I think with a little preparation, along with the willingness to really push yourself, the answer is a definitive ‘Yes!’. Keep reading for some helpful tips you can use the next time you have to spin solo.

Top 4 Tips For Designing An Effective Stationary Bike Workout

bike workout1) Get Comfortable With Your Gym’s Spin Equipment.
The more confident you are in using a stationary bike, the more likely you’ll be to use one on your own. If you’re still new to spinning, be sure to ask an instructor or even a fellow gym member how to select a desired program, intensity level, and proper seat height. Don’t be shy! You’ll be amazed by how much people love to help! This way, you’ll be able to focus on pushing yourself during your workout rather than worrying about what you’re doing with the bike.

2) Mix Up Your Intensity Level And Body Position.
While you should avoid overwhelming yourself by adding in too many differing elements, remember that the best spin session isn’t just a simple (and boring) 30-minute cycle. Write down a sequence of your favorite moves from spin class and try adding them in as the resistance on your bike changes (either with a preselected program or with your own manual input that you can change every couple minutes).

Note: For low resistance levels, work in a few rounds of stand-up sprints (butt off of saddle) or hurdles (butt on and off saddle continuously). When your stationary bike is on high resistance, grind down with some seated or stand-up pushes.

3) Do A Little Inspirational Googling
Still not jazzed up by the workout you’ve made up for yourself? Do a little research before you head to the gym next time to find some awesome ideas for specific spin workouts you can try on your own.

4) Try Some Tabata Sprints
If you’re pinched for time and looking for something simple but effective, try this quick stationary bike workout that you can use with just one moderate-intensity bike setting. After a warm-up, pedal as hard and as fast as you can for 20 seconds, followed by slow recovery pedaling for 10 seconds. Repeat this cycle eight times for a total of 4 minutes of leg- and lung-burning goodness. Feel free to add in a few out of saddle sprints or hurdles along the way, too.

Have some favorite spin moves of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

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Sara M. is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and freelance writer living and working near Boston, MA. As a former CrossFit gym owner and current fitness lover, Sara has a lot of personal and professional experience inside and outside the gym. She loves to write about various topics related to health, wellness, nutrition, human behavior, and self-mastery.