Stationary Bike Workouts

Stationary Bike Workouts

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It seems like many people don’t put much emphasis on an exercise bike in the gym, neglecting it in a large part compared to the treadmill section which always seems busier.  As it turns out, there is a slew of unique benefits to be had from working out on an exercise bike, especially if you know what you’re doing and how to make the most of it.  

Muscles exercised on a stationary bike

A stationary bike works a lot of important muscles in the body.  These muscles include:

  1. Your buttocks or glutes
  2. Your hip flexors
  3. Your hamstring
  4. Your quadriceps
  5. Your tibialis anterior and
  6. Your rectus abdominis (abs)

How does a stationary bike exercise work?

Contrary to a regular pedal bike made for the outdoors, an exercise bike’s pedal resistance is customizable in order to provide a more impactful workout. 

Rather than be at the mercy of your geographical landscape, which may be very flat or very hilly and there being nothing you can do about it, an exercise bike lets you choose the level of resistance to feel on the pedals.  Turning the resistance up will put a greater effort on your muscles with the goal of strengthening them.  Turning the resistance down will allow you to focus more heavily on cardiovascular endurance rather than strength.  This ability to fine-tune your exercise plan depending on your end goals provides a more complete workout experience, enabling you to better achieve your desired results.

Different type of workouts

There are various types of workouts that can be done on a stationary bike.  Some workouts are centered on burning calories and fat, some are more focused on building and toning your muscles, and others may primarily center on increasing your cardiovascular endurance.  The good news is regardless of the primary focus of the workout, exercising on a bike will still benefit all these areas, which is one of the reasons why bikes are such a great workout tool. 

The other good aspect of stationary bikes is that you can adjust any workout to match your fitness level.  Beginners can cruise along at a constant speed and gradually choose when to increase the resistance or intensity of the workout.  Many bikes have preset programs in their onboard computer that can also help a user target their end goal.  Advanced users can also use these features or choose to custom tune their own workout in the manual modes.  

Tips before working out

  1. The general guidance that a person should visit their physician before embarking on any exercise program exists for a reason.  Especially if you have any doubts about whether it’s a good idea for you to adopt a new exercise program, we encourage you to see your doctor.
  2. Always remember that exercise is critical, but that it goes hand-in-hand with diet.  Regardless of what your end goals may be, if you pick up a new exercise program but your diet isn’t healthy, or if you start consuming more calories in tandem with a new exercise plan, you may be erasing all the benefits you just gained.  Exercise is crucial to a healthy lifestyle, but don’t neglect the fact that a well balanced diet is also recommended.
  3. Don’t rush headlong any new program thinking you’ll immediately be an expert.  Even Lance Armstrong was a beginner once.  The biggest reason I have seen people start exercise programs only to quit soon after, dissatisfied with their results is because they didn’t approach it with the right mindset.  Progress is built slowly over time.  Focus on small wins and incremental improvement.  Beyond the physical, the mental commitment is the biggest difference-maker in achieving the goals you set for yourself.

Beginner workout session

Below is a table that I have to put together that includes a workout session that is designed to get the best out of a stationary exercise bike if you are a beginner. I know from experience that as a beginner you might find it daunting to embark on a workout session, especially if you are not sure exactly what you’re supposed to do. This session lasts for about 24 minutes, and if done two or three times a week, you will start to see benefits to your mood over your accomplishments and start to notice an improvement in your physical well-being.

Resistance Levels Time Lapse Effort required Instructions
Warm up off bike 5 minutes light Warm up
Level 1 5 minutes 35 percent  Cycle comfortably
Level 3 2 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 4 2 minutes 60 percent Fast Sprint
Level 3 5 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 5 3 minutes 75 percent Fast Sprint
Level 3 2 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 1 5 minute 35 percent Slow cycling

Experienced workout session

If you already exercise regularly, then as you are already likely aware, this means you need to start switching-up your workouts to become more challenging in order to get to the next level of fitness.  We all want to avoid a ‘fitness plateau’ as it is.  Below is a table detailing a workout program that last around 43 minutes in length:

Resistance Levels Time Lapse Effort required Instructions
Warm up off bike 5 minutes light Warm up
Level 3 5 minutes 35 percent  Cycle comfortably
Level 5 2 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 6 2 minutes 60 percent Fast Sprint
Level 5 5 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 7 3 minutes 75 percent Fast Sprint
Level 5 4 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 6 2 minutes 60 percent Fast Sprint
Level 5 5 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 7 3 minutes 75 percent Fast Sprint
Level 5 2 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 3 5 minutes 35 percent Slow cycling

Advanced workout session

If you are at an advanced exercise bike level, then let me be the first to say that the Exercise Bike Judge salutes you!  Obviously you know that your workout has to be even more rigorous.  At this point you’re not only worried about leveling-up your health, but you’re also focusing on just maintaining where you are.  The below regimen features a workout session lasting for 55 minutes recommended for more advanced people.

Resistance Levels Time Lapse Effort required Instructions
Warm up off bike 5 minutes light Warm up
Level 5 5 minutes 35 percent  Cycle comfortably
Level 7 2 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 8 2 minutes 60 percent Fast Sprint
Level 7 5 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 9 3 minutes 75 percent Fast Sprint
Level 7 4 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 8 2 minutes 60 percent Fast Sprint
Level 7 5 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 9 3 minutes 75 percent Fast Sprint
Level 7 4 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprint
Level 8 2 minutes 60 percent Fast Sprinting
Level 7 5 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprinting
Level 9 3 minutes 75 percent Fast Sprinting
Level 7 2 minutes 50 percent Moderate Sprinting
Level 5 5 minutes 35 percent Slow

Conclusion

Remember that these workout sessions are not do-it-once-and-you’re-done.  These are intended as part of an exercise program to fit into ones lifestyle and to help one make the most of an exercise machine.  Always remember in completing these workouts to do the right thing and acknowledge the fitness levels that you are operating at.  In other words, you must listen to your body.

As a result it is important that you set the resistance level on the machine to a level that your body is able to manage. Doing this will ensure that you are comfortable in completing the workout.  Thus you’ll be able to do the workout continuously without stopping, allowing yourself to get the maximum out of the workout session.

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