The Top 10 Bike Workouts You Need

Do you get bored with the same ol’ exercise program? Want to keep your workouts fresh and exciting?

Variety is key to staying motivated on the bike. And even though your equipment stays the same, there are plenty of ways to get in different bike workouts.

Whether you’re looking to challenge yourself or make your time on the bike more fun, mixing up your bike workouts will help you meet your fitness goals. For an added benefit, you’ll never get bored. With a new workout each time, you’ll look forward to hopping back on the bike!

Here are a few of our favorites to get you started.

Stationary Bike Workouts

1. Tabata Bike Workout

Tabata workouts are all the rave in the fitness world and for good reason. These quick workouts allow you to radically increase your fitness levels in just minutes a day.

Sound too good to be true? Here’s how they work.

Tabata workouts are a form of high-intensity training or HIIT. They use a 20-second on / 20-second off protocol. This means you do 20 seconds of hard work followed by 10 seconds of rest. The goal is to complete 8 rounds in this format.

Do the math and you’re likely shocked that you only have to work out for four minutes. Believe it or not, this type of workout is extremely effective in helping people lose fat, preserve muscle and improve aerobic performance.

In fact, research shows that the 4-minute Tabata workout has similar effects on fitness improvement as a 6-minute moderate-intensity workout.

To do Tabata bike workouts, start with 20 seconds of high-intensity pedaling. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this for 8 rounds.

You can stop at 4 minutes, or rest for a few minutes before completing a couple more sets of Tabata workouts. One set is a great way to fit an effective workout into your busy day and still see results.

2. 10-20-30 HIIT Workout

The 10-20-30 HIIT workout is a little longer than the Tabata method but still implies the interval training technique. This workout contains five blocks of intervals with two minutes of active recovery.

Each block contains one-minute intervals broken down into 30, 20 and 10 seconds of work at different intensities. You can keep the same level of resistance throughout the workout, making sure your pedal strokes are controlled. Control your intensity level by switching up the speed.

The method is to ride at a moderate pace for 30 seconds, increase the intensity for the next 20 seconds, and go all out for 10 seconds. Repeat these intervals 5 times, then rest for 2 minutes before starting another block of work.

3. Kick-Start Your Heart

Unlike the Tabata bike workouts, this method pushes you to cycle at moderately high intensity for longer lengths of time. The Kick-Start-Your-Heart workout pushes you to reach your max heart rate at each interval.

Reaching your max heart rate is a great way to burn off extra calories and fat. But how do you know what number to reach for?

To start off, it’s good to know your target heart rate. This is based on a number of factors, including your age, gender and resting heart rate.

Then, there are several ways to estimate your maximum heart rate. One way is to subtract your age from 220 for a general estimate. For more personalized answers, you may way to do a stress test.

Wear a heart rate monitor while you run laps around a track. After jogging two laps, increase your pace by just a few seconds per lap. Keep increasing your pace until you’re nearly exhausted.

Your heart will be at its maximum heart rate.

When you workout at this level, your cardiovascular system will work harder to carry deliver enough energy and oxygen to your muscles. This type of exercise pushes your muscles to switch from aerobic to anaerobic.

As a result, your body will reach its anaerobic threshold, meaning your muscles will produce more lactic acid that your body can actually remove. This is where the biggest benefits come in from reaching your maximum heart rate.

To do heart-pumping bike workouts, cycle for two minutes at a moderately high intensity. Follow this with three minutes of rest, and repeat the cycle for 8 reps.

At the end of each interval, you should get close to your maximum heart rate. It can take 60-90 seconds to elevate your heart rate to that level, which is why the work cycles are longer.

4. Ladder Workouts

Do you really want a challenge? If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t call it a workout unless they’re sore after, then the ladder workout is for you.

But really, a ladder workout should be part of any biker’s exercise lineup. Include this once every week or two in your bike workouts to really mix things up and challenge your body.

A ladder workout is a 36-minute session. In this duration, you’ll start by pedaling as fast and as hard as you can possibly maintain for 15 minutes. Yes, 15 minutes!

After that chunk of hard work, you get to rest for 3 minutes. Then, you’ll go at your full speed again for a 10-minute burst. Rest for 3 minutes again.

Finally, cap it off with a 5-minute sprint to the finish.

5. 20-Minute Interval Workout

As we’ve mentioned, interval bike workouts are incredible for getting the biggest fat-burn. When designing your workout schedule, it’s nice to have a handful of interval workouts to choose from. Here’s another 20-minute interval workout to keep your routine fresh.

Start with a 5-minute warmup. Your first interval is 4 rounds containing 30 seconds hard and 30 seconds moderate intensity. Go easy for 1 minute.

For the next 4 rounds, go 1 minute at a hard intensity and 30 seconds moderate. Rest for 1 minute.

Finish off with 3 rounds at 45 seconds of all-out work and 15 seconds easy. Recover at an easy pace for 2 minutes.

Body Workouts for Cyclists

Even though you love the bike, you should include plenty of workouts off the bike to best train the muscles you use frequently. Here are a few body workouts to do off the bike.

6. Core

Your core is one of the most important muscle groups you use in all your bike workouts. Be sure to incorporate 1 or 2 core workouts a week into your fitness plan.

What’s the best core exercise for a biking enthusiast? Good old-fashioned floor crunches.

To perform the basic crunch, lie on your back with your hands clasped behind your head, elbows facing outward. Curl your torso slowly toward your knees. Bring your shoulders up as you crunch, but leave your elbows out.

Hold the crunch for a few seconds and press your lower back into the mat. Then return to starting position. Aim to do about 200 to 300 crunches when you’re doing a core workout.

7. Hamstrings

Preparing, strengthening and stretching your legs makes a big difference in your bike workouts. Take care to train your legs off the bike so they perform better on the bike.

Basic leg curls are a great way to strengthen your hamstrings. To perform these, you’ll need an angled leg curl machine.

Lie face down on the machine and place your legs beneath the padded lever. While grabbing the side handles, curl your legs up trying to touch your heels to your butt. Hold for a moment, then lower back down. Repeat 3 sets of 20 reps.

8. Back

Strengthening your back muscles will improve your bike workouts and recovery. Don’t forget this large muscle group when planning your weekly workouts.

To strengthen your back muscles, add deadlifts to your fitness regime. You’ll need either a barbell or dumbbells to perform this exercise.

Start by bending at your hips and knees. Grab the bar or dumbbells with an overhand grip. Arch your lower back slightly but keep your arms straight.

Stand up slowly with the weights, not allowing your lower back to round. Hold the move for a moment, then lower the bar down slowly to the floor. Complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions.

9. Glutes

A lot of power in your bike workouts comes from your glutes. Strengthening these muscles can help you become a stronger cyclist.

It’s important to strengthen your glutes because these muscles help relieve pressure on your knees and back. If your glutes aren’t working hard enough, other muscles will have to pick up the slack. This may lead to injuries.

One of the best ways to make your glutes stronger is to incorporate reverse lunges into your regular bike workouts. To perform a reverse lunch, you’ll need a pair of dumbbells. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.

Step backway with your right leg and lower down into a lunge.

Make sure your back is straight and shoulders are level as you perform the move. Come back up and repeat on the other side. Aim for 3 sets of 20 reps on each leg.

10. Quads

Cycling is a power sport. Whether you are a competitive cyclist or simply want to improve your bike workouts, it’s important to develop strength in all of your major leg muscles, including the quads.

With stronger muscle fibers in the quads, your body won’t tire as easily and you’ll have enough energy to go up that next hill.

To strengthen your quads off the bike, try this agility ladder technique. This combination of cardio and strength training will require resistance bands.

Wrap the bands around your angles and shuffle laterally for 20 minutes.

Get the Most Out of Your Bike Workouts

The key to staying motivated on the bike every day is to come ready with a plan. Have a variety of bike workouts to choose from and you’ll never be bored.

Want more support to help you get the most out of your bike workouts? Check out our programs and tips for working out on the recumbent bi

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