16 Stationary Bike Workout Plans To Achieve Your Fitness Goals

Working out on a stationary bike comes with many benefits.

However, if you’re simply pedaling the bike 30 to 40 minutes every day or every other day, it can get boring, which causes many people to quit using it.

Fortunately, by learning a stationary bike workout plan, your workouts will become more interesting, and you'll reap the benefits for your body.

Some benefits include:

  • ​Being easier on the joints because it is a low-impact exercise.
  • ​Strengthening your heart and lungs.
  • ​Burns calories to help you lose weight.
  • Strengthens the core muscles.
  • ​Strengthens the major leg muscles.
  • ​It’s convenient if you have an exercise bike at home.

​Types of Training Techniques

Although the focus of many training techniques is on weight training, many of them also include cardio exercises, like riding a stationary bike.

Some of these techniques include:

​These techniques include several bike workout plans for people at every fitness level. Whether you want to take it easy while using your exercise bike or want to go full out, here are some exercise plans to consider.

Perceived Exertion Scale

To better understand exercise bike workouts, you should know about the Perceived Exertion Scale (RPE).

This scale refers to the resistance setting on your stationary bike and how hard it’s perceived that you’re working out.

The RPE levels go from 1 to 10 and are equivalent to:

  • L​evel 1 – Being at rest.
  • L​evel 2 – It’s a comfortable pace that most people could do for a long time.
  • L​evel 3 – The pace is still comfortable, but you might start breathing harder.
  • L​evel 4 – People can comfortably chat, but they will start to sweat.
  • L​evel 5 -  You may be sweating more, but you’re still comfortable and can carry on conversations.
  • L​evel 6 – While talking, people may start becoming breathless.
  • L​evel 7 – Many people are starting to sweat heavily and talking is becoming difficult.
  • L​evel 8 – Most people give up talking at this point and can only sustain this level for a short time.
  • L​evel 9 – You’re probably ready to quit at this point.
  • L​evel 10 – You’re going full out, but you may only be able to sustain this level for a few seconds.

When you read the exercise bike workout plans below, you may see an RPE setting when it’s time to change the resistance levels, and now, you’ll understand what it means.

Circuit Training

Circuit training involves doing different types of exercises one after another.

The exercises usually involve all major muscle groups to help people build and tone them. It also incorporates cardio exercises, like cycling, to strengthen the cardiovascular system.

Circuit Training Program 1: Exercise Bike Workout for Beginners:

  • ​5-minute warm-up at a low resistance level. RPE 4
    -minute warm-up at a low resistance level. RPE 4
  • ​3 minutes - increase the resistance level between one to four intervals, so you’re at RPE 5. This resistance level is your baseline.
  • ​2 minutes - increase the resistance level again, so you're at about RPE 5 or 6.
  • ​3 minutes - decrease resistance or your pace back to your baseline, RPE 5.
  • ​2 minutes - increase your pace again, so you're working slightly harder than baseline. RPE 5 or 6.
  • ​5 minutes - decrease the pace to a comfortable level to cool down. Approximately RPE 4.

​​​If you’re new to exercising on a stationary bike, then you may not be able to maintain the pace for very long. However, you will build up your stamina so you can easily complete this 20-minute workout routine.

Circuit Training Program 2: Moderately Intense Routine:

  • ​Start by warming up for five minutes at a low resistance level.
  • ​Increase the resistance one to three levels and cycle for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your level of fitness.
  • ​Reduce the resistance and cool down for five minutes.

​While you can keep this routine short for circuit training, you can gradually increase your time to do this routine by itself. As you continue to do it, your stamina will increase until you can exercise for up to 60 minutes.

Interval Training

If you’re in good shape, then an interval training routine can help you burn more calories because it allows your metabolism to work more efficiently for hours after working out.

Interval training involves alternating between resistance levels for brief intervals to get more benefits out of an exercise routine.

Interval Training Program 1:

  • ​5 minutes – warm-up at low resistance.
  • ​30 seconds – pedal hard at a higher resistance level, then reduce resistance to set a moderate pace for 30 seconds. Repeat this step four times.
  • ​1 minute – reduce resistance and set an easy pace.
  • 1 ​minute – increase resistance and pedal hard, then reduce resistance at a moderate pace for 30 seconds. Repeat four times.
  • ​1 minute – reduce resistance and set an easy pace.
  • ​45 seconds – increase resistance and go all out, then reduce resistance to set an easy pace for 15 seconds. Repeat three times.
  • ​2 minutes – maintain an easy pace.
  • ​5 minutes – reduce resistance to cool down.

​Once you have this program memorized, challenge yourself by repeating the entire routine once more.

Interval Training Program 2:

Although this routine is low intensity, it lasts a long time to help you build or maintain your endurance. This 60-minute stationary bike workout plan changes intensity levels every five minutes, so you shouldn’t be bored.

  • ​5 minutes - pedal using light resistance. RPE 5.
     minutes - pedal using light resistance. RPE 5.
  • ​5 minutes – switch to a moderate resistance level and pick up the pace. RPE 7.
  • ​5 minutes – change to heavy resistance and slow your pace. RPE 8.
  • ​5 minutes – maintain heavy resistance and slow down again. RPE 7.
  • ​5 minutes – shift to light resistance and pedal faster. RPE 5.
  • ​5 minutes – move to moderate resistance and quicken the pace. RPE 6
  • ​5 minutes – go back to heavy resistance and slow down slightly. RPE 7.
  • ​5 minutes – switch back to a moderate resistance level and go faster. RPE 6.
  • ​5 minutes – move back to heavy resistance and slow your pace. RPE 7.
  • ​5 minutes – at a moderate level, pick up your speed again. RPE 6.
  • ​5 minutes – shift back to a heavy resistance level and slow down. RPE 8.
  • ​5 minutes – choose a light resistance level and pedal faster. RPE 5.

​​​​Interval Training Program 3:

This interval exercise bike routine lasts for 30 minutes, but it will keep you busy so you shouldn’t get bored. It switches the pace of your pedaling and the resistance level every 30 seconds to one minute, which helps burn fat around the middle.

  • 5 minutes – warm-up at low resistance. RPE 3.
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    30 seconds – sprint at high resistance. RPE 7 to 8.5.
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    30 seconds – switch to a moderate resistance level and slow the pace. RPE 3 to 5.
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    30 seconds – sprint at high resistance. RPE 7 to 8.5.
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    1 minute – recover at a moderate resistance level and slow down. RPE 3 to 5.
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    45 seconds – move to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – return to a moderate resistance level and slow down. RPE 3 to 5.
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    45 seconds – go back to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – return to a moderate resistance level and slow down. RPE 3 to 4.
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    1 minute – change to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – return to a moderate resistance level and slow down. RPE 3 to 4.
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    1 minute – switch to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – go back to moderate resistance and slow the pace. RPE 3 to 4.
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    30 seconds – go back to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5.
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    1 minute – go back to moderate resistance and slow the pace. RPE 3 to 5.
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    30 seconds – go back to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5.
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    1 minute – go back to moderate resistance and slow the pace. RPE 3 to 5.
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    45 seconds – go back to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – go back to moderate resistance and slow the pace. RPE 3 to 5.
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    45 seconds – go back to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – go back to moderate resistance and slow the pace. RPE 3 to 4.
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    1 minute – change to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – return to a moderate resistance level and slow down. RPE 3 to 4.
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    1 minute – switch to high resistance and sprint. RPE 7 to 8.5
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    1 minute – return to a moderate resistance level and slow down. RPE 3 to 4.
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    4 minutes – switch to a low resistance level to cool down. RPE 3.

​HIIT

HIIT is the acronym for High-Intensity Interval Training, which is interval training on steroids. It involves doing short bursts of high-intensity exercises with short rest periods in between each exercise.

The goal is to create an oxygen deficit during the workout so that afterward, your body is stressed, which causes it to consume more energy. This effect is called EPOC, which stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Instead of cycling for 30 minutes to an hour, many HIIT routines only take five to 10 minutes due to their high-intensity levels.

HIIT Program 1: Beginners Routine

  • ​3 to 5-minute warm-up with bike set at a moderate resistance level.
  • ​30 seconds – set the bike to high resistance and pedal hard, then shift down to low resistance for 1 minute. Repeat four times.
  • ​40 seconds – shift back to high resistance and go hard, then change to low resistance for 1 minute. Repeat four times.
  • ​30 seconds – set bike back to high resistance and pedal hard, then shift down to low resistance for 1 minute. Repeat four times.

​If you’re not in great shape, then HIIT routines may not be for you because of their intensity levels. Instead, work your way up to them so you won’t overdo it and injure yourself.

HIIT Program 2:

  • ​2 to 5-minute warm-up – start at a very low resistance level and warm-up to a beginning resistance level.
  • ​45 to 60 seconds – set to high resistance level and pedal as fast as you can.
  • ​45 to 60 seconds – reduce resistance to a low level and slow down to catch your breath and recover.
  • ​Repeat the last two steps 20 times.

​HIIT Program 3:

  • ​10-minute warm-up at a low resistance level.
  • ​30 seconds – shift to high resistance level and pedal as hard as you can.
  • ​60 seconds – change resistance to a moderate level and slow your pace.
  • ​Repeat the last two steps four times.
  • ​4 minutes – switch to low resistance and pedal slowly to recover.
  • ​Repeat all but the warm-up two more times.
  • ​5 minutes – on low resistance, pedal easy to cool down.

​​HIIT Program 4:

  • ​5 minutes – warm-up by setting bike to a low resistance level and set an easy pace.
  • ​15 seconds – increase to high resistance level and pedal as fast as you can. Try to reach 75 to 90 RPM on the odometer. Then, at the same resistance level, slow your pace to 55 to 65 RPM for 15 seconds. Repeat once.
  • ​30 seconds – speed back up to 75 to 90 RPM. Then, for another 30 seconds, slow down to 55 to 65 RPM. Repeat once.
  • ​45 seconds – go all out again to reach 75 to 90 RPM. Then, slow down to 55 to 65 RPM for 45 seconds.
  • ​60 seconds – push yourself to reach 75 to 90 RPM. Slow down to 55 to 65 RPM for another 60 seconds. Repeat this step three more times.
  • ​45 seconds – speed up to 75 to 90 RPM. Then, slow down to 55 to 65 RPM for 45 seconds.
  • ​30 seconds – pick up the pace again to 75 to 90 RPM. Then, for another 30 seconds, slow down to 55 to 65 RPM. Repeat once.
  • ​15 seconds –pedal as fast as you can to reach 75 to 90 RPM. Then, slow the to 55 to 65 RPM for 15 seconds. Repeat once.
    5 seconds –pedal as fast as you can to reach 75 to 90 RPM. Then, slow the to 55 to 65 RPM for 15 seconds. Repeat once.
  • ​1 minutes – set back to a low resistance level and pedal at an easy pace to cool down.

​​HIIT Program 5:

This HIIT stationary bike workout plan starts at a medium to hard resistance level, RPE 6 to 9, and stays at that level throughout the routine. The goal is to pedal to reach 90 to 100 RPM throughout the program, but with surges that reach 110 RPM.

  • ​Once you’ve reached 90 to 100 RPM, surge for 40 seconds to 110 RPM.
  • ​20 seconds – recover by slowing down to 90 to 100 RPM again.
  • ​Repeat the surge and recovery for a total of eight times.
  • ​3 to 5 minutes – slow down to recover.
  • ​Repeat the set three to four more times. Take three to five minutes to cover between each set.

Along with building endurance, the HIIT programs will also burn fat during the exercise and for hours afterward. 

Tabata

Tabata training is a form of HIIT that involves doing four minutes of intense exercises, such as cycling, at levels of high resistance.

Usually, there is a circuit of exercises in a Tabata routine, but here are some exercise bike workouts you can incorporate into your exercise regimen.

Tabata Program 1:

  • ​20 seconds – at a perceived resistance level of 6 to 7, go as fast and as hard as you can.
  • ​10 seconds – completely stop pedaling.
  • ​Repeat these steps for a total of six times, if you can.
  • ​2 minutes – do easy pedaling to recover.
  • ​Repeat the entire workout.

​Some Tabata drills may run slightly longer than four minutes, like this one that is around five minutes. To time the drill without a clock, put on a good workout song that runs four to five minutes long depending on the drill you’re doing.

Tabata Program 2:

  • ​20 seconds – seat the resistance at RPE 7 to 9 and then go all out.
  • ​10 seconds – completely stop pedaling.
  • ​Repeat these steps until the chosen song ends.

​Tabata Program 3:

  • ​20 seconds – give it your all and try to reach 95 to 110 RPM on the odometer.
  • ​10 seconds – slow down to recover.
  • ​Repeat this interval about eight times or for four minutes.
  • ​1 minute – after completing the first round, do some easy pedaling for recovery.
  • ​Repeat for one more round. You should eventually work up to four rounds of this drill.

​With all the Tabata drills, you should take about 3 minutes to warm-up before beginning the workout.

Pyramids

While pyramid training usually refers to strength training, other exercises, like cycling, use it as well.

With pyramids, you repeat a drill for a certain number of times for each rep. Eventually, you work your way down to the final rep, which is done one time.

The drills begin with short bursts of exercise at high intensity and then gradually build to the longest section at the mid-point of the workout, which would be considered the peak of the pyramid. Then, the intervals shorten until the routine is complete.

Pyramid Program 1:

  • 15 seconds – seated sprint at RPE 6 to 8 as you try to reach up to 110 RPM. 
  • 15 seconds – switch resistance to RPE 4 to 6 at a speed of about 85 RPM.
  • 30 seconds – move up the resistance and do an all-out sprint.
  • 15 seconds – reduce resistance again and slow down.
  • 45 seconds – reset the resistance to RPE 6 to 8 and sprint hard.
  • 15 seconds – reduce the resistance and slow your pace.
  • 60 seconds – increase the resistance and do a seated sprint.
  • 15 seconds – reset to the lower resistance level and pedal slower.
  • 45 seconds – switch to RPE 6 to 8 again and sprint all-out.
  • 15 seconds – slow down after resetting to a lower resistance level.
  • 30 seconds. – move the resistance back up and sprint.
  • 15 seconds – move the resistance back down and pedal slower.
  • 15 seconds – at RPE 6 to 8, sprint as hard as you can while sitting down.
  • 15 seconds – move back to RPE 4 to 6 to recover.
  • Repeat the entire sequence while standing or by varying the resistance levels and RPMs.

​Pyramid Program 2:

With this drill, the resistance should be high when sprinting and then reduce it for the recovery period.

Using the last drill as an example, the high-intensity level could be RPE 6 to 8, while the recovery could be RPE 4 to 6.

  • ​10 seconds sprint and then 50 seconds recovery.
  • ​20 seconds sprint, recover for 40 seconds.
  • ​30 seconds sprint, recover for 30 seconds.
  • ​40 seconds sprint, 20 seconds recovery.
  • ​50 seconds sprint, 10 seconds recovery.
  • ​60 seconds in recovery.
  • ​50 seconds sprint, 10 seconds recovery.
  • ​40 seconds sprint, 20 seconds recovery.
  • ​30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds recovery.
  • ​20 seconds sprint, recover for 40 seconds.
  • ​10 seconds sprint, recover for 50 seconds.

​This drill only needs to be done one time, but you can repeat it if have the stamina to do so.

Pyramid Program 3:

As with the previous program, the resistance should be high when sprinting and then switched to a lower level during recovery.

The goal is to maintain a speed of 90 to 110 RPM throughout the drill and only switch the resistance levels.

  • ​15 seconds sprint, 45 seconds recovery.
  • ​30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds recovery.
  • ​45-second sprint, 15 seconds recovery.
  • ​60 seconds sprint, 60 seconds recovery.
  • ​45 seconds sprint, 15 seconds recovery.
  • ​30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds recovery.
  • ​15 seconds sprint, 45 seconds recovery.
  • ​30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds recovery.
  • ​45 seconds sprint, 15 seconds recovery.

​If you want to do more than one set, take five minutes to recover before you repeat the drill.

Even though you may be in great shape, you should consult with your physician before trying any high-intensity exercises.

Also, slowly build your stamina so you can eventually complete these programs as they are written.

If you find riding your exercise bike boring, try one of these workout programs on your bike, and you shouldn't be bored again. An intense stationary bike workout plan can help you achieve any fitness goal that you’ve set for yourself.

This post was last updated on November 14th, 2017 at 03:28 pm

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