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Stationary Bike Routines

by
author image Meg Campbell
Based just outside Chicago, Meg Campbell has worked in the fitness industry since 1997. She’s been writing health-related articles since 2010, focusing primarily on diet and nutrition. Campbell divides her time between her hometown and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Stationary Bike Routines
A woman is exercising on a stationary bike in the gym. Photo Credit Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

Stationary bikes provide all level of exercisers, from knee rehabilitation patients to seasoned cyclists, with an effective and safe form of indoor training. Through added resistance and increased pace, a relatively easy workout can become a high calorie-burning exercise session. You can combine any of the five basic routines to create more personalized workouts.

Cadence Ride

A steady cadence ride keeps you at roughly the same pace and effort level for the duration of your workout, with a light, unvarying resistance load. The cadence for this routine is 80 to 110 RPM, or pedal revolutions per minute. To figure out your cadence, count the pedal strokes one leg makes for 15 seconds, and multiply the number by four. A steady cadence workout provides you with a solid cardiovascular foundation for more intense routines.

Intervals

Repeatedly increasing and decreasing your heart rate through periods of increased resistance and pacing helps you develop stamina and increases the capacity of your aerobic and anaerobic systems. Traditional interval workouts are an even mix of high-intensity efforts followed by active recovery, using light to very heavy resistance and cadence increases. Your cadence can range anywhere from 60 to 110 RPM, and you can vary the length and intensity and both the intervals and the recovery to increase your workout’s overall intensity.

Hill Climbs

A routine of increased resistance accompanied by decreased cadence simulates hill climbs. Climbing allows you to work out for longer periods of time at your anaerobic threshold, or the point at which your muscles begin to produce lactic acid. Let the resistance dictate your cadence, which should be 60 to 80 RPM. Some stationary bikes allow you to stand on the pedals with very heavy resistance. Whether you’re seated or standing, keep your pedal stroke smooth and fluid.

Sprints

A sprinting routine is a high-intensity workout appropriate for experienced exercisers. It's not an ideal component of everyone's fitness routine. To be able to perform at higher intensities, you must train at higher intensities. Although a fast cadence — from 80 to 110 RPM — defines sprint training, moderate to heavy loads of resistance are a crucial part of the workout. Riding once a month at this intensity trains your muscles to move faster, utilize energy with greater efficiency and recover more quickly.

Active Recovery

An active recovery routine on the bike takes the place of passive recovery, which is an activity such as sitting on the couch. Even though it’s active, you should emphasize recovery aspect of the routine. Keep your resistance light and your cadence between 80 and 110 RPM. Your overall effort should be low enough that you can easily hold a conversation throughout your workout. Active recovery encourages better circulation and promotes a lactic acid flush after strenuous workouts.

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