3 Exercise Bike Workouts for
Improved Fitness and Weight Loss

Exercise bike workouts are making a comeback. For a while, they took a back seat to fancy elliptical trainers, state-of-the-art treadmills, or complicated machines that occupied a lot of space and required a degree in engineering to operate.

At some point people started asking, are expensive, complex equipment really necessary? And with tight budgets, fancy machines are often becoming un-affordable.

What everyone is finding is that the exercise bike can be perfect for your fitness cardio needs. They are a low impact exercise that will save your knees, and they are super convenient and easy to use.  

Exercise Bike Workouts

exercise bike workouts

Steady-State Workout

As the name implies, you will pedal at a fairly consistent/constant speed throughout the session. An example would be:

  • 7-minute warm up – 2 minutes of stretches and 5 minutes of light pedaling to prepare your muscles for the workout.

  • Pedal at a pace that will allow you to reach 60-75% of your max heart rate for 15-45 minutes (depending on your fitness goals).

  • 7 minute cool down – 5 minutes of light pedalling to allow your heart rate to return to normal and 2 minutes of cool-down stretches.


These types of exercise bike workouts combine both cardio and strength training. You will strengthen and tone all your lower body muscles as well as your core, and burn a huge number of calories in the process. 

Some trainers claim that a 30-40-minute session can torch as many as 500 calories. Yet, despite the intensity, spinning and soulcycle routines can be created for every fitness level, and can be customized to help meet your particular goals.

If you want to build muscles in your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, you can increase the resistance to simulate hills and inclines. If your focus is on cardio, you can keep the resistance lower but include faster cycling.

Basically, spinning and soulcycling are interval biking with a twist. What sets them apart are the position changes which add intensity and help target specific muscles. Standing while pedaling will give you a similar effect to running.

“Jumps” will help you improve strength and balance. Moving from the various seated, crouched/squat, and standing positions or performing jumps - all while changing both speed and resistance - can definitely take exercise bike workouts to a whole new level.

Bikes made specifically for spinning will have programs that you can follow, but you can also do a spin workout on most exercise bikes, except recumbent models. If you are a serious spinner, you may want to invest in a bike that is designed for this purpose or go to a gym. However, for most people, a standard exercise bike will work just fine.

Any combination of spinning positions will work so you don't really need to have a pre-determined routine. Spinning is high intensity so you will want to work hard, even if it is only for 10 minutes, but you will still want to alternate between periods of 60-75% max heart rate and periods of 85% max heart rate. 

If you are interested in spinning, it is recommended that you take a couple of classes first so that you can learn the proper hand and body positions. If choreographing a routine is too complex, there are a lot of great DVDs and online programs that will allow you to enjoy all the benefits of spinning in the comfort of your own home. 

Mixed Cardio & Strength Training

This incorporates cycling intervals with periods of other types of exercise such as dumbbell training or body weight training. An example of a mixed training workout would be:

  • 5-7 minute warm up

  • 30 seconds of max effort high intensity pedaling – either sitting or standing (80-85% max heart rate)
  • 2 minutes of steady state cycling at moderate level (60-70% max heart rate)

  • 30 seconds of max effort high intensity pedaling -either sitting or standing

  • 2 minutes of steady state cycling at moderate level

  • 30 seconds of push ups

  • 10-15 reps of bicep curls

  • 10-15 reps military press (dumbbell or bar)

  • 30 seconds of max effort high intensity pedaling – either sitting or standing

  • 2 minutes of steady state cycling at moderate level

  • 30 seconds of max effort high intensity pedalling – either sitting or standing

  • 2 minutes of steady state cycling at moderate level

  • 30 seconds of pushups

  • 10-15 reps of bicep curls

  • 10-15 reps military press (dumbbell or bar)

  • 30 seconds max effort high intensity pedaling – either sitting or standing

  • 2 minutes of steady state cycling at moderate level

  • Repeat circuit as many times as desired
  •  5-7 minute cool down

group exercise bike workouts
interval training

Tips on Exercise Bike Workouts

  • Always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

  • Warm up. A proper warm up is very important to prepare your body and muscles for any workout and to help prevent injury.

  • Make sure the bike fits properly. To get maximum benefits and prevent injury, you must make sure that your body is in proper position. If the seat is too high or too low, you can cause pain or injury to your knees.

    Improper foot position can also cause knee pain or numbness in your feet. If the handle bars are too low, you can strain your neck or shoulders. It is important that you are comfortable and able to maintain correct position throughout the entire workout.

  • Use your abdominal muscles to support your back. Make sure you aren't slouching on the bike or hiking your shoulders up toward your ears.
  • Start slowly. If you are new to biking, start slowly and increase speed as your fitness level improves. Once you are able to complete a steady-state workout easily for 5 days a week, you will be ready to start adding intervals.

  • For the best results, work out at least 4 days a week, ideally 2 days of moderate workouts and 2 days of HIIT.

  • Include weight or resistance training in your overall fitness program for full-body benefits.
spinning class

Benefits of Exercise Bike Workouts

  • Easy to use. There are hi-tech exercise bikes with built-in programming and fancy screens, but even the most complex model is quite easy to use when compared to other exercise machines.

  • Affordable. Yes, there are expensive ones; but, if you are just looking for a machine that you can sit on and pedal, it is possible to find one for around $100-$150.

  • Convenient. You can use it at home. You can use it while reading or watching TV. You can use it in any type of weather or at any time of day.

  • Compact. There are some bigger and bulkier models, but most are quite compact so they don't take up a lot of space. There are even some that fold so they can be tucked into a closet.

  • Great for any fitness level. If you are new to exercising, a stationary bike is the perfect place to start. It doesn't involve a lot of coordination or complicated fast-paced moves.

    You can adjust the workout to suit your ability and increase the level of difficulty as your fitness improves. But, don't worry about outgrowing it because even conditioned athletes can find exercise bike workouts very challenging.

  • Good for heart health. Exercise bikes provide a great cardio workout which can help lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and improve cholesterol levels.

  •  Low impact. Unlike walking or jogging, exercise bike workouts allows you to increase your heart rate and get a good cardio workout without putting a lot of stress on your joints.

  • Low risk of injury. Unless you are using the bike incorrectly (seat in wrong position, handlebars too low, etc) the risk of injury is very low, making this a great form of exercise for people with chronic pain, joint issues, or osteoporosis.

  • Weight loss. Exercise bike workouts are a good way to burn a lot of calories, especially if you include spinning or high-intensity intervals in your program.

  • Muscle Building. Although biking is considered a cardio exercise, you can still tone your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calf muscles, and major core muscles. Particularly if you regularly include spinning or HIIT training.

High Intensity Interval Training

Exercise Bike Workouts

Exercise bike workouts are a great way to have fun and get into shape. No matter what your fitness level or goals, there is a program that will fit your needs and help you achieve the body you have always wanted.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum

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