Did you recently purchase an at-home cycling bike? You aren’t alone. Spin bikes have soared in popularity over recent years.
Luckily it’s easy to still get an effective workout from home. The best part about owning your own bike is that it can offer an incredible workout without taking up too much space, notes CycleBar instructor Sarah Pelc Graca. “Cycling happens to be one of my favorite at-home workouts. It’s super convenient to hop on your bike for a quick 20-30 minute workout,” she says. “You’re able to work your leg muscles such as your glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Not only that, but you’re keeping your heart healthy, increasing your lung capacity, relieving stress, and getting those endorphins pumping.”
Now that you’re ready to take your new bike out for, well, a spin, you might be wondering what workouts are best to complete from home. We asked spin instructors from two top studios for their favorite workouts. Here’s what they recommended.
Meet the Expert
- Sarah Pelc Graca is a CycleBar and certified personal trainer.
- Tanysha Smith is a New York City-based SoulCycle instructor.
- Julie Insogna-Jarrett is a spin instructor at Prime Cycle in New Jersey.
30-Minute SoulCycle Indoor Cycling Flow
SoulCycle instructor Tanysha Smith completes this 30-minute flow on her SoulCycle at-home bike powered by Variis. “Below is one of my favorite indoor cycling flows,” she says. “I love this flow, particularly on days that need a boost or jolt right out of the gate, a quick wake up, or to get the blood flowing.”
Note: Keep your resistance between 30 and 70 percent throughout the workout, based on your fitness level. Since the class is based on an interval format, vary your resistance according to the cadence.
0-3 minutes warm-up seated. BPM: 120-128 (Ride at a steady pace, allow the muscles to acclimate.)
3-6 minutes slow to moderate jog. BPM: 170
6-9 minutes intervals, side to side/march. BPM: 128 (Put on a pump-up jam here and push your pace during the chorus, working in and out of the saddle. Then during the lyrics, do a steady march “side to side,” shifting the bodyweight left and right. Slow your legs down, so you are “marching” along to the music.)
9-13 minutes intervals climb. BPM: 115 (Start to increase resistance in increments, add 1-2 pushes as desired.) (interval pushed paces during the chorus; increase resistance in increments)
13-16 minutes moderate jog. BPM: 170-185 (Add in upper body choreography as desired)
16-21 minutes upper body arms routine (Combination of moves with a focus on keeping weight off of the shoulders, limit overhead movements)
21-25 minutes active recovery (slow jog or climb)
25-28 minutes seated interval race. BPM: 125-130 (Work in 8 counts, work in and out of the saddle, or add steady runs or holds and pushes for 8 counts, (In and out of the saddle, runs and pushes)8 count intervals in and out of the saddle: add steady runs or holds and pushes out of the saddle as desired)
28-30 minutes stretch (on or off of the bike)
- Quadriceps (knee to the ground, grab your ankle for support limiting flexion at the low back)
- Hamstrings (extend upper body toward toes)
- Hips (Alternating forward lunge)
Prime Cycle’s Epic Sing-Along Ride
Spin instructor Julie Insogna-Jarrett recommends cranking up your favorite tunes and singing along during this ride. “When at home, there is less fear of singing at the top of your lungs: It’s like karaoke on a bike!” she says. “But to make it even better than that, you are sweating, dancing, and burning calories at the same time.”
0-5 minutes Fast runs with low resistance (15 percent average)
5-10 minutes Flat road with moderate resistance --A flat road has no elevation so that you can pedal faster on a light resistance; two or three turns or 10%-15% of resistance.
(20-25 percent average resistance)
10-15 minutes Hills with moderate to heavy resistance (25-30 percent average resistance) -- A hill has a slight elevation, so the pedaling feels heavier since you are climbing up the hill. Resistance for a hill is about 6-7 turns or 30%-35% resistance.
15-20 minutes Heavy hill with heavy resistance (40-45 percent average resistance ) A heavy hill is a steep incline, so you pedal slower with about 8 turns or more or 40% or higher resistance.
20-25 minutes Flat road with a jog at a light to moderate resistance (25-30 percent average resistance)
25-30 minutes Fast run with low resistance (15 percent average resistance)
30-32 minutes Cooldown (zero resistance)
How to Get the Most Out of Your At-Home Bike
Just like in the spin studio, you want to do more than just pedal leisurely. To get the most out of your at-home workout, you’ll want to increase the speed and/or resistance. And if your rides are starting to feel too easy, it may be time to level up, says Graca. “You can always level up a cycling workout by changing up the intensity or adding some resistance or hand weights to the ride,” she says.
As for how often you should be cycling, aim for two or three days a week. On days off the bike, Graca recommends adding resistance training with bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, or resistance bands to round out your routine.