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Top Cardio Tricks: The 45-Minute Indoor Cycling Workout

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How to Get the Best Indoor Cycling Workout

Hit the Right Height
"The biggest mistake people make is to set the bike seat too low," Uresti says. When pedaling, the leg should be bent about 25 degrees at the bottom of the rotation. "This relieves your quads from doing all the work."

Get Up, Stand Up
When doing fast-paced runs, stay seated. To add intensity, lift your butt off the saddle for a few seconds. For hill climbs and slow jogs with heavy resistance, stand up and hold the front of the handlebars, keeping hips over the saddle to work your core, legs, and butt.

Move to the Music
Good music can make any ride better, as long as you match your pedal stroke to the beat. "Keep pace first, then add resistance," Uresti advises. Try riding to your favorite song: Pedal fast enough to stay with the beat, then add a quarter turn of resistance every 30 seconds, five times in all.

Download Uresti's suggested playlist here

Don't Ignore Your Upper Body

Why should your legs and butt have all the fun? Adding some targeted strength moves for your arms, chest, back, and shoulders transforms your ride into a total-body workout. Keep your pedal speed at a moderate pace, using enough resistance to slow down but not so much that you can't move your legs without also wiggling the rest of your body. Do two sets of 20 reps of each move, using two- to three-pound weights.

Reverse Biceps Curl
Hold a weight in each hand, elbows bent at shoulder level, weights in front of face, palms out. Bend elbows to straighten arms parallel to floor. Repeat.

Triceps Pull Down
Hold a weight in each hand and extend arms overhead, palms facing in. Bend elbows, lowering weights behind head, then extend arms overhead and lower elbows to chest height (weights in front of face). Return to start and repeat.

The 45-Minute Interval Indoor Cycling Workout

Rique Uresti's favorite indoor cycling motto? "Tight wheel, tight body." His 45-minute session cranks up resistance while adding speed intervals for a high-intensity workout.


Minutes What to Do Speed (rpm) Tension
0 to 5 Warm up; stay seated 100

Light, slowly increased to moderate

5 to 10 Increase resistance; rise out of saddle 70 Moderate
10 to 12 Decrease resistance; stay out of saddle 110

Light to moderate

12 to 15 Keep resistance; sit in saddle 120 Light to moderate
15 to 17 Increase resistance; stay out of saddle 80 Moderate
17 to 19 Keep resistance, double pace; stay out of saddle 120 Moderate
19 to 21 Keep resistance, decrease pace; sit in saddle 80 Moderate
21 to 22 Keep resistance, double pace; rise out of saddle 120 Moderate
22 to 25 Decrease resistance; sit in saddle 100 Light
25 to 30 Increase resistance for heavy climb; rise out of saddle 70 Heavy
30 to 35 Decrease resistance; do seated arms workout 80 Light to moderate
35 to 40 Increase resistance; rise out of saddle 100

Light to
moderate, slowly adding resistance

40 to 45 Cool down; sit in saddle 80 to 100 Light

 

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2013.

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