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.
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||
|40 to 45||Cool down; sit in saddle||80 to 100||Light|
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, May 2013.