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4 Great Indoor Cycling Workouts—No Peloton Required

Here are super effective ways to get fit using any old stationary bike.

We know that having a fully tricked out, $1,900 home exercise bike is the newest status symbol in the world of upscale fitness. But let's get real: While Pelotons (and their competitors) are all super cool, you don't need a tricked out spin bike to get a worthwhile workout at home (or at a good old-fashioned gym). No, you can get a terrific workout using any old stationary Schwinn.

So if you've got an exercise bike in the basement, we'd urge you to pull it out, dust it off, and try one of these four simple and effective indoor cycling workouts that are guaranteed make you sweat, all courtesy of former pro cyclist Riley McAlpine. And if you are a devout Peloton user, don't miss our roundup of Secrets Peloton Instructors Don't Want You to Know.


Hill Surges

man riding stationary bike
Shutterstock / Friends Stock

To build leg strength and increase the force of your pedal stroke, warm up in an easy gear for 15 minutes, then set your bike's resistance to high and pedal at 60rpm for six minutes. Rest and recover at 95 rpm for three minutes, and then repeat the process six times. Extend the recovery time to 15 minutes after the third and sixth power surges.


One-Legged Pedaling

tour de france bike costco

After warming up, rest your right foot on a chair next to the bike and pedal at 80 to 90 rpm for 30 seconds with your left. Repeat six times, alternating legs, and then pedal evenly with both legs at an easy pace for 10 minutes. Repeat the entire set. This will train your neuromuscular system to eliminate dead spots in your stroke.


Commercial Breaks

Mature fit people biking in the gym, exercising legs doing cardio workout cycling bikes

Position your bike in front of the television, warm up for 15 minutes, and then turn on your favorite show. Whenever it breaks for commercials, switch into a higher gear and start pedaling at 80 rpm. When your show comes back on, ease into a lower gear and pedal at a moderate pace. Repeat these intervals for the length of the program.


Endurance Drills

1 cycling exercise bike
Tim Liu, C.S.C.S.

To build your aerobic threshold, pop in an inspirational cycling movie (try the 1979 classic Breaking Away) and spin your wheels for one to two hours at an easy to moderate pace. Focus on making perfect circles with your pedal stroke by keeping your heels down.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more about William
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