Stationary bike workouts are a great way to get in shape and lose weight. Not only do they help you burn calories, they also strengthen your knees, ankles and hips.

Stationary bikes are also easy to use and can be found at most gyms or health clubs. Here are some tips on how to use a stationary bike for an effective workout.

Choose the right bike

The first thing you need to do is choose the right exercise bike for your needs. There are different types of stationary bikes, so make sure you pick one that fits your body shape and height.

If you’re tall, look for a recumbent bike with a larger seat and more room between pedals. If you’re short or overweight, choose an upright stationary bike with pedals close together so your feet don’t slip off them during exercise.

Stationary Bike Workout For Weight Loss

Do you also hate the monotony of slow and steady cardio that last hours? Is there a better way to burn more calories in the least amount of time?

If you are wondering the same thing, then you are in luck today!

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the current rage among fitness enthusiasts around the globe. It has proven to be the most effective way to lose weight and build endurance.

In this guide, I’ll share with you the most effective HIIT Cycling Workout, benefits of HIIT and common mistakes to be avoided.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of cardio that alternates between high intensity and low-intensity activity.

The best thing about HIIT is that you don’t need to be a pro athlete or require a professional instructor to do these workouts. These workouts are quite easy to follow and don’t require many variations.

HIIT cycling provides a much greater fat burn as compared to other forms of HIIT workouts.

Here’s everything you need to know about high-intensity interval training, the benefits, and how you can incorporate HIIT cycling in your weight loss quest.

This post may contain affiliate links, which help keep this content free. (Full disclosure)

What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

A HIIT workout suggests short intervals of exercise at a max-effort level followed by periods of moderate activity (aka recovery periods).

When it comes to HIIT cycling, there are so many ways to experiment, with each routine offering different benefits.

The duration of max efforts could be from a couple of seconds up to a minute or more. One of the simplest ways to explain HIIT cycling is “You just need to be cycling hard with maximum intensity, on and off for 15 minutes. 

You could follow a set pattern (which is given further in this article) or you could just have fun with the process and do as you like, still burning calories along the way.

HIIT Cycling Benefits

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology claims that HIIT gives you ALL the health benefits of moderate-intensity activity(such as long-distance running) in a MUCH shorter time period.

On the other hand, HIIT cycling greatly suppresses your appetite, leading you to eat less throughout the day, ultimately losing more weight.

A 2011 study, published in the Journal of Obesity, suggests that HIIT burns fat at a much higher level than the traditional cardio, and the benefits last for hours following the workout.

When it comes to training for endurance, nothing beats the unconventional HIIT cycling. A 2015 analysis found that HIIT is more effective than endurance training when it came to gains in VO2 Max, a metric of how well your body utilizes oxygen.

That’s vital because your muscles need proper oxygen when you work out, otherwise they may cramp up, leading to a potential injury.

cycling workout outdoors

Performing any sorts of HIIT gives you a great sense of accomplishment because you push your limits with each workout. Doing it repeatedly over time will stretch your limits as your body becomes used to making optimum use of oxygen.

And if you are someone who loves greatly built legs and calves, you might want to ask “Does hiit cycling build muscle?”

The answer is yes. Just like any other workout, you are tearing your micro muscle fibers during cycling, which will come back stronger. Stationary bike HIIT workout for fat loss will significantly boost your endurance while toning your legs at the same time.

The main muscles worked during cycling are quadriceps and hamstrings in the upper leg, and the gastrocnemius and soleus in your calves. These muscles contract in a manner that creates the pedaling motion. 

Provided you take sufficient protein and good nutrition, you’ll definitely build muscle with HIIT cycling workouts.

HIIT Cycling for fat loss is one of the most effective weight loss method out there.

HIIT Cycling: Indoors vs Outdoors

I personally prefer to perform HIIT indoors as its super convenient!

My stationary bike is setup and ready to go, without wasting any time. Doing HIIT cycling outdoors can disturb your intervals and negate the time effectiveness of the workout.

For example, your high intensity interval might be disturbed if you come across a hurdle on the road, or traffic on your path.

While HIIT training can be done both indoors or outdoors on the open road, all the peers I spoke to leaned towards an indoor session on a turbo trainer or smart bike.

cycling outdoors

If you do opt to train outside though, I highly recommend going for a workout that is either flat or uphill.

You don’t want it to be too steady and yet be in total control of the movement. That’s where a hilly terrain comes to our rescue, going 3-4 minutes on the incline (with max efforts) and then recovering back on your way down.

If you have some free time, you can go outside with your bike and try all the random crazy stuff, such as sprinting to a signpost, then recovering slowly. Or heck, you might even race a car (with due caution!).

HIIT Cycling Workout

Warm up for 5 minutes: Keep the resistance at half of the maximum level. If its on a 1-20 scale I keep my warm-up and recovery time at around 10-12.

When going in with full capacity, I turn up the resistance in the range of 15-18. However when starting out, you should start from 10 and work your way up the chain. It should be challenging enough but not exhausting at the same time.

After the warm up, follow this intense pyramid that’ll turn you into a fat-burning beast!

  1. 30 seconds high intensity, followed by 60 seconds low intensity (repeat 4 times)
  2. 40 seconds high intensity, followed by 60 seconds low intensity (repeat 4 times)
  3. 30 seconds high intensity, followed by 60 seconds low intensity (repeat 4 times)

A 5-minute cool down is vital after each HIIT routine, to ensure that your body cools down from the hyperactivity phase.

Depending on how much time you have, you could go for 1, 1.5 or 2 circuits in your workout.

Each high-intensity interval should be in zone five if you are training with a power meter.

You could also try 30-30 interval training cycling to mix things up, but remember to go in with maximum intensity.

hiit stationary bike weight loss

I have given you my tried and tested blueprint for HIIT cycling, but feel free to mix and match things as per your requirements. There are no rigid guidelines while designing your own HIIT cardio workouts.

HIIT Mistakes to Avoid

I’ve always been a fan of HIIT ever since I began my fitness journey.

Whether you are trying to lose weight, or you are an athelete wanting to maximize your endurance and performance, HIIT cycling is the best way forward.

Unfortunately, high intensity intervals are also easy to mess up, so make sure you’re not making these mistakes:

No Warmup

When you don’t do the recommended 5 minute warm up before each session, you risk turning the first high-intensity intervals into a warmup itself.

It makes so much sense logically: You can’t just go all-in with maximum intensity, right after getting up from the couch, hence warmup is necessary. HIIT already has a low time (approx. 10 mins) for the actual high-intensity workouts, and if you waste all that time with lower performance, you’ll hardly reap any benefits.

The much talked about benefits of HIIT cycling is based on hitting those high power outputs and pushing your cardiovascular system to its limits.

A one-minute effort that’s “almost” really hard isn’t going to do it. Worse yet, you might simply be wasting your time.

Lacking Focus

If you are cycling outdoors, it is common to drift away with thoughts, feeling like you are riding for leisure.

You could go out for a ride and think through that work or relationship problem you’re facing. (In fact, those long rides can be really helpful for mind storming!)

But when it comes to HIIT cycling, you can’t be distracted with wordly thoughts, and you need to go with a focused mindset. Stay disciplined and set rules like not taking any calls during the workout.

Long and Frequent HIIT Sessions

Your greed for losing more weight quicker, or building the endurance of a bull might make you perform HIIT more than required (I’ve been there myself!)

You need sufficient recovery time to adapt to the training stress and fatigue so that your next HIIT workout is better and more intense.

Two HIIT workouts a week is plenty for beginners. Three per week is suitable for intermediate people. And four in a week is doable for only advanced athletes.

You need to keep your traditional workout norms out the door when turning to HIIT.

A conventional long and steady cardio workout lasts for up to 45 minutes but that is not the case with HIIT cycling. Limit your sessions to no longer than 20 minutes at max.

Risking Dehydration

In an indoor HIIT cycling session, you could sweat up to 1.5 liters of fluid, or even more if the room is warm. The result is often a large pool of sweat on the floor.

Going into your workout well hydrated is the best strategy to avoid any risks, while ensuring optimum performance at the same time.

Drink enough water in the hours following your workout, to replenish the lost fluids from your body.


Boost your fitness game with this HIIT stationary bike weight loss workout that hardly requires 20 minutes per session. If you are a busy professional or simply want the most output from your inputs, HIIT cycling is the way to go.

7 Great Benefits of a Stationary Bike Workout

Riding a stationary exercise bike is an efficient and effective way to burn calories and body fat while strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles.

Compared to some other types of cardio equipment, a stationary bicycle puts less stress on your joints, but it still provides an excellent aerobic workout.

Read on to learn more about the benefits of a stationary bike workout, and the kinds of workout plans that can help you reach your fitness or weight loss goals.

What are the benefits of a stationary bike workout?

1. Boosts cardio fitness

Cycling is an excellent way to get your heart pumping.

Cardiovascular or aerobic workouts, such as cycling, strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles. They also improve the flow of blood and oxygen throughout your body. This, in turn, can benefit your health in a number of ways, including:

  • improved memory and brain functioning
  • lower blood pressure
  • better sleep
  • improved blood sugar levels
  • a stronger immune system
  • better mood
  • lower stress levels
  • more energy

2. Can help with weight loss

Depending on the intensity of your workout and your body weight, you can burn more than 600 calories an hour with a stationary bike workout. This makes indoor cycling an excellent workout option for burning calories quickly.

Burning more calories than you consume is the key to weight loss.

3. Burns body fat

Working out at a high intensity helps to burn calories and build strength, which, in turn, can lead to fat loss.

A 2010 studyTrusted Source found that indoor cycling, combined with a low-calorie diet, was effective in reducing body weight and body fat in the study’s participants. It was also effective in lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The participants cycled for 45 minutes three times per week, and they consumed 1,200 calories per day for 12 weeks.

4. Provides a low-impact workout

A stationary bike workout is a low-impact workout that uses smooth movements to strengthen bones and joints without putting much pressure on them. This makes it a good workout option for people with joint issues or injuries.

Your ankles, knees, hips, and other joints can be put under a lot of stress when running, jogging, jumping, or doing other high-impact aerobic exercises.

Because your feet don’t lift off the pedals with a stationary bike, this option is kinder to your joints, but it still provides a challenging and effective workout.

5. Strengthens legs and lower body muscles

Riding a stationary bike can help build strength in your legs and lower body, especially if you use a higher resistance.

The pedaling action can help strengthen your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Additionally, it can work the muscles in your core, back, and glutes.

If you use a bicycle with handles, you’ll also be able to work your upper body muscles, including your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

6. Allows for interval training

Interval training allows you to alternate short bursts of intense exercise with longer intervals of less intense exercise. This type of training can help you burn more calories in less time, and also elevate your cardio fitness.

Stationary bikes allow for varied resistance levels, so you can exercise at low, medium, or high intensities. This makes it ideal for an interval training workout.

7. Safer than road cycling

Cycling outdoors can be a great way to exercise, but it does come with certain hazards, such as inattentive drivers, uneven or slick road surfaces, and poor visibility.

Also, if it’s hot and humid, or cold and wet, it can be hard to muster up the motivation to head outdoors. It might not even be safe to do so.

With indoor cycling, you don’t have to be concerned about traffic, road conditions, or the elements. You can work out safely at a comfortable temperature any time of the year.

Workout plans for different fitness levels

For beginners

If you’re just beginning to building your fitness, the key is to start slowly and to gradually add more time and intensity.

Start with a 25- to 35-minute workout and progress from there, adding time in 1-minute increments as you build up your fitness.

Here’s a sample beginner’s workout:

  1. Start off pedaling at a low intensity for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Switch to medium intensity for 5 minutes, followed by:
    • high intensity for 1-2 minutes
    • medium intensity for 5 minutes
    • high intensity for 1-2 minutes
    • medium intensity for 5 minutes
  3. Finish by pedaling at a low intensity for 5 minutes.

For weight loss

This type of workout helps to burn calories and body fat, and it can be a good option to include in a weight loss plan. It’s also a good option if you want to switch up your resistance levels quickly.

Here’s a sample weight loss workout plan:

  1. Start off pedaling at a low intensity for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Switch to medium intensity for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Alternate between high intensity (1-3 minutes) and medium intensity (3-5 minutes) for the next 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Cool down by pedaling at a low intensity for 5-10 minutes.

For interval training

Once you’ve built up your fitness, you may want to boost your strength and stamina with interval training.

Here’s a sample interval training plan:

  1. Start off pedaling at a low intensity for 10 minutes.
  2. Switch to medium intensity for 10 minutes, followed by:
    • high intensity for 2 minutes
    • low intensity for 2 minutes
    • high intensity for 2 minutes
    • low intensity for 2 minutes
    • high intensity for 2 minutes
  3. Cool down by pedaling at low intensity for 5-10 minutes.

Over time, you can increase your intervals one minute at a time.

Types of stationary bikes 

There are generally three different types of stationary bikes: upright, recumbent, and dual-action. Each one offers slightly different benefits.

Depending on your fitness level, joint health, and workout goals, you can focus on just one bike, or for more variety, you can try all of them at different times.

Upright bike

One of the most popular types of stationary bikes is the upright bike. It’s similar to a regular bicycle, with the pedals positioned under your body.

The upright bike provides a great cardio workout while also strengthening your leg and core muscles. Depending on your preference, this bike can be used both standing or sitting.

The downside of this bike is that the upright position can put pressure on your hands and wrists. Also, the small seat can be uncomfortable, especially for longer workouts.

Recumbent bike

With a recumbent stationary bike, you sit in a comfortable reclined position on a larger seat that’s positioned back from the pedals.

This type of bike puts less stress on your upper body, joints, and low back. Your body is fully supported, which can make your workout less intense. You’ll also have less fatigue and muscle soreness after your workout.

A recumbent bicycle is a good option if you have limited mobility, joint issues or injuries, or back pain. It’s also a safer option for older adults or those new to exercise.

Dual-action bike

A dual-action bike is the least like a regular road bicycle. It has handlebars that move back and forth to target your upper body muscles. So, while you’re pedaling and working your legs, you’re also able to get a solid upper body workout.

Other types of bikes

The indoor cycle bike, which is the most popular option in indoor cycling classes, is similar to an upright bike. However, it has an elevated seat.

Another difference is that resistance is created with a weighted flywheel on the front, which is typically about 40 pounds. The resistance can be adjusted to simulate hills or riding into the wind.

A less common type of stationary bike is a fan or air bike. This bike doesn’t have any preprogrammed options. Instead, you create resistance by pedaling.

The faster you pedal, the faster the wheel blades rotate and the more resistance you generate. These bikes are generally less expensive than other types of stationary bicycles.

Safety tips 

Stationary bikes are safer than riding a bike out on the road, but there are still safety concerns to consider:

  • You may develop muscle fatigue or injury from the repetitive motion or from using poor form.
  • You could fall off the bike or injure yourself if you don’t balance yourself correctly.

To stay safe with a stationary bike workout, keep these tips in mind:

  • Always position your body correctly and use proper form. If you’re unsure of the right position or correct form, ask a certified personal trainer for help.
  • Take a break to allow your body time to recover if you develop any pain or muscles aches from cycling.
  • Don’t exert yourself beyond your own limits, especially when cycling in a group class. Don’t feel compelled to keep up with the group. It can be dangerous to push yourself too hard, especially if you’re new to exercising.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have issues with your balance, blood pressure, or heart health to make sure a stationary bike workout is safe for you.

The bottom line 

Cycling indoors can help you meet your fitness goals in rain, shine, or whatever the weather throws at you. In addition to its many cardiovascular benefits, the stationary bike can help you boost your muscle strength, lose weight, and burn body fat while being kind to your joints.

Use an app or journal to track your progress over time so you can see your results and stay motivated.

Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program if you’re new to exercise, take medications, or have any medical concerns.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eleven + 5 =

Scroll to Top