You Don’t Need a Spin Class for This Stationary Bike Workout

Caitlin S. Miller
stationary bike workout

Photo: Jacob Ammentorp Lund / Getty Images

For anyone who’s ever walked into their first spin class and immediately not known what to do (how do you clamp in those fancy shoes again?), we feel you. Cycling is one of the hottest trends around, but it can also be one of the most intimidating sports for newbies. Don’t let cycling anxiety get in the way of an awesome workout. To help those looking to hop on board the spin bandwagon for the first time (or simply up their cycling game), we chatted with Seth Maynard, cycling instructor at SWERVE Fitness in New York, to learn exactly how to create a beginner’s stationary bike without even going to a spin class. All you need is a stationary bike, 30 minutes, and a good playlist!

Warm Up

Ride for 4-5 min at a faster pace (100+ RPMs) seated in the saddle (the spin term for seat) to get your legs ready for the workout.

Hill #1

Ride for about 8-10 minutes at a higher resistance. (Every bike will have different resistance metrics, so simply up your resistance a few notches, so the wheel feels heavy, simulating climbing up a hill). Gradually keep increasing the resistance while maintaining the same speed.

Move in and out of the saddle to challenge yourself even more.


Lower the resistance and ride at a higher speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add a sprint at the end of your recovery to prepare for the next hill.

Hill #2

Push the resistance up a few more turns. Add in one more hill and ride at a slightly faster pace for 4-5 minutes.

Tabata intervals

Sprint for 20 seconds, recover for 10 seconds. Complete these reps for 8 rounds totaling 4 minutes.

Cool down

Finish with a 3-minute cool down and a 2-minute stretch. To cool down, lower the resistance, reduce the RPMs, and free ride. Stretch out the arms and legs as you would normally after a workout.

Remember, safety is key when spinning. “You should never be pedaling faster than 120 RPMs in the saddle. And never more than 90 RPMs out of the saddle,” explains Maynard. And don’t forget about posture! Keep your chest up and shoulders relaxed and core engaged, says Maynard. And when you’re out of the saddle never, ever lock your knees. “Always keep a slight bend [in the knee]! Additionally, when out of the saddle, make sure your hips hover over the saddle.”

Lastly, Maynard suggests looking for a bike you can clip into versus one with just a cage for your shoes. “It changes the ride completely, for the better: It’s more efficient and safer,” he says. “Also make sure it has a good resistance knob located on the bike, and if you can find a model with a monitor that shows your speed and gear, even better!”

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