Remember all that time you spent cruising around on your bike as a child, poppin’ wheelies and going hands-free like Jack and Rose on Titanic?
Well this bike workout is nothing like that.
But wasn’t it fun to remember when you actually rode bikes for leisure AND ate ice delis and not that you are now riding a bike BECAUSE you ate an ice deli?
Being almost 30 is tough!
I mentioned in my first Workout Wednesday post that I discovered a way to shorten my cardio time by increasing my intensity. Truth is I didn’t really discover it, but rather just started believing in it. And believe me when I tell you this bike workout is tough but very fast.
Step 1: Find a spin bike. Preferably one that looks like this:
and not this:
Personally, I judge a bike by the size of the seat. The smaller the seat, the better the butt. This is by no means scientific. In fact, I just made it up. But do me a favor and think of it in terms of renting a beach cruiser versus a race bike. You’ve already made the effort to get to the gym. Don’t rent the beach cruiser.
Now I understand not all gyms have spin bikes out for your use, but if you have one please use it. I promise you you’ll survive, even without the red flashing lights, the personal fan or the running calorie count.
Step 2: Set your bike up before you get on it.
Typically this includes three different adjustments based on your leg and arm length.
Everyone will be different on these but as a baseline you want a seat height that is level with your hips. Once you’re seated on the bike, you should be able to extend your leg without completely locking out your knee. Check to see if your arms are a comfortable length from the handlebars and that your knee is not pushing too far past your ankle when you rotate the pedal. Adjust the seat or handlebars accordingly to correct this.
The good news is once you do this a few times, it becomes much more intuitive. I can pretty much go by the numbers now when I see a bike, but it doesn’t hurt to check and make sure they are tightened each time. No one wants to start their workout by falling on their seat.
Step 3: warm up
Since spin bikes don’t typically have a clock on them, I like to use my iPhone stopwatch to keep track of time during my biking days. Add a little resistance and warm up your legs for 3 minutes.
Step 4: intervals
Here’s where it gets fun. It helps to have a heart rate monitor on for this portion of the workout but if you don’t have one just try to go as hard as you can. Crank the dial and while seated, push as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Take the resistance off for 30 seconds and repeat for the next 12 minutes.
Step 5: Push yourself.
A heart rate monitor helps you to see how hard you are really working for this exercise. The goal is to get to 80 percent of your max for the majority of that 30 second push. This is a hard workout because the success is strictly based on how hard you are willing to push for that 30 seconds. It is very easy to ease off as the clock nears your next 30 second mark, but keep in mind you only have 12 reps to complete and then you are done. Push through and you will have jello legs to thank for it after.
Step 5: Don’t fall off the bike when you finish.
So I was FaceTiming with my parents the other night and we were discussing their trip to the gym earlier that evening for a workout together. FaceTiming with my parents usually looks a little something like this:
Don’t you love how they nestle together to stay in the shot?
Back to the workout. Mom was booking it on the treadmill, fast enough for dad to give her a thumbs up from across the gym as he finished up a PR on the stationary bike. Seconds pass. Dad tries to de-bike, gets his foot caught and flips over, bike and all. Seeing this, mom nearly falls off the treadmill trying to assist per usual. He was fine and everyone got a good laugh. Probably the way they do each time I do the exact same thing at the gym. The moral of the story is be sure to loosen your foot-straps before you hope off the bike after your workout. Whether you are genetically predisposed to clumsiness or not, you’ll thank me for saving you the embarrassment.
I started implementing this workout as alternative to running when I was injured. If you have knee issues, this is a great way to get your heart rate up without causing too much stress on your knees. And it’s a real calorie burner which is especially nice for counteracting the batch of Cooking Light Picadillo Sloppy Joes you plan on eating after.
Enjoy your workout!