The best way to do it is to familiarise yourself with your bike, adjust it, start with slow-pace workouts, and work your way up.

Here’s a quick guide to help you get started.

How to Get Started

Beginners gain several health benefits from using stationary bikes. These include improved cardio, increased muscle strength and healthy weight.

The key to getting these benefits is to start your routine right. That means consulting with your doctor about your stationary bike workout plan. Ask what level of physical activity is best for you, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions.

Next, check your instruction manual and learn how to use your exercise bike properly. Specifically, find out how to adjust the bike seat, resistance, or, if available, incline. Study the activity monitor screen and its workout data display, too. Make sure to know how to maintain your exercise bike as well.

Also, you might want to prepare biking shorts and tees to stay comfortable while working out. As for shoes, it’s best to start with regular sneakers or trainers. If your bike pedals have cleats, like the NordicTrack Commercial S22i, you can exercise with clip-in shoes later for more intense workouts.

Upright bike as a cardio equipment

How to Adjust Your Exercise Bike

Beginners like you must adjust the stationary bike before the workout. Doing so ensures that you stay comfortable and free from injury during exercise. Remember, your body needs help to get used to regular physical activities. Moreover, it will be harder to stick to your exercise routine when you have to deal with body pains and muscle soreness every time.

To start, apply these general tips along with the notes from your instruction manual:

  • Set your bike seat at your hip level. Stand next to your bike seat, and adjust it until the top aligns with your hip bone. This setting ensures comfort and optimum pedalling.
  • Move the seat backwards or forwards based on your height. Sit on the bike and place your feet on the pedals. Then, check if your kneecaps are directly over your feet when you pedal at 3 and 9 o’clock positions.
  • Adjust the handlebars to make your shoulders align with your elbows and hips. This form should protect your neck and back from stress. You can set the handles lower later to target your core muscles more.

Check out this previous article for more exercise bike tips.

Duration and Frequency of Training

After prepping your stationary bike, you can start with a warm-up workout. Here, the goal is to introduce your body to indoor cycling and gauge your ideal fitness level. You can try measuring your pace using the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale.

Remember, do not overwork yourself. Reduce the resistance or speed if you find the workout too hard. It is very likely to feel tired after your first stationary bike workout. So, don’t worry if you cannot cycle long enough. Give your body time to build up stamina and strength.

Start with a 10 to 15-minute warm-up workout three times a week with one day rest in between. Then, add 5 minutes to your fitness routine after two weeks to level up. Keep stretching your workout until you can perform 30 minutes of moderate exercise.

Stationary bike is a good cardio workout

3 Stationary Bike Workouts for Beginners

Over time, warm-up training will become too easy for you. That’s your signal to level up your cardio routine. You can either use the built-in programs on your bike or design a personalised workout. When doing the latter, choose whichever setting and time interval you prefer. But there are two things to remember.

First, start your workout with stretching exercises to warm up your body. Then, follow it up with 5-minute indoor cycling at a comfortable pace and low resistance. Second, cap your workout with a cooldown period to bring your heart rate back to normal. You can do the same cycling pace and duration you did to warm up if you like.

Here are 3 workout ideas you can try.

1. 30-Minute Ride for Weight Loss

  • Warm up with low-intensity cycling for 5 minutes.
  • Shift to medium-intensity cycling for 5 minutes.
  • Switch to high-intensity cycling for 2 minutes.
  • Go back to moderate-pace cycling for 5 minutes.
  • Crank the setting up again to high intensity and cycle for 2 minutes.
  • Lower the setting to medium and pedal for 5 minutes.
  • Cool down with low-intensity cycling for 5 minutes.

2. 25-Minute Ride for Endurance

  • Warm up with low-intensity cycling for 3 minutes.
  • Shift to moderate-intensity cycling for 1 minute.
  • Continue cycling at a moderate pace for 1 minute but ride out of your saddle.
  • Sit on the saddle and continue cycling at medium intensity for 1 minute.
  • Next, perform these moves alternately at a moderate pace: 30-second cycling off the saddle, 2-min cycling sitting down. Repeat five more times.
  • Cool down with low-intensity cycling for 4 minutes.

3. 10-Minute HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) for Beginners

  • Warm up with low-intensity cycling for 1 minute.
  • Shift to medium-intensity resistance and pedal at a slower pace than your warm-up. Stay at this level for 4 minutes, but at the 15-second mark, push your pedalling speed.
  • Switch to regular pedalling speed at the same resistance setting for 45 seconds before pedalling at a quicker pace for 15 seconds.
  • Repeat this interval set three more times.
  • Cool down with low-intensity cycling for 1 minute.
Exercise bike for endurance training

Bottom Line

Stationary bike workouts are not that hard to learn and master, making them perfect for fitness beginners. In addition, stationary bikes are generally compact machines that do not cost much. Even affordable models can give you high-quality training for years.

To make the most of your investment, check the construction and features of your bike options. Compare models from various brands and price points, too. That way, you’ll know you are off to a long-term, healthier lifestyle with the best fitness partner.

1. How long should a beginner ride a stationary bike?

Moderate cycling for 30 minutes five days a week is a good starting point for beginners. According to Harvard Health Publishing, this can burn 210 to 294 calories. You can even burn more when you shift to a vigorous pace. If paired with a healthy diet, either mode can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. When your body is ready, switch to an extended exercise time or higher workout intensity for continuous progress.

2. How can I optimise my stationary bike workout?

Adjust your bike for comfort and wear the appropriate cycling gear for optimised workouts. Make sure to allocate time for warm-up and cooldown phases, too. Also, maintain the proper form throughout your cycling routine to avoid soreness or injury. Lastly, stay hydrated and have fun! Keep your body challenged by doing high-intensity interval training or other exercises.