Intervals for Cardio


Exercise Bike Interval Training Tips

Interval Training on Exercise Bike

Interval training on an exercise bike provides a low-impact interval workout.  Many people who find walking or running painful because of joint problems or injuries opt to train on exercise bikes.  Even though you are sitting you can still get your heart rate up high and burn many calories by pedaling fast and hard during interval training.

The Work Intervals

There are three ways to increase intensity during work intervals on an exercise bike, which can be an upright or recumbent stationary bike.  You can increase resistance, pedal faster, or do both.  Most recumbent bikes have front handle bars and I recommend gripping them when doing high intensity intervals. Gripping them helps you pedal with more force.

The Rest Intervals

For short rest intervals you can either stop pedaling or pedal slowly without decreasing resistance.

For longer rest intervals you can either pedal slowly without decreasing resistance or reduce resistance and pedal slowly.

Timing the Intervals

You can watch the timer on the console display of the exercise bike or use an interval timer to time the intervals.

Putting It All Together

Now that we have covered all the bases let me guide you through a recumbent bike interval workout. I like doing medium length fitness intervals on my Schwinn recumbent bike so this example involves six sets of 30 second work intervals followed by 30 second rest intervals.

Interval Chart:

 Fitness Intervals  Sets  Time

 30s Work interval + 30s Rest interval

 6  6 min.

When performing the work intervals the goal is to pedal fast and hard during each one. You'll notice that each work interval gets a little harder than the last one and completing the last few of them will be tough if you're pushing yourself hard enough.

I begin my interval training session with at least a 5 minute warm up.  Just moments before I complete my warm up I increase resistance, grip the front handle bars, and go straight into my first work interval by pedaling fast and hard.  After my first work interval is complete I transition into my first rest interval by reducing resistance and pedaling slowly.  During the rest interval I decide if I want to make my next work interval harder than the last, if I do, I will increase the resistance to a higher level to push myself harder.  After the rest interval is complete I increase resistance and transition back into the next work interval by pedaling fast and hard.  I repeat this process until I complete all six interval sets.  Then I follow up the intervals with a 5 minute cool down.