How to train on your spin bike without paid subscritpion (best indoor cycling programs)

I’ll never forget the day when my first home spinning bike turned up at the door. I stood in my hallway, not entirely sure what I had got myself in for. It took me a couple of hours to build, and I’m sure if I had looked at the instructors closer, the transport wheels would have been facing the right direction. It didn’t take me long to correct my error, and before I knew it, I was looking at the bike that was going to take me on a long journey of indoor cycling. When I first thought about riding the spinning bike, I didn’t know where to start. I knew I needed to sweat, but I was clueless as far as what I should be doing.

How much resistance should I have in, how often should I be standing, and what’s the best workout to burn the most calories. It took me a long time getting it wrong before I ended up getting it right. I did a lot of research and ended up taking a spinning instructor’s course before I fully felt I knew what I was doing. Years have gone by, and I have been an instructor who has taught hundreds of classes, and now I have a solid understanding of what you need to be doing. In this article, I want to teach you the best way to plan your home spinning workouts and where the best bang for your buck is when it comes to indoor cycling.

Firstly before you start, make sure that you have the appropriate indoor cycling clothing and the bike is set up correctly. Ensure that you feel well-rested and have some energy to give to the bike and a bottle of water to stay hydrated. The next thing to think about is the mindset; you want to start with a positive attitude and go into the workout knowing that you’re there for a reason and you’re going to enjoy it and have fun. Think about why you got the bike and the end goal you want to achieve.

Now you need to go in with a plan; I wouldn’t recommend just jumping on the exercise bike without knowing what you will do, have some structure to your training, and take it seriously. I plan for the week, but that’s very in-depth. Just knowing what you’re doing on the day will be enough. I recommend three different types of sessions, and I mix them up throughout the week, so I get a good variety of training to help improve my fitness and burn the calories to help me lose weight. I might do 3-4 sessions a week and allow the other days for recovery.

A very strong recommendation is to use a heart rate monitor as it will help the training process and help you track your progress when it comes to achieving your goals. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It can be a wristwatch such as a fit bit or an apple watch, or even a chest strap. Providing you can see your heart rate will help you control your training and give you the ability to track your progress as you get fitter and stronger. When you have a heart rate monitor, you need to know your maximum heart rate. There are two ways to achieve this firstly, 220 – (Your age) This is a somewhat inaccurate way but will give a great guide. Failing that, you can get on the bike, warm up, then give everything you have and see how high your heart rate gets. Once you know your Maximum heart rate, then you will be able to use this guide better. To find the right heart rate monitor for you, please see our comparisons of HRM arm-bands, HRM chest straps, and HRM watches.

If you don’t want to use a heart rate monitor, we have RPE. This means the Rate of Perceived Exertion. It’s a 1 – 10 scale where you can judge how hard you’re working. Its straightforward one would be working very lightly, and ten would be your maximum. Although a great tool, it can be difficult to judge but will give you a rough guide.

The Warm-up

Before I go into the sessions, we must warm up. I would recommend jumping on the bike for 5 minutes and start pedaling lightly. Over 5 minutes, build up the resistance slightly every minute until you feel that you are loosened up to the feel of pedaling, and the heart rate has risen to the point where it feels that you are ready to work.

Sweet Spot Session

TimeActivityWork Rate RPEWork Rate HR
5Warm Up1-6Resting to 60%
50Temp880%
5Cool down8-480% to Resting

A sweet spot session can be regarded as a few things. Most people would consider it a tempo session. For me consists of a sustained high effort. For a session like this id work for anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes, including a warm-up and a cool down. The ideal for myself would be about an hour. I wouldn’t make it fancy. Unlike doing intervals, keep it simple. I go to 8 on my RPE scale or take my heart rate 80% of my maximum, and I hold it there. The session will look a little like this. Sessions like this are great for building a good base of power and becoming comfortable working at a high rate for a long time.

Interval Session

TimeActivityWork Rate RPEWork Rate HRTime Total
5Warm up1-6Resting to 60%5
5Power990%10
5Rest560%15
5Power990%20
5Rest560%25
5Power990%30
5Rest560%35
5Power990%40
5Rest560%45
5Power990%50
5Cool Down590% to Resting55

An interval session is quite different from a Sweet spot because it’s a lot more dynamic. It means we are working at a lot of different places throughout the session. Again I am a firm believer in keeping it simple. These sessions would recommend no more than an hour and be rested and ready to go in strong. These can be structured in many different ways, but my favorite is what I call the 5/5, which looks like this. It’s an entertaining but challenging session and will help build that power base.

Endurance Session

TimeActivityWork Rate RPEWork Rate HR
5Warm up1-6Resting to 60%
10Endurance660%
5Cool Down660% to Resting

This is my favorite kind of session personally, and although challenging, it has so many benefits. Endurance sessions naturally are longer than Sweet spot and Interval sessions and will feel challenging but in a different way. I usually class an endurance session for two hours or more. The work rate is less, but you spend longer on the bike. This session looks a bit like this and has the benefit of burning more calories than the other sessions due to the duration and helps your body become more efficient as it learns the process of cycling better.

Cool Down

The cooldown is quite often ignored but plays a big part in the recovery. We cool down to help remove lactic acid from the legs and put some fresh oxygenated blood in the muscles. I never ignore a cooldown, and I feel it’s an excellent healthy way to finish a session. Although it feels like more time on the bike, it has such a significant benefit in the long run.=

A Final Note

When it comes to spinning, you have many different options to explore when it comes to training. These are just three options that you have available. You also have Sprint Sessions, Power Sessions, and many more, but I focus on these three to get started. You will find many indoor cycling applications online to give you workouts, such as peloton and the GCN Application, but if these don’t take your fancy and you like doing your own thing, this is perfect. The most important thing is getting on the bike and having a workout, as the benefits of exercise are huge. If you can find sessions you enjoy, it will make it much more manageable.

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