A Quickie Cycling Workout to Suit Any Hectic Schedule

When life is crazy-busy, this high-intensity 20-minute ride is what you need.

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It’s a frustrating irony: When life gets super stressful and extra busy, you really need an intense workout like indoor cycling more than ever. But sometimes your hectic schedule just doesn’t allow you to fit in a class. So you throw in the towel before you even start the workout. That’s a mistake!

There’s a better option: An abbreviated solo workout you can do in 20 minutes whenever it’s convenient for you.

Think of it as your personal version of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT)-style ride. This way, you can get your sweat on in a time-efficient way and still get all your errands and other obligations accomplished, too.

The playlist is up to you, though it’s best if you choose songs with a high beats-per-minute rate (BPM). Have a towel handy (because you will sweat buckets!) and fill a water bottle to keep you hydrated during the workout. Then go to it!

3 minutes: Warm up. With your hands on the back of the handlebars, sit and pedal with light resistance at a steady pace for 1½ minutes. Add a little resistance. Maintain the same pace and transfer the work to your right leg for 30 seconds, then switch it to your left leg for 30 seconds. Engage both legs again. Difficulty (RPE): 4-5

3 minutes: Add resistance and bring yourself to a standing jog. When you pedal in a standing position with moderate to heavy resistance, more muscle fibers are activated, which increases the intensity of the work you’re doing.

Stay steady for 3 minutes. Difficulty (RPE):  6-8

1 minute: Drop some resistance from the bike so you’re just above a flat road and pedal steadily. This is an active recovery interval. Difficulty (RPE):  3-4

3 minutes: Add a fair amount of resistance and bring yourself to a standing position with hands in position 3 (stay hinged at the hips) and pick up your pace so you’re running with resistance (as in, running up a hill).

Difficulty (RPE):  7-9

1 minute: Drop some resistance so you’re just above a flat road and pedal steadily; recover. Difficulty (RPE):  3-4

3 minutes: Add a fair amount of resistance, bring yourself to a standing position and pick up your pace so that you’re running with resistance (as in, running up a hill, with your hands in position 3). This should be difficult and exhausting. Difficulty (RPE):  7-9

1 minute: Find a flat road and pedal steadily. Difficulty (RPE):  3-4

3 minutes: Add a significant amount of resistance, and pedal briskly in a seated position; add resistance every 30 seconds. When you get to the point where you can’t take any more resistance in the saddle, bring yourself up to a standing climb (hands in position 3) and stay there for the duration. Push your limits in terms of pace and resistance. Difficulty (RPE):  8-9

Final 2 minutes: Cool down. Bring your resistance down to a flat road and pedal steadily for 2 minutes. Keep your legs moving and let your heart rate come down slowly.

Difficulty (RPE):  3-4

Take a couple more moments to sit up tall in the saddle and take some big, deep breaths. Do a series of upper body stretches, followed by lower body stretches off the bike.

Quickie workout? Check!

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