Riding Solo: A Steady Ride to Stamina

Try this smart, fitness-boosting workout between strength and interval rides.

Many indoor cyclists adopt the mindset of harder, faster! They come to class expecting to have their butts whipped—and anything less isn’t appealing. Well, here’s a newsflash: With indoor cycling, as with many things in life, sometimes the secret to success is to work smarter, not harder. That’s where endurance rides come in.

With a lower-intensity endurance ride, the goal isn’t to blast your maximum heart rate into the stratosphere or challenge your muscles with the highest possible resistance.

An endurance ride is steady and constant but it isn’t easy. Because it involves an extended period of consistent effort, it’s challenging mentally (to keep you engaged) and physically (to maintain a steady pace and heart rate). What you’re building with rides like this is stamina and the ability to use oxygen more efficiently, benefits that will enhance your fitness foundation.

Some people think endurance rides sound boring but they don't have to be. The one that follows keeps things interesting because it varies the pace, body position, and resistance levels within the endurance-building zone. Download the following songs and create a playlist. Have a towel handy (because you will break a sweat) and a large water bottle to keep you well hydrated during the workout. Then, get ready to ride.

Song:  Celebration (Benny Benassi Remix Edit), Madonna

What to Do: Warm up. With your hands on the back of the handlebars, sit and pedal with light resistance at a steady pace for 2 minutes.

Transfer the work to your right leg for 30 seconds, then your left leg for 30 seconds. Engage both legs for the last minute.

Duration: 4 minutes                       Speed (RPM): 80-100          Difficulty (RPE):  4-5

Song:  Feel Again, One Republic

What to Do: Add moderate resistance and pedal while seated for 30 seconds.

Add a little more resistance, take your hands out to position 3, stand and pick up your pace for 30 seconds. Shift to an upright standing jog with hands in position 2 for 30 seconds. Return to the saddle. Repeat the sequence.

Duration: 3 minutes                        Speed (RPM): 60-80            Difficulty (RPE):  5-6

Song:  Dil Se Re, A. R. Rahman 

What to Do: Add a bit more resistance so you can really feel the road beneath you (but not so much that you feel like you’re on a hill). Pedal smoothly while seated at a quick pace for 3 minutes. Bring yourself to a standing jog with your hands in position 2 for 30 seconds; return to the saddle. Ride seated for the rest of the song.

Duration: 6 ¾ minutes        Speed (RPM): 80-90                        Difficulty (RPE): 6-7

Song:  Thunder Clatter, Wild Cub

What to Do: Drop a little resistance so you feel like you’re on a flat road (this doesn’t mean no resistance!). Pedal while seated for 1½ minutes. Add just enough resistance to support you in a standing position; bring yourself up to a standing jog with your hands in position 2 for 45 seconds.

Sit and repeat the sequence.

Duration: 4 ½ minutes        Speed (RPM): 60-80                        Difficulty (RPE): 5-6

Song: When Love Takes Over, David Guetta & Kelly Rowland

What to Do: With moderate resistance on the bike, maintain a steady pace (60 RPMs) for 30 seconds. Then, increase your pace by 10 RPMs (do a cadence check, to be sure) for the next 30 seconds; for the following 30 seconds, increase your pace by another 10 RPMs. Then, drop 10 RPMs from your pace for 30 seconds, and then drop another 10 RPMs for the last minute.  

Duration: 3 minutes                        Speed (RPM):  60/80          Difficulty (RPE):  7-8

Song: Let It Roll, Flo Rida

What to Do: With light to moderate resistance, find a quick baseline pace and pedal steadily for 20 seconds; do a 20-second speed surge (80 to 90 percent of your maximum pace). Go back to your baseline pace and repeat the pattern throughout the song. 

Duration: 3 ¼ minutes          Speed (RPM):  70/90-100            Difficulty (RPE):  7-8

Song: It Was Always You, Maroon 5

What to Do: While seated, pedal at a brisk clip with moderate resistance on the bike (just above a flat road). Keep your pace smooth and steady all the way.

Duration: 4 minutes                        Speed (RPM):  80-90           Difficulty (RPE):  6

Song: Crazy, C Low Superstars

What to Do: With moderate resistance, pedal while seated for 30 seconds. Add a little resistance, stand with your hands in position 3, and pick up your pace for 30 seconds. Shift to a standing jog (hands in position 2) for 30 seconds. Return to the saddle. Repeat the sequence.

Duration: 3 minutes                        Speed (RPM): 60-80            Difficulty (RPE):  5-6

Song: Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, Michael Jackson 

What to Do: Add moderately heavy resistance and do a seated climb at a quick, steady pace for 2 minutes. Bring yourself to a standing climb (hands in position 3), maintaining the same pace for 1 minute. Have a seat and repeat the sequence.

Duration: 6 minutes                   Speed (RPM):  60-70                       Difficulty (RPE):  8

Song: Where Them Girls At, David Guetta (featuring Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida)

What to Do: Bring resistance to just above a flat road and find a pace that feels comfortable to you for 30 seconds. Add a little resistance and maintain your pace for 30 seconds. Add a bit more resistance and maintain your pace for the next 30 seconds. Stand up, move your hands to position 3 and ride at that same steady pace for 30 seconds. Have a seat, drop a little resistance and keep your pace steady for 30 seconds. Decrease your resistance a little more and pedal steadily to the end of the song.

Duration:  3¼ minutes        Speed (RPM):  60-80           Difficulty (RPE):  5-7

Song: Wicked Game, Mimi Page 

What to Do: Cool down. While seated, pedal steadily against light resistance. For the last minute, sit up tall in the saddle, take your hands off the handlebars, and take some deep breaths. Then, do a series of upper body stretches.

Duration: 4 minutes                        Speed (RPM):  60     Difficulty (RPE):  3-4

Congratulations! You’ve just boosted your stamina.

Continue Reading