Solo Ride: The Kick-Your-Own Butt Workout

This High-Intensity Solo Ride Will Challenge You in All the Right Ways.

Sometimes you want a workout that will make you go hard before you go home (or back to work) but you can’t make it to an indoor cycling class. No problem! To the rescue: A high-intensity solo ride that is guaranteed to kick your butt with a series of challenging loops, strength-building patterns and speed segments that repeat in a circuit. Along the way, you’ll encounter resistance additions and decreases, changes in cadence or pace, and transitions from seated to different standing positions—plenty of variety in a challenging format that will push you out of your comfort zone and leave you breathless at times.

Bring lots of energy for this one (because you’re going to need it), as well as a large water bottle to help you stay well hydrated and a towel because you are going to sweat a lot. Your first step is to make a playlist with the following songs then get ready to ride—hard!

Warm up:

Song:  Save Tonight, Eagle-Eye Cherry

What to Do: Warm up. Sit and pedal with light-to-moderate resistance at a steady pace for 1½ minutes. Focus on the quality of your pedal strokes, hitting every point on the circle all the way around with each leg. Keep your pace steady and transfer the work to your right leg for 30 seconds, then to your left leg for 30 seconds. Add a little resistance and engage both legs for the rest of the song.

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

Song:  The Walker, Fitz & The Tantrums

What to Do: Add enough resistance to support you in a standing position, and bring yourself up to a standing jog with your hands in position 2 for 40 seconds.

Walk your hands out to position 3, shift your hips slightly back toward the saddle, and sprint as fast as you can for 15 seconds. Return to a standing jog with your hands in position 2 for 40 seconds, and then move your hands to position 3, shift your hips, and sprint for 25 seconds. Return to a standing jog with your hands in position 2 for 40 seconds, and then move your hands to position 3, shift your hips, and sprint for 30 seconds.

Slow down and finish the song in a standing jog (hands in position 2).

Duration: 4 minutes      Speed (RPM): 70-100          Difficulty (RPE):  7-10

First series of hill loops:

Songs: Loving You (Moon Boots Remix), Lane 8; Woman of the Ghetto (Flume’s Jackin House Mix), Marlena Shaw; Walking With a Ghost, Tegan and Sara; Deep at Night (Adam K and Soha Remix), Ercola & Heikki L

What to Do: Add moderately heavy resistance and do a seated climb for 2 minutes, adding resistance every 30 seconds. Stand up, place your hands in position 3, add a bit more resistance and make it a heavy standing climb for 1 minute, adding more resistance after 30 seconds. Reduce your resistance to simulate riding just above a flat road, have a seat and pedal steadily for 2 minutes. Add a little more resistance (enough to support you in a standing position) and bring yourself to a standing jog (hands in position 2) for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern two more times, for a total of three passes through these loops.

Duration: 18 minutes              Speed (RPM):  50+                         Difficulty (RPE):  7-9

First series of speed loops:

Song: Delirious (Radio Edit), David Guetta 

What to Do: Drop some resistance from the bike so that it feels as though you're riding just above a flat road. While seated, find a moderately quick pace (70-80 RPMs) and pedal steadily for 30 seconds. Then, push your pace to 110 RPMs for 30 seconds. Return to the moderately quick pace and repeat the loop two more times.

Duration:  3 minutes    Speed (RPM):  70-110    Difficulty (RPE):  6-9

Second series of hill loops:

Songs: It’s a Sin (2001 Remaster), Pet Shop Boys; Starlight, Muse  

What to Do: Add moderately heavy resistance and bring yourself up a standing climb for 2 minutes, adding a bit more resistance every 30 seconds. Lower your resistance so that it feels like you're riding just above a flat road, have a seat and pedal steadily for 1 minute. Repeat this pattern two more times.

Duration: 9 minutes    Speed (RPM):  50+                         Difficulty (RPE):  7-9

Second series of speed loops:

Song: Turn Me On, David Guetta & Nicki Minaj  

What to Do: Drop some resistance from the bike so that it feels like you’re riding just above a flat road. While seated, find a moderately quick pace (70-80 RPMs) and pedal steadily for 30 seconds. Then, push your pace to 110 RPMs for 30 seconds. Return to the moderately quick pace and repeat the loop two more times.

Duration:  3¼ minutes    Speed (RPM):  70-110    Difficulty (RPE):  6-9

Time to cool down:

Song: In the Waiting Line, Zero 7    

What to Do: Drop your resistance until it simulates a flat road and pedal steadily for 1 minute; while your legs are moving, focus on releasing any tension from your muscles. While your legs continue to pedal, sit up tall in the saddle and take some big, deep breaths then do a series of upper body stretches. Bring your bike to a stop, climb off, and do a series of lower body stretches off the bike, followed by stretches for your back if desired.

Duration:  4½ minutes   Speed (RPM):  60-80    Difficulty (RPE):  3-4

Before you head to a shower, give yourself a visual high-five in the mirror! You deserve it, for a challenging job well done. You are now officially stronger, faster, and fitter.

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