You can do more with a stationary bike than just hop on it and ride. If you approach your bike workouts with a plan in mind, you're much more likely to see results, stick to your workouts and meet your goals. Improve both your aerobic fitness and your strength by developing a personalised plan for using your exercise bike.
Consider Your Goals
What do you want to get out of your bike workouts? Are you aiming for improved overall fitness, weight loss or increased strength? Are you wanting to use the exercise bike workouts as a way to train for on-the-road cycling activities? Your answers to these questions will determine how you should design your own exercise plan. Whatever your personal goals, you should always include warm-ups and cool-downs with every workout's activities.
Create a Plan
Include a number of different workouts in your plan to best increase your fitness and work toward your goals. Most people will want to use a rotation of tempo, interval and hill workouts, which are described in this article. Those looking for increased fitness can just vary these as they please, though cyclists looking to simulate planned activities--like 100-mile century rides or other endurance events--will want to mimic their goal activities in their workouts to some degree. Hill and interval workouts will help all exercisers build leg strength and sprinting ability, along with speed.
Keep a Tempo
Tempo workouts proceed at a smooth, comfortable pace that you can maintain while also being able to talk. The speed of the ride should be somewhat challenging and consistent throughout the ride. Ride at this consistent pace for a duration that is appropriate to your fitness. Beginners may be able to do a tempo ride of a half-hour or less; advanced exercisers could aim for an hour and a half or much more, depending on their personal goals and fitness level.
Do Some Intervals and Climb Some Hills
Interval and hill workouts both challenge you to repeatedly step up to an increased intensity for a short time during the workout, then return to a manageable pace for recovery. You repeat this cycle throughout the workout, and the workout length is dependent on your fitness level. In an interval workout, you will typically increase your leg speed on the bike and sometimes also add a bit more resistance. In a hill workout, you add resistance to simulate climbing hills outside. Interval workouts burn fat and increase weight loss for many exercisers, while also building your speed and sprinting ability. Hill workouts are great for building leg strength and muscle.