There are some special benefits to doing your Tabata workout on a bike, according to Robin Arzon, senior instructor at NYC’s Peloton studio. Sure, you’ve tried bodyweight Tabata workouts (hello, burpees)—and even versions where you’re slinging dumbbells through each interval and set.
Crushing intervals (a typical Tabata features 20 seconds of all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated eight times) during a spin sesh is easier on the joints, says Arzon. Plus, the bike allows you to vary your cardiovascular intensity—in other words, you control how hard you go—making it super beginner friendly.
But that’s not saying it won’t still be pretty damn difficult. “I always tell people take the recovery easy and take the interval hard,” says Arzon. “When you’re working those extremes, and riding that roller coaster in a 45-minute class, that might be your hardest workout of the week.”
Luckily, for all that effort, the pay-off could be huge. “You’ll see gains for sure with respect to oxygen capacity, endurance, and leg turnover,” says Arzon. That means you’ll be able to train your body to pedal faster, longer, and harder over time. (Want to get in shape, fast? Check out Women’s Health’s Ignite routine created by Next Fitness Star Nikki Metzger.)
Keep in mind that at such a high intensity, breathlessness and discomfort are OK, but pain is not, says Arzon. It’s fine to go hardcore, but listen to your body and dial it back if you get too uncomfortable. And if you’re a beginner or just getting back in the saddle, take longer recovery periods as needed.
Ready to conquer this Tabata-esque workout? Just follow this formula for the 30-minute cal-torcher created by Arzon that’ll challenge you like no other.
Image by Amanda Becker
Instead of bringing your bike to a complete stop during the rest periods, simply slow your pace or lower your resistance. And did ya notice Arzon mixed it up with a 40/20 interval, too? Gotta keep you guessing in that saddle.