How to Mix Calisthenics with Your Peloton or Stationary Bike Workout

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Stationary bike workouts are a great way to diversity your fitness training.
Builder constructionman Sean Rodriguez-Lopez, left, and Electronics Technician 3rd Class Tony Juarez, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, ride stationary bikes during the NMCB 1 “Heroes to Home Bike and Run Challenge” at Camp Mitchell on Naval Station Rota, Spain, Jan. 4, 2016. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brannon Deugan/U.S. Navy photo)

Many of us are finding new ways to train at home with stationary bikes and the popular programming that comes with Peloton bike systems. Some are having issues with either working out too hard or not enough. Finding the balance is difficult, but if you have time to train daily, take advantage of it and do something.

You can mix up your schedule to handle the volume of training days. For instance, take a day off or substitute a yoga-based stretching day when you need one. I actually prefer to make an easy day in the middle of the week where I focus on non-impact (biking) cardio and stretching, self-massage and foam rolling.

Check out mobility day -- it is life-changing. This gives you the seven-day week to fit in five tough workouts and a day off or another easy mobility day.

Biking is a great option, but you’ll want to mix in different workouts and an easy day so you are not doing hills, sprint intervals and high-resistance biking every day. That can tax the legs as much as any weighted leg day. Figure out a good split routine.

My advice is to follow this type of routine:

Day 1 -- upper body/moderate bike

Day 2 -- lower body/sprints, hills, intervals bike

Day 3 -- Yoga-based stretching and core work. Add in a mobility-day routine if you prefer. Easy bike cooldown.

Repeat the same sequence for Day 4, 5, 6 and have Day 7 as your day off and float that one in the week as needed in case you overdo it one day.

Arranging the workout this way will give your muscles an opportunity to recover. Since you are biking nearly every day, you need to mix up the bike workouts so your legs can recover as some bike, spin, Peloton workouts are tough.

My advice is to do an easy-to-moderate bike routine after an upper body workout as on Day 1 and Day 4, then on Day 2 and Day 5, you do a harder bike routine mixed with sprints, hills and intervals on leg day. This way you can work your legs hard but give them a few days to recover before doing it again.

Listen to your body. My general rule about training is to have a day off or easy day roughly midweek after two or three workouts. Sometimes, I like to double up on my mobility days when I overdo it, or on days after a poor night’s sleep when I feel low energy. This way, I do not skip the workout.

Here is a sample three-day split routine that you would repeat two times to make a full week of training. You can change up each day with other options, as we do on Day 4, 5 and 6 using minimal equipment:

Day 1 -- Upper

Warm up with bike upper-body stretches

Repeat 5 times

Jumping jacks or jump rope 30 seconds

Push-ups 10

Repeat 3 times

Biceps into military press 10

Bench dips 10

Pull-ups or rows 10? Max pull-ups?* TRX?

*or pick upper-body exercises you like -- add to circuit above

Bike last: Steady bike ride for 30-45 minutes as desired -- avoid hills, intervals, sprints …just maintain a good solid pace (not too fast -- not too slow) -- maybe a goal of 15 mph?

Day 2 -- Lower

Warm up with bike lower-body stretches

Repeat 5 times

Jumping jacks or jump rope 30 seconds

Squats 10

Wall sits 1 min

Walk up/down stairs 5x

Lunges 10/leg

Heel raises 20

*mix in any other leg, hip exercise you prefer.

Bike 20-30 min hard last or mix in a five-minute sprint or intervals into above circuit if you prefer.

This bike workout should be focused on speed, intervals (Tabata), hills, resistance pyramids, etc., with an easy 10- to 15-minute cooldown bike and stretch.

Day 3 -- Yoga/Core

Choose a yoga workout you prefer, mixed with core work. It’s easy to find a yoga session on YouTube that is challenging but offers recovery, too.

Bike cooldown -- easy bike cooldown. 30-40 min

This is what I do for my mobility day:

Repeat 5 times

Bike 5 minutes moderate

Stretch, foam roll, massage 5 minutes

These stretches can be body-part focused or part of a yoga flow.

I like to end my workouts in the pool by treading water -- no hands and doing all the dynamic stretches I can think of in chest-deep water for 10 minutes easy.

Day 4 -- Upper

Can be the same as Day 1 or you can mix up or add in new exercises, but it’s roughly the same dance.

Another idea is to have fun with a pyramid:

1 push-up -- bike 1 minute; 2 push-ups -- bike 1 minute; 3 push-ups -- bike 1 minute ... keep going until you fail at push-ups, then repeat in reverse order. This may get you 1-10-1 = 19 sets and 100 push-ups. It’s a fun challenge. Mix in other exercises, too.

Any time I do push-ups, I always balance with opposing muscle groups I call the PT reset -- great for posture:

PT reset

Rev push-ups: 20

Birds: 20

Arm haulers: 20

Swimmers: 1 min

Side plank 1 min (right)

Plank 1 min

Side plank 1 min (left)

Day 5 -- Lower

Can be the same as Day 2, or you can mix up or add in new exercises but it’s roughly the same dance.

I like the squat pyramid as my warmup. It’s similar to a push-up pyramid but with squats. I usually do this running 100 meters, but biking is fine, too. But instead of doing 1-10-1 -- consider going to 1-20 and get 210 squats. But maybe try the 1-10-1 first if 100 squats in a workout is not a normal activity for you.

Then hit it hard on the bike again with sprint, intervals, hills, etc., for 20-30 minutes.

End with an easy 10- to 15-minute cooldown bike and stretch.

Day 6 Yoga/Core -- Easy Day

Can be the same as Day 3

Yoga workout you prefer mixed with core work that you like to do

Bike and cardio are optional; just yoga and core are fine, too.

Bike cooldown -- easy for 20-30 minutes

Day 7 -- Day off but move this day around in your seven-day week as preferred if you need a day off in the middle of the week.

This is a good way to arrange workouts so you are still active daily, but can introduce recovery days into the week with clever split routines. Just remember the upper-lower-easy split routine.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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