How to Mix Calisthenics With Your Peloton or Stationary Bike Workout

Stationary bicycle workout
(Getty Images)

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 in order 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 for training as you can do it daily, 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 desired or 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 actually 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, as it is easy to push myself too much with daily workouts. My general rule of thumb when it comes to training is to have a day off or easy day strategically located in your week (roughly mid week after 2-3 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 and break a daily habit of training.

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


Day 1 – Upper

Warmup with bike upper body stretches

Repeat 5 times<br> Jumping jacks or jump rope 30 seconds<br> Pushups 10

Repeat 3 times<br> Bicep into military press 10<br> Bench dips 10<br> Pull-ups or rows 10?<br> 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 miles an hour?

Day 2 – Lower

Warmup with bike lower body stretches

Repeat 5 times<br> Jumping jacks or jump rope 30 seconds<br> Squats 10<br> Wall sits 1 min<br> Walk up/down stairs 5x<br> Lunges 10/leg<br> Heel raises 20

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

Bike 20-30 min HARD last or mix in a 5-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 10-15 minute cooldown bike and stretch.

Day 3 Yoga / Core

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

Bike Cooldown – easy bike cooldown. 30-40min

This is what I do for my mobility day:

Repeat 5 times<br> Bike 5 minutes moderate<br> Stretch, foam roll, massage 5 minutes

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

OPTIONS - I really 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 min easy - LIFE CHANGING!

Day 4 – Upper <br> 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 have fun with a pyramid:

1 push-up – bike 1 minute<br> 2 push-up – bike 1 minute<br> 3 push-up – bike 1 minute<br> 4….keep going up 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.

Anytime I do push-ups, I always balance with opposing muscle groups I call the PT Reset – great for posture:

PT RESET: <br> Rev Push-ups -20 <br> Birds -20 <br> Arm haulers-20 <br> Swimmers 1 min <br> Side plank 1 min (right)<br> Plank 1 min<br> Side plank 1 min (left)

Day 5 Lower

Can be the same as Day 2 or you and 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 10-15 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 is optional – just yoga and core is fine too.

Bike Cooldown – easy bike cooldown for 20-30 minutes

Day 7 – Day off but move this day around in your 7 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 are able to 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

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