Spin Bike Workout – How to Burn Fat on Your Spin Bike

Photo of author

By David Thoreau

Updated on

fact checked

Man on spin bike

It might sound obvious but spin bikes are a really good way to burn some serious fat. If you haven’t given it a go then you are missing out.

A couple of these intense sessions a week will have you getting in great shape before you know it.

The workout I am going to recommend today should last about 50 minutes. In fact, fat-burning weights sessions should be about the same.

For fat-burning intensity, if you are going longer than that, then you might not be hitting it hard enough. Some people will say 50 minutes is too long, but it works for me.

Basics of Spin Bikes

Spin bikes work on a weighted wheel and constant braking system.

Two brake pads apply pressure to either side of a heavy wheel and you turn a dial to exert more or less pressure from those brake pads onto the wheel. The more braking pressure, the harder it is to cycle.

On the more simple spin bikes (which I prefer), there is literally a dial (like a knob) to turn and that is it.

You pedal, and you turn the dial to make it harder or easier. What could be better?

Woman on a spin bike

Spin Bike Workout – Level of Effort

I look at the dial like a clock face, so when I say – turn the dial about 10 minutes clockwise, it literally means – turn the dial as close to the equivalent of what 10 minutes distance would be on a clock face.

Turning clockwise will make it harder to cycle at the same ‘speed’ and anti-clockwise – easier.

Now, I am not you, so I can’t judge your effort level. I am going to have to describe effort in terms of difficulty from 1 – 10 and I will add some sensation like leg-burn or breathing heaviness to it for good measure.

Where to Spin Bike

I have my own basic spinner in my house, and some of you will as well. Otherwise, most larger gyms have spin classes.

They may also let you use them when there isn’t a class (my gym does). AND, you might find one or two spin bikes out with the general cardio equipment.

Warm up and Warm down

Warm Up: I tend to always do 10 minutes of warm-up where I start cycling easy and make it progressively harder to the end of that time.

It’s important not to push too hard though, you want blood pumping and muscles warm but that’s it.

Warm Down: I use 5 to 10 minutes at the end as well because after the major set of hard work, your legs will be burning and it’s better to spin out some of the lactic acid and be able to get off the bike at the end without being wobbly.

Spin Bike Set Up

Much like a normal bike setup, your leg at extension should not be dead straight – there should be a slight bend at the knee.

Also you should not be scrunched up. You back should be relaxed but straight. You should not be over-stretching for the handle bars.

Can you see the time?

You will need a watch or a clock nearby, this is very time based and you need to hit the different segments on the strike of seconds.

Read through before you start!

Read the whole exercise through before you start – some burst are only 10 seconds long – there won’t be time to read detail as you go, you just want prompts. And you won’t put the right effort in if you are reading for the first time as you spin.


Spin Bike Class

Fat-Burning Spin Bike Workout

Warm-Up Set

Start pedalling so the weight of the wheel almost takes your legs round but you feel some resistance – very easy – effort 1/10
Duration: 60 Seconds

Turn dial 5 minutes clockwise – medium-high cadence – warm up level easy – effort 2/10
Duration: 4 minutes

Turn dial 5 minutes clockwise – medium cadence – warm up level moderate – effort 3/10
Duration: 5 minutes

Warm-Up complete – watch for repeats

Go immediately into Spin #1 and continue through #2, #3, #4 to the end of the Warm-Down – NO BREAKS!!!

Spin #1 – Wind-up set

Turn dial 15 minutes clockwise – pedal at medium-high cadence – effort 6/10
Duration: 30 seconds [legs feel power but minimal burn, breathing deep]

Turn dial back 15 minutes anti-clockwise – pedal relaxed – effort 3/10
Duration: 30 seconds [legs recover]

Repeat x 5 [5 minute segment] [15 minutes total]

Spin #2 – Step-up set

Turn dial 15 minutes clockwise – pedal medium-high cadence – effort 6/10
Duration: 60 seconds [legs will start to burn – breathing quite heavy]

Turn dial back 15 minutes anti-clockwise – pedal relaxed – effort 3/10
Duration: 60 seconds [legs, HR and breathing shouldn’t recover fully back to before – you are stepping up intensity]

Repeat x 5 [10 minute segment] [25 minutes total]

Spin #3 – Peak set

Turn dial 15 minutes clockwise – pedal medium-high cadence – effort 6/10
Duration: 30 seconds [adequate burn at this point – laboured breathing]

Turn dial 5 to 10 minutes clockwise (yes, tougher) and STAND UP out of seat – keep pedalling med-high – effort 7-8/10
Duration: 20 seconds [burn slightly relieved by standing up but tension is high – laboured breathing]

Flick dial clockwise a few minutes and PUT THE HAMMER DOWN – high cadence, still standing – PUMP THOSE LEGS – effort 10/10
Duration: 10 seconds [all out burn, breathing gulps and probably grunting your way through 10 second blast]

Immediately sit back down and drop level back to where you started and recover – effort 2/10
Duration: 90 seconds (1.5 minutes for advanced) [slow and loose – recover]

Repeat x 5 [12.5 minute segment] [37.5 minutes total]

Spin #4 – Dig-in set (same as Set #1)

Turn dial 15 minutes clockwise – pedal at medium-high cadence – effort 6/10
Duration: 30 seconds [legs feel heavy from Peak set – DIG IN!!!]

Turn dial back 15 minutes anti-clockwise – pedal relaxed – effort 2/10
Duration: 30 seconds [slight relief]

Repeat x 5 [5 minute segment] [42.5 minutes total]


Dial back to easy level and spin from high cadence to low cadence until you feel good enough to get off bike and go and take a protein shake.
Duration: 5 to 10 minutes
[7.5 minute segment]

50 minutes Total Workout


Spin Bike Workout – Follow-Up Notes

If you do this right, it’s an absolute fat-shredder. It’s up to you to set the levels for the bike and determine how hard you want to go.

If it feels like you are going to explode, during the last 5 seconds, of the highest tension bit, on the Peak Set, when you are stood up – then you’re doing it right 🙂

IMPORTANT: Do NOT attempt to push yourself to the limit I describe unless you are healthy enough to do so. If you have an existing medical condition, are on medication, pregnant, or any other reason you can think of or just feel you should not – then don’t. Consult your Doctor if you are unsure.

Photo of author

about the author

David Thoreau is a Biotechnologist with a background in life sciences. He has worked for many years on research projects that have helped people improve their quality of life. David has enjoyed collaborating with other scientists around the world, and he loves sharing his knowledge to help educate others about biotechnology.