1

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HIIT on a Spinning bike?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 31, 2012 at 3:51 PM

So I'm an injured (fat) cardio bunny. I've been running 10-20 miles a week for the last 20 months, including 3 half marathons. However, 3 weeks ago, I wrecked my shoulder and my consultant has strongly advised me that I won't be able to run for at least a couple of months (he's worried about the vibration loosening the screws in my shoulder). He did say that I could start using a stationary bicycle for cardio though.

As luck would have it, I recently purchased a nice shiny (expensive) spinning bike. Before my injury I was using it for 60 minute sessions as an alternative to running in the cold. I could just continue being a cardio-bunny, but I thought that this might be an opportunity to try a bit of HIIT instead.

Trouble is, I don't really know what I should be doing:

  1. How long?
  2. What intensity?
  3. What interval lengths?
  4. How many times a week?

My aims are to keep some sort of aerobic fitness (for when I can start running again) and to lose some more weight (so that I'll be a slighlty less fat runner).

I've read a little about Tabanta and Little methods, but I'd like to hear some practical advice on how to best approach this?

Also happy to hear any other advice on how I can workout with one arm strapped up.

Sorry for being a cardio bunny. Please forgive me.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 09, 2013
at 12:27 PM

Thanks CD - I've been having a go at the Sprint 8 protocol to begin with. I like the sound of your VHIIT as a "next step".

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:45 PM

weight training in higher reps gets a bad rep in much of the paleo-sphere, but I don't buy it. I think it's great for conditioning, and building useable muscle. I don't think I would be able to do tucked planch push ups, free standing handstand pushups, or pistol squats that I incorporate into workouts now if I didn't build a strong foundation through higher volume weight training.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:35 PM

on occasion- 12, 15, 25, sometimes 50 reps/set. But I think you should start with 12 reps per set. Find what exercises you can do, and do as many sets as you can without killing yourself but while still getting sufficient work done (make sure you feel the muscle working and get a good "pump" in the muscle).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:30 PM

And I'm sure you'll be fine in gyms. Smith Machines might be useful to get started, but I wouldn't rely on them once you're healed. Start with whatever leg exercises you can do, keep up a brisk pace, and go till muscular failure. Some exercises I'm sure you'll be able to manage are leg press, smith machine squats, leg extensions, leg curls, seated calf raises, smith machine split squats. Personally when I workout I usually aim for 10 reps at heaviest weight I can manage (and then increase the weight once I can hit 10 reps with perfect form). But I do also incorporate higher rep sets..

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Great! I am honestly very glad you're deciding to start picking up some weights. I think it will really do wonders. You'll end up changing your body composition and not just "get thinner." You'll get tighter/leaner. You'll feel better. If you end up getting too drained physically from the training (it is very different metabolically than running) perhaps look into the CKD.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Good stuff Peter - there goes my New Years Eve with my head buried in my laptop.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:22 PM

...although from a practical point of view, I'm not sure that any gym is going to let me train with my arm strapped up. I also wonder if I'll ever be able to deadlift with my right arm - but again, managing to do any deadlifting is an interesting challenge for the future.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:20 PM

Thanks FY - this is great advice, which I fully intend to follow. As a 240lb runner, I already have highly developed leg muscles (almost freakishly so compared to other runners). I think that the some of these exercises would be a good challenge for me...

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4 Answers

2
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on December 31, 2012
at 07:18 PM

I ride my bike on the trainer during the winter. I cannot do long cardio indoors though, too boring. I tend to prefer tabata intervals when I am cycling. 8 rounds of 20s full spring followed by 10s slow recover. It's 4 minutes of absolute hell. I then typically take a 4 minute break (this is a good time to puke or drink some water). Then go again (you may not be able to do 2 rounds the first time out). Work up to 4 rounds of 8 and you will be ridiculously tired (and it's only 16 minutes of biking and 12 minutes of rest -- 28 minute workout)

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on January 09, 2013
at 12:27 PM

Thanks CD - I've been having a go at the Sprint 8 protocol to begin with. I like the sound of your VHIIT as a "next step".

1
B41cdb2253976ba9b429dd608d02c21f

(1495)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:24 PM

You might get some ideas from Crossfit Endurance's website, esp. if you have a Spin bike that tracks miles. I have people do a variety of drills from Tabata to longer intervals. You can do speed Tabata or crank it real heavy and hold for the 20 seconds, then take off the resistance for the rest period (I usually do this as a reverse tabata with 10 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest). An example of a longer interval might be to work at 85-90% for a period of time like 5 minutes, then back off and rest for a period of time (you can do a 1:1 work to rest ratio or make it harder and rest 50% of the work time). You can do these as speed or climb intervals. One other thing I do is set the resistance and leave it alone and alternate between a faster, sprinting pace and a slower recovery pace. The sprints with the resistance will burn up the quads pretty fast. You can do the opposite and set a speed and add or remove resistance - gives you the same kind of effect. Make sure you also work to engage the hamstrings and calves by pulling your foot across the bottom of the pedal stroke and leg up to the top of the pedal stroke.

Someone mentioned leg training and that's a great idea as well. Just know that if you combine the two, your legs can only take so much, so the weights will probably be light for the leg work. I train for triathalon and teach Spinning, so I can't really do max effort work with my legs because they are always so exhausted. It's the trade off for endurance sports.

1
7f266add28a9edc3e869f663c8a5bed6

on December 31, 2012
at 05:25 PM

I really like the Poliquin Blog for exercise routines and studies. Here is a link/return to interval training and/or HIIT questions and studies. There are different approaches and theories around duration and rest/recovery periods.

http://www.charlespoliquin.com/searchresults.aspx?q=Interval&cx=006697053188363518526:0po-e-1jumq&cof=FORID:11&ie=UTF-8&sa=Search

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Good stuff Peter - there goes my New Years Eve with my head buried in my laptop.

1
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on December 31, 2012
at 04:31 PM

How often and of what duration really depends on your fitness level and what the rest of your training looks like. If that's all you're doing, I'd say 1 minute HAM alternated with 1 minute steady pace recovery for a total of 20-30 minutes (10-15 interval) 4x per week, with steady state walking daily immediately following for 40+ minutes.

That being said, if I had a shoulder injury, I wouldn't just be sitting on a bike. In fact, I probably wouldn't sit on a bike at all (I can't stand recumbent bikes). Instead, for cardiovascular training I'd do high volume lower body workouts every 3rd day, high volume core workouts daily, and then either walk for 1 hour+ or do kickboard drills in the pool on days that I'm not in the gym working lower body.

For the lower body workouts I'd do higher reps (10-12+), shorter rest (30-45 seconds...60 MAX), and higher volume (20+ sets). For instance, I'd do 8 sets x 12 reps barbell squats, followed by 6x12 leg press, followed by 6x12 leg extension supersetted with 6x12 lying ham curls, followed by 4 sets of 12 stiff leg deadlifts. After that I'd do 10 sets of 12 calf raises (5 seated and 5 standing) followed by an abdominal routine (200 reps hanging leg raises in as little time as possible with perfect form followed by 100 reps or straight bar Russian twists in as little time as possible with perfect form followed by 50 reps of physio-ball pikes and then finished with 25 reps of overhead barbell decline sit ups).

That's what I would do. Regardless, I think that you should start lifting to improve your bone density and upper body strength (for when your healed...and for conditioning and for fat loss), so I think you should do something similar. Maybe start doing 1/4 of the sets for the weight workouts and then build up sets as your physical stamina and exercise tolerance increases. Abs aren't necessary, but I'd MUCH rather do a fast paced abdominal workout than a HIIT on a stationary recumbent bike.

But, of course, ultimately you should just do what you think you can stick to. I wouldn't be able to stick to days and days on a stationary bike. In addition as I said before I think you would benefit greatly from taking up weight training in addition to your running. Now may as well be the perfect time to start, and start with your lower body too as it's a place where many guys neglect.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:20 PM

Thanks FY - this is great advice, which I fully intend to follow. As a 240lb runner, I already have highly developed leg muscles (almost freakishly so compared to other runners). I think that the some of these exercises would be a good challenge for me...

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:35 PM

on occasion- 12, 15, 25, sometimes 50 reps/set. But I think you should start with 12 reps per set. Find what exercises you can do, and do as many sets as you can without killing yourself but while still getting sufficient work done (make sure you feel the muscle working and get a good "pump" in the muscle).

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:30 PM

And I'm sure you'll be fine in gyms. Smith Machines might be useful to get started, but I wouldn't rely on them once you're healed. Start with whatever leg exercises you can do, keep up a brisk pace, and go till muscular failure. Some exercises I'm sure you'll be able to manage are leg press, smith machine squats, leg extensions, leg curls, seated calf raises, smith machine split squats. Personally when I workout I usually aim for 10 reps at heaviest weight I can manage (and then increase the weight once I can hit 10 reps with perfect form). But I do also incorporate higher rep sets..

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:22 PM

...although from a practical point of view, I'm not sure that any gym is going to let me train with my arm strapped up. I also wonder if I'll ever be able to deadlift with my right arm - but again, managing to do any deadlifting is an interesting challenge for the future.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:45 PM

weight training in higher reps gets a bad rep in much of the paleo-sphere, but I don't buy it. I think it's great for conditioning, and building useable muscle. I don't think I would be able to do tucked planch push ups, free standing handstand pushups, or pistol squats that I incorporate into workouts now if I didn't build a strong foundation through higher volume weight training.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on December 31, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Great! I am honestly very glad you're deciding to start picking up some weights. I think it will really do wonders. You'll end up changing your body composition and not just "get thinner." You'll get tighter/leaner. You'll feel better. If you end up getting too drained physically from the training (it is very different metabolically than running) perhaps look into the CKD.

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