Peloton tips and tricks: How to make the most out of your workout

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There’s more to riding your bike than meets the eye

ByNicole Scott

Fitness is about developing routines and forming habits, so don’t get stuck using just a portion of your bike’s potential! If you’re new to Peloton and are looking to getting the most out of your bike, or already on your 100th ride, we’re sure you’ll find something useful in this list of tips and tricks

Peloton is more than just a bike

Yoga, sleep, strength training — your Peloton has it all. Add in another form of exercise when your legs get tired or you can’t bring yourself to get on the bike. Think about forming a holistic workout plan based on the hundreds of classes Peloton has to offer. If that sounds overwhelming, just try out something new: dance cardio or some chair stretching or learn to use that foam roller you bought at a garage sale 5 years ago! You’ve got so much more at your fingertips than just a spin class. Explore it!

Stretch. Every. Single. Time.

Stretching if the most important part of the workout. You become more prone to injury and tighter on your next ride if you don’t.

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Check your set up, even if you’ve been riding your bike a while

Follow the intro videos about setting the seat height and depth (Christine has a great one here), and know that one of the most common setup errors that go unnoticed is that people don’t have the seat high enough.

Change instructors

As you get in better shape your preferences will change over time, someone that you might not have liked when you first started  could be your new favorite.

Do a beginner class

Even 50 rides later, I went back and learned a few things about form I had overlooked.

Check your form every time the instructor tells you to

I injured my wrist, I was riding a little too far forward, but also I wasn’t watching my form. After coming back from my injury I consciously corrected my form every time they told me to, and it feels amazing each time I actually had to make adjustments.

Stop your knee from turning the resistance knob

This means you’re too far forward. Hitting the red knob whether you’re in or out of the saddle means you’re sinking into your joints, and you end up putting weight into your thighs or arms instead of engaging your core. The solution? Push your hips and booty back so your weight is right over the saddle.

Just like real life, there is no pause button

Accept it, there is no way to pause classes. Stop looking. If you drop your water bottle or the doorbell rings, you can’t pause the ride. People have been asking for it since the bike launched but Peloton wants to keep the rides honest. If you take a break you’ll be fresh.

Are you pulling up on the pedals?

Pushing down on the pedals happens naturally. Focus on lifting the opposite foot so you engage your hamstring and glute muscles. It will also increase your output, if you’re going after a personal best, you’ll get more out of your stroke if you’re using your quads on the front of your leg and your hamstring and glutes on the back.

Watch your grip

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How tight are you holding onto those handlebars? They’re there for stability, not support. Relying on them to support your weight takes away the core and quad work you’re after. Flutter or flex your fingers during the hard parts (we do it a lot during sprints out of the saddle) to check in on form throughout the class.

Double tap the screen

If you want to get rid of the progress indicators, leaderboard, music and high fives, double tap the screen. If you do it again, it will bring everything back. I find this useful when I throw my towel down and I hide something I want to see. Rather than trying to tap a specific button, I just double tap the screen a few times.

Listen to the songs you liked even after the ride 

Ever wondered what happens to all the songs you liked during a ride? If you connect your Spotify or Apple Music accounts, every song will be added to your playlist! When you do, you’ll see a playlist called My Peloton Music by (username).

Lower the instructors voice

If you have classes where you loved the sound track, save them and then choose to have more music and less instructor. It’s amazing how much having motivational music blasting helps. Hit the volume button on the right hand side of the display and on the touch screen change the mix. Note that you have to do it each time as it always resets back to an even mix of music and voice.

5-minute workouts don’t have the 60-second intro

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No getting around the fact that the instructors’ 60-second chat before a ride is annoying. If you want to stack your workouts, you might want to consider doing a few 5-minute workouts instead. They start right away and if you save a bunch you like you’ll be able to get through them pretty quickly.

Try more short classes

Opting for multiple short classes in a day instead of long ones will also lead to getting your milestones earlier. Once you reach a milestone stage — 50, 100, or any other rounded up number, opt for a live ride. You might just get that shoutout!

How to get a shout out

Take a live class. This may be obvious to most but if you’re new to Peloton it may be unclear. The instructor can only shout you out if you are on with them in real-time.

Have an easy to read leaderboard name. If your name is long, has a lot of numbers or no capitalization, it can be hard for an instructor to spit it out while leading a class. If you’re willing to alter your Pelo-identity, try to use real words or phonetic spellings so it is easy to read and to say. And yes, you can change your name without losing all your stats.

Join class early. Live classes usually start 3 or 4 minutes prior to the recorded session and “when the lights go down.” During this time instructors casually chat with the people in studio. They also scroll through the leaderboard to see who is on and give quick shout outs. It might not quite be the same as getting it during that final hill but it is nice to know they see you and it can give your entire workout a boost.

Ride on your birthday. Make sure your birthday is set in your profile.

Use an easy-to-read name. Some saucy name will never get shoutouts and if it’s really vulgar, Peloton HQ will probably ask you to change it.

Toe clips are great! For your friends…

I made the mistake of getting toe clips instead of shoes. I made this choice not because I was being cheap, but because I wanted to share the joy of Peloton.

The problem with using toe clips instead of real shoes is that you can’t pull up when you’re bringing your foot around. I’m not a cyclist, I didn’t think that these things mattered. After a few months I decided to get the shoes and it made a huge difference! If you want to increase your output and workout your whole leg, you need the shoes.

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I’ve gotten good at clipping and unclipping the toe clips. The first time it took 30 minutes, now it takes just 30 seconds! I still suggest if you want people to come around and use the bike, they’re worth every penny.

Make clipping out a little easier

What I learned about installing the toe clips is that you have to loosen one of the screws. I also noticed that if I forgot to tighten it, it was really easy to unclip. It takes practice to snap your foot out in a single graceful movement. Cheat a little, loosen the screw. The disadvantage to doing this is that when I’m standing and have my full weight pushing and pulling on pedals I hear a creak. You need to twist your ankle out at a 90 degree angle out from the bike. I’m never in danger of my foot unclipping, but it sounds like I need to tighten things up a bit, which I do.

Don’t loosen it too much, you risk damaging your pedal if it’s too loose.

Understand the types of rides

If you’re new to Peloton, some of the terminology and slang used will probably be confusing. Here are some basic ride types to get you started:

Low-Impact. This doesn’t mean low effort, but in general it means that the cadence won’t go over 100, the resistance won’t go over 50, and there will be little or no “out of the saddle” sections (i.e. standing).

Groove. This type means less cadence dictated by the instructor and more based on riding to the beat of the music. It can also sometimes include more movement on the bike. When people ask, “what ride is more like Soul Cycle?” this is one of the frequent answers.

Live DJ. This means exactly what it says: a live DJ is in studio mixing songs and helping to drive the class. These are fun when the DJ and the instructor have a good rapport.

HIIT. High intensity interval training or HIIT is a series of intense periods followed by a quick rest period. PRO TIP: avoid doing this as your first ride.

Tabata. This is a type of HIIT ride, but it follows a specific pattern. The classic Tabata pattern is 20 seconds of effort followed by a 10 second rest. I think “Tabata” translated means sweaty; or death.

70’s / 80’s / Y2K / Classic Rock / EDM. These are rides based on the associated genre of music, and it’s not limited to these. There’s country, jazz, broadway, etc.

Power Zone. Based on your calculated Functional Threshold Power, these rides direct you through seven different zones of output from “Very Easy” to “Max Effort.”

Call a Friend

If you’re wondering what the 5MP camera on the bike is for, during a live ride you can do a call with a friend. But first, you have to be friends on Peloton. In your Profile settings, go to Social, then Enable video chat.

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During a live ride, invite friend to ride at the same time. Click on their name on the leaderboard and an option to call them will appear. This will activate the camera located on the top part of your screen. A small window showing their video feed will appear on the instructor’s right. Now, you can see each other as you ride, talk (if you can) in between each pedal stroke, and enjoy milestones together — virtually, of course.

Fair warning: make sure to only use this feature with good friends because that angle is not flattering. There are only so many people that I would let watch me die during one of Irène Scholz’s rides.

Did we miss any tips or tricks? Let us know in the comments!

— with additional tips from Carol RH Malasig

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