I read an article a few weeks ago that mentioned a study finding that you need to use an exercise bike for 40 minutes before you see any benefit from it. Unfortunately I can't find the article anymore.

Let's assume the study was done using an exercise bike having a resistance level of say 10. Now let's say that you set the bike to a resistance level double that (say 20). Would you get the same benefit riding the bike for 20 minutes that you would get if you rode the bike for 40 minutes at the resistance level of 10?

  • 1
    You might want to define "benefit". In general doing something for longer will build endurance and doing it for shorter amounts of time at higher intensity will build strength. Both contribute to fat loss in different ways. Perhaps spell out your goals and priorities.
    – Eric
    Dec 18, 2014 at 23:07
  • @EricKaufman How about the cardiovascular aspect in terms of lowering blood pressure? Dec 18, 2014 at 23:33
  • Either the article was mis-understood or I call BS on it. Perform a 20-mins High Intensity Interval Training exercise on an exercise bike and tell me if your cardio strength, endurance, and body won't feel different after a month :). Jan 18, 2015 at 1:15
  • Yeah, @Kneel-Before-ZOD has a point here. I've also had some unexpectedly good results from HIIT on a spinning bike, and I strongly recommend it for pretty much anyone.
    – Alec
    Mar 23, 2015 at 7:52

2 Answers 2


Yes and no.

Assuming total caloric output would be the same, the results will be similar, but different. There are three components to consider: strength, muscle endurance, and aerobic cellular respiration. See this answer for a more detailed explanation of these factors. Let's keep strength a constant in this case to keep it simple.

As the resistance increases, the amount of energy the muscle needs to siphon from its own personal gas tanks (the energy is stored as ATP in the muscle's sarcoplasm). This is because it may not be able to get the energy it needs quickly enough from glycogen in the blood. That may mean that training under higher resistance for shorter durations can lead to more muscle gain. We're probably talking small percentages in this case.

That said, 20 vs 40 minutes in this modality are pretty similar. I imagine training for 20 minutes instead of 40 might result in slightly more ATP stored in the muscles, but probably not much.


I use to run for 30-40 minutes. For the last 6 months, I have done high instense interval training. My running on the treadmill is not 12-15 min. and I get the same cardio workout. I would suggest you look into this as it is a more effective workout.

  • The ideal answer has better sources than "I tried it and I thought it was better." Do you have any evidence that your cardio workout is really "the same"? That's the crux of the question.
    – Noumenon
    Mar 23, 2015 at 8:18

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