5 Best Peloton Recovery Classes (And why they’re important)


Peloton has hundreds of recovery workouts that help to restore your energy before your next session. In this article, I will explain how to recover from peloton rides and what are the best practices to reduce muscle soreness.

As a whole, to recover from peloton rides you need to spend at least 1-2 days on active recovery or passive recovery. Active recovery is when you do low volume and low-intensity exercise, where passive recovery is when you don’t participate in any activity at all.

In addition to seeing the list below, please read carefully the recommendations, as well as additional references for your reading pleasure.

Best Peloton Recovery Classes

The peloton does have recovery rides and classes where the instructors purposefully reduce cadence and resistance. During the ride, the biggest emphasis is on exercising at a comfortable pace to facilitate blood flow and speed up healing.

Is riding a bike active recovery? As a general rule, riding a bike is a form of active recovery, as long as it’s done with a slow pace and low intensity. The goal of active recovery is not to increase the intensity or elevate the heart rate. The goal of active recovery is to help to facilitate optimal performance.

Do Peloton instructors take rest days? Overall, the peloton instructors also take rest days. Taking a time off is essential for energy, longevity, and performance. Among over 30 peloton instructors, there are 14 live classes added each day. This means each instructor teaches 3-6 days per week.

What happens to your body during a rest day? Overall, during the rest day, the body initiates the proliferation and remodeling of the new cells that have been micro-damaged. It eliminates all byproducts like creatine kinase, myoglobin, and lactate from the body and delivers new nutrient-rich blood.

Learn more: Click here to read more about “peloton diet to lose weight

Here is the list of the 5 best peloton classes for recovery and rest days.

#1 The Power Of Sleep

Sleep is one of the biggest factors when it comes to recovery. In fact, the combination of sleep hygiene, exercise, and diet has been identified as the three main components of recovery that affect each other (Vitale et al. 2019).

Here are some of the examples of how sleep, diet, and exercise mutually affect each other:

  • Sleep deprivation leads to changes in blood sugar, triggers food cravings, and overeating. This leads to poor performance.
  • Overeating leads to poor sleep quality and negatively impact the performance.
Sleep, diet, and exercise mutually affect each other

What is the power of sleep peloton? As a whole, the power of sleep peloton is a 2-week meditation program that consists of 15 classes ranging from 5 to 10 minutes. Each class uses different types of meditation to help clear the mind, relax the body, and down-regulate before going to bed.

Why the power of sleep is good for recovery? Overall, the peloton power of sleep is good for recovery because it helps people fall asleep. Sleeping plays an important role in prophylactic cellular maintenance. It also helps with emotional regulation, metabolic functions, and energy balance.

Sleep is necessary to provide optimal restoration and balance in circadian rhythms. It is well documented that poor sleep can lead to decreases in performance and recovery (Malhotra 2017).

Not only that.

Sleep plays a vital role in brain function and human physiology. Sleep disruption is linked with increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system, disruptions in circadian rhythms, and pro-inflammatory responses (Medic et al. 2017). 

What I like about the power of sleep meditation is it only takes 5 to 10 minutes. This means it doesn’t require a big commitment. Which is easy to develop a habit.

I did the whole 2-weeks thing and already noticed feeling better. Plus, the peloton has also almost 300 single sleep meditations available in their library.

Still curious? Click here to learn more about “best peloton meditations” for sleep and recovery

#2 Outdoor Walking

What I like about peloton walking classes is they have several difficulty levels and all come with guided instructions from trainers, their inspiring stories, as well as tips for recovery.

Studies have shown that brisk walking is one of the most powerful methods for recovering from DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and muscle fatigue (Dupuy et al. 2018).

What is peloton walking? In general, peloton walking is a category of classes available on the peloton digital. It has over 500 classes that range from 10 to 60 minutes that can be done either on the treadmill or outside.

Why peloton walking is good for recovery? As a whole, peloton walking is good for recovery because it increases blood flow, as well as decreases exercise-induced muscle damage and muscle pain. It also helps to facilitate faster muscle adaptations by actively removing pro-inflammatory compounds from the muscles.

During the hard workouts, the muscle fibers perform multiple repeated eccentric contractions. This triggers the microdamage, releases C-reactive protein and lactate into the blood.

As the result, we feel post-exercise muscle pain (Cheung et al. 2013). That happens usually 24 to 72 hours after your session.

Now watch this.

Walking not only helps with the clearance of those compounds that cause inflammation but also enhances circulation which helps to facilitate the transport of nutrients essential for energy and recovery.

So adding 20 to 30 minutes walking session after each peloton class not only helps to maximize the performance but also prevent maladaptation created by too much training load.

#3 Restorative Yoga

Another way of looking at recovery is as a return to play. Or return to readiness, so to speak. And the easiest way to recovery is to not beat yourself up in the first place. When you train optimally this means you can recover.

And the easiest way to train optimally (without overtraining) is to do the least amount of physical (or mental) effort that triggers the most amount of positive adaptations.

  • Walking every day for 30 minutes
  • Stretching 10 minutes after each peloton ride
  • Taking a stairs instead of elevator

But here’s the thing.

The problem is when the overall daily stress (also called allostatic load) reaches the point where the body isn’t able to recover from it.

According to a recent study done by Guidi et al. 2021, allostatic load refers to the cumulative burden of chronic stress and life events and is associated with poorer health outcomes.

In other words, when everything else that is happening with our life (including personal life) exceeds the stress threshold, the body needs more time to recover, even from something as simple as training.

What is peloton restorative yoga? As a whole, peloton restorative yoga is a series of classes designed to engage the relaxation response. The class duration range between 5 to 45 minutes and includes laying down on the blankets, surrounded by pillows and candles.

Why peloton restorative yoga is good for recovery? Overall, peloton restorative yoga is good for recovery because it helps to down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system and activate parasympathetic response. It is also an effective method for relieving occupational stress, as well as enhance recovery after a hard workout.

In short, this class is not about flexibility or stretch. It’s about total time out from the day.

Laying down in easy yoga poses for long periods of time with yoga bolsters, eye pillows, and sandbags help to relax, develops self-awareness, and kick-start the healing process.

Chronic stimulation of the neuroendocrine system by stress can cause metabolic problems that lead to inefficient recovery (Miyoshi 2019).

This means that people who have more stress and a higher allostatic load, instead of doing more high-intensity workouts, should focus on a more relaxing form of exercise.

I find that some of my clients don’t really need to exercise more to reach their goal (e.g. weight loss). They need more relaxing and parasympathetic activities like:

  • Dancing
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Massage
  • Reading
  • Playfulness
  • Time in nature

Seriously.

Peloton restorative yoga is a great example. I always fall asleep during this class. I think this is the best class for the rest days because it helps to unplug and completely detach from all stress and worries.

Learn more: Click here to discover everything there is to know about “peloton yoga for recovery

#4 Slow Flow Yoga

Another form of yoga, slightly more challenging, yet still helpful in activating parasympathetic response is peloton slow flow yoga.

I like to do this class on my days off from training because not only it helps to relax but also reduces muscle tension accumulated from a hard week of training (and work).

What is peloton slow flow yoga? In general, the peloton slow flow yoga is a collection of over 160 yoga classes that last between 20 to 60 minutes. The difference between slow flow and vinyasa yoga is that slow flow has a slower pace, which allows you to hold the poses for longer.

Why peloton a slow flow is good for recovery? As a whole, this class is good for recovery because it helps to significantly lessen the post-exercise muscle soreness and increase the level of functional recovery. It also helps to improve stress reactivity and improve self-confidence.

Several studies have shown that just one single session of yoga class in a non-experienced group of people was enough to promote an anti-stress activity and helps to facilitate the recovery process (Benvenutti et al. 2017).

This means you don’t have to chant mantras, wipe the crust from your “third eye”, or practice yoga every day to get the positive benefits. One session per week is enough to help boost your recovery.

#5 Recovery Ride

Think about the recovery ride as an extended cooldown. This means you should be doing it straight after your main workout. However, if you don’t have time, you can postpone this session for your day off.

What is a peloton recovery ride? In general, a recovery ride is a form of active recovery class that lasts 20 to 30 minutes. It can be done on its own on the day off from training or immediately after the high-intensity ride. You can find recovery rides in the “low impact” category.

Why this class is good for recovery? As w whole, this class is good for recovery because it works by reducing the intensity while still working on the muscle. This helps to increases blood circulation, accelerate lymphatic drainage, and enhances the healing process.

The purpose of the recovery ride is to involve the same muscles that were active during the main exercise. You don’t need to increase cadence or resistance. In fact, your intensity should be minimal, around 30% VO₂ max (Gupta et al. 1996).

This helps to improve overall performance, oxygenate muscles, and reduce muscle fatigue.

I like to add recovery rides immediately after my cycling class, especially when I did HIIT or Tabata sessions. This gives me enough time to reduce inflammation and ensure I will be ready for my next workout.

The only downside is it takes 20 to 30 minutes. So if you struggle with time, I recommend stretching for 5 minutes and come back to your recovery practice later on during the day.

Some of the best peloton recovery rides are with Matt Wilpers and Jess King. These two instructors can keep you engaged and entertained, even during the slow pace rides.

They also share a lot of knowledge and insights about the importance of recovery.

Peloton Recovery Ride vs Low Impact

The difference between peloton recovery rides and low-impact is that low-impact rides have some elements of interval training or climbing where you’re out of the saddle. These increase your heart rate and make the session more strenuous.

On the other hand, in the recovery rides the whole class remains at one intensity.

Are peloton recovery rides worth it? Overall, the peloton recovery rides are worth it because they help to down-regulate after high-volume training, reduce muscle soreness, and increase the elimination rate of blood lactate concentration. This helps to feel less achy for the next day.

How long should a peloton recovery ride be? As a whole, the peloton recovery ride should be between 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the time you ride. If your recovery ride is done straight after your main workout, it should take around 20 to 30 minutes. But if it’s done the day after, you can spend around 60 minutes.

Does Peloton have recovery runs? In general, the peloton does have single recovery runs in their running category. You can find recovery runs by selecting “search” and type in “recovery”. They also have recovery runs in the running programs that teach how to run a 5k or marathon.

What pace is a peloton recovery run? Overall, the peloton recovery run pace is slow, short, and comfortable where you should maintain breathing at 65 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. This type of session is ideally done the day after a hard performance or long-distance run.

Should You Take Rest Days From Peloton?

As a whole, you should take rest days from the peloton, especially if your goal is to have better performance or body composition. Studies have shown that prolonged exercise for more than three consecutive days compromises force and weakens the body.

Initially, you may not “feel” like you need a rest day, but over time you start to see diminishing returns. The body gets weaker and more fatigued as you train more and more (Stewart et al. 2008).

How often should I rest from the peloton? Ideally, you should have designated rest time every week from the peloton because it helps to facilitate better results. Reducing rest time can inhibit muscle adaptations and lead to suboptimal performance. For best results, you should implement active recovery workouts on your non-training days.

How many days rest after a long peloton ride? Overall, you should spend at least 24 to 48 hours resting after a long peloton ride, depending on your fitness level. Skilled and experienced athletes can recover faster because their elimination rate of byproducts is higher, comparing to beginners.

Best Peloton Recovery Drinks

As a whole, the best recovery drinks for after the workout include water with a high-electrolyte profile (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Alternatively, you can add some Himalayan salts to the water before drinking.

Keep in mind that depending on where you live, the number of electrolytes will significantly vary. Here you can read a fascinating study from McGill University in Montreal that compares North American and European bottled water.

Also, keep in mind that “recovery” is a big marketing term. This means a lot of over-priced products will be labeled “recovery drink”, where in reality they have some sugar and more added salts than regular tap water.

What do you drink after peloton? In general, after the peloton, you should drink around 300 to 500 ml of water, together with a small number of carbohydrates and protein. Proteins help to initiate muscle protein synthesis and carbohydrates help to replace used glycogen from the muscles.

Should I drink protein after peloton? As a whole, you should drink protein after the peloton because it helps with the recovery process. Adding fast digestive protein (whey protein isolate) immediately after exercise induces muscle repair and helps to reduce muscle protein breakdown.

What do the peloton instructors drink? As a whole, the peloton instructors drink plenty of water, together with sea salt, lemon, and apple cider vinegar. According to Robin Arzon, the vice president of the peloton fitness program, it helps her to feel replenished and energized.

Some studies show caffeine helps to reduce muscle soreness, as long as it’s consumed in a dose of 5 mg per kilogram of body weight (Hurley et al. 2013).

Peloton Recovery Week

Another well-documented concept is to apply a recovery week once every 2-3 months to relax and avoid a plateau. Peloton recovery week helps to combat and tiredness and continue delivering better results.

What should a recovery week look like? In general, the recovery week should include a structured plan of 4-5 days of low-intensity workouts like walking, stretching, or light recovery rides. It also should include plenty of quality sleep, as well as a diet that is rich in high-protein and high-fiber foods.

What can you do on peloton recovery days? In general, on peloton recovery days you can choose to do active recovery workouts including restorative yoga, outdoor walking, or recovery rides. You can also choose to do a passive recovery which includes non-exercise activities like reading or meditation.

Conclusion

As you can see, it is ok to ride peloton every day, as long as you structure your workouts to include rest time or easy rides.

Those slow-pace workouts can reduce muscle fatigue, decrease muscle soreness and improve overall performance before the next day. They also increase compliance, which adds up to better adaptations and results.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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