Best Peloton Strength Classes For Beginners

One thing that separates Peloton from other platforms is that apart from cycling workouts they also offer over 200 strength classes for beginners and they all vary in length between 5 to 30 minutes.

After going through hundreds of strength classes, I’ve decided to dust off my keyboard and show you which ones are most effective.

picture of a fitness class

In general, the best peloton strength classes for beginners are 20-minute full body wokrouts becasue they help to build a strong foundation while elevating your heart rate. These are the circuit training style sessions where you perform one exercise for 30-40 seconds, followed by 10-20 seconds of rest.

Here is my general answer, but if you wanna know more details about which classes should you take (and why), keep reading.

Full Body Strength (20 minutes)

Peloton full body strength classes come in a variety of duration, but I believe that 20 minutes is the most suitable for beginners. This is enough time to stimulate training adaptations in untrained individuals, without risking overtraining and fatigue.

In fact, studies have shown that 20-30 minutes of circuit-style training can be as effective in improving strength and cardio fitness as traditional resistance training programs.[1]

Terrence R Myers, PhD., a researcher from the University of Lethbridge, said that “Circuit-based whole-body aerobic resistance training program can elicit a greater cardiorespiratory response.”

“It can also lead to similar muscular strength gains with less time commitment compared with a traditional resistance training program,” Dr. Myers says.

Two things I like about the peloton full body workouts, which may be in line of what you’re looking for.

  • First, it doesn’t leave any muscle behind.
  • Every class has between 30 to 50 different exercises (covering all body), all done on time or number of reps (with that many exercises, I always recommend getting 2 sets of dumbbells).
  • Second, as much as every class covers every muscle group, each session is completely different.

Take a look at the graph below.

picture from peloton app that illustrates muscles worked during a class
Two full body strength classes are completely different

This is a picture from two peloton full-body strength classes for beginners. As you can see, they both target all muscle groups, but there is a different proportion of which muscles they prioritize.

  • The class on the left focused more on the core, obliques, and glutes.
  • The class on the right is more on the shoulders, core, and triceps.

Jess Sims

If you’re ready to challenge yourself, I recommend you filter the Jess Sims Full Body Strength. She starts her workout with some breathing exercises and core moves to activate the spine and core muscles.

Her class is divided into two sections. In each section, you will do 4 exercises that cover your whole body with minimum rest in between. However, the pace is slow and the intensity is low so you can definitively follow along.

What I like about this workout is that is easy to follow and slow-paced. Great for people who are getting started. However, you will need to be able to go down on the floor.

Easy to follow
Covers whole body
Require modified push up
Require being on your knees for one exercise

Robin Arzon

Another great full-body strength instructor that is worth putting your cycling shoes on is Robin Arzon. She only teaches 9 strength classes for beginners, but her workouts kick ass.

Most of her 20-minute full-body classes require a couple of dumbbells.

What I like about her class she keeps the time on the floor minimum so this is perfect for people who just getting started and maybe not so fit to go up and down all the time.

She is doing a lot of bodyweight squats, lunges, and arms work with dumbbells. The exercises follow the pattern so it’s easy to do. Each section has 3 exercises and you repeat the section 3 times.

The hardest exercise is a modified bear crawl where she stays low in the box position with her knees 2 inches off the floor and tapping her shoulders.

A lot of leg work
Easy to follow exercise
Requires doing a lunge, so it can be too hard for people who have knee problems.
Requires doing down on the floor on your knees.

Olivia Amato

Another great instructor to try is Olivia Amato. Olivia has been notoriously known for her hardcore cycling HIIT and Interval classes. She is one of the hardest peloton instructors.

Her classes can be done either with or without weights.

Olivia takes you through 3 circuit style workouts with functional exercises that engaged several muscle groups at once. She doesn’t just do squats.

She also adds rotation, and arms press to it, which makes your heart rate go up.

She also does some core strength with quite a challenging sequence at the end. She also does modifications of push-ups and planks so you need some level of fitness to keep up.

Minimum equipment needed
Slow pace good for beginners
A lot of planks and pushups

Bodyweight Strength (20 minutes)

Bodyweight strength and full body strength are completely different types of workouts but have one thing in common; they’re both beginner-friendly and cover most of the muscle groups.

Bodyweight strength requires you to do 3-4 exercises, one after another before you can recover. The exercises are only with your own body weight so you won’t need dumbbells for this one.

This class is a great choice for people who want to exercise on the go when traveling and don’t have access to any weights.

One thing to keep in mind is that peloton bodyweight strength workouts, as much as they’re full body, mostly focus on the leg muscles (see the graph below).

illustration of muscle activity from bodyweight peloton class

This is good news if you wanna focus on your curves.

You will see many squat variations (sumo squat, split squat, lateral squat) which obviously target the lower body. Of course, you also do get to do planks, sit-ups, and push-ups, but with less frequency.

Callie Gullickson

In regards to instructor recommendations, I suggest you try classes with Callie Gullickson. Callie goes through different circuits with 3 exercises each that cover all muscle groups.

What I like about this class is she uses a lot of stretching in her warm-up. This help to mobilize your body and increases your range of motion.

For example, in some of her classes, she may start gently from a downward-facing dog and move to the mat with exercises to engage the core.

For the main workout, she does 35 seconds on each exercise followed by 20 seconds of rest. It’s like an interval workout but the pace is good for beginners.

Nice and slow tempo
Covers whole body
Requires doing a lunge, so it can be too hard for people who have knee problems.
Requires doing down on the floor on your knees.

Matty Maggiacomo

Another great bodyweight strength class instructor is Matty Maggiacomo. Matty starts his classes by doing stretches that engage the back muscles and core. He also spends some time stretching the hamstrings.

That is good, especially for people who have been sitting for most of the day.

After the warm-up, he starts the class with 3 circuits of 3 exercises each. Matty will ask you to do many sidewalks, lunges, and squats. He also does some core work on the floor like mountain climbers and planks.

What I like about this class is he uses a lot of isometric positions that challenge muscle endurance.

No equipment needed
Slow pace good for beginners
He does spend some time on the floor which can be hard for people with bad knees

Becs Gentry

Another instructor that I recommend to take a bodyweight strength class is Becs Gentry. In her class, you won’t need any equipment as Becs takes you through 3 circuits of 3 exercises each.

You can see a lot of squats, lunges, and planks. You can easily do this workout anywhere you’re and Becs gives you many alternative options.

The hardest exercise requires a jump in the plank position so it may not be the best for everyone. However, if you feel confident going down on the floor, this workout is great to build up strength before trying other hardest sessions.

She also does some crunches and cardio at the end where you will run in place. It’s fun and engaging and you sweat a lot even without the weights.

Good pace
No equipment
Does require some fitness level to keep up with the pace
She does pushups at the end

Arms and Shoulders Strength

The reason why I recommend this class is that every workout is different. During the class, you will be doing 4-8 exercises in either a traditional split (3 sets per exercise) or in the form of circuit training (1 set per exercise).

For example.

  • In one class you may be doing triceps kickbacks for 3 sets before moving on to the next exercise.
  • In another class, you may be doing 1 set of triceps kickbacks, 1 set of lateral raises, 1 set of biceps curls, and then repeat the circuit.

Another thing that I like about the peloton arms classes for beginners is it’s more challenging than a full-body workout.

It allows spending more time on specific muscle groups (e.g. shoulders) which helps to increase time-under-tension.

Longer time under tension means muscles are held under resistance for longer. This increases metabolic stress and induces greater strength and hypertrophy adaptations.

Another reason why I recommend arms and shoulders for beginners is becasue it offers a way to balance the muscle activity with your peloton bike.

arms muscles activity from peloton class

The picture above shows muscle activity from the two 20-minute arms and shoulders classes with Matty Maggiacomo (beginner level). This workout has 3 circuits and 3 exercises each. Each exercise runs for 20 seconds and at the end of the circuit your get 30 seconds of rest.

I like this class because when you do only the upper body you will feel your muscle more intense. Even if this class is for beginners, it will help build up the strength in your upper body.

Matty does start by doing stretches in the beginning to increase your range of motion, but if you cannot go down on the floor feel free to use the alternative exercise.

Good exercise selectionShort rest in between sets can be challenging

However, with most of the classes being 10-20 minutes, I would recommend you do this class on its own. It’s better to combine that with something else like a peloton low-impact ride or walk and run class.

PRO TIP: One thing I know is that regardless of which arms and shoulders class you choose, you’re guaranteed to get a good muscle pump in your upper body.

Glutes and Legs Strength

I could spend a whole day talking about the importance of glute training. There are at least dozens of reasons why I recommend you to try the peloton glute workout.

  • It can help to improve your posture
  • It can help you to look more athletic
  • It can help to improve your power output on the bike
  • It can help to improve your FTP score
  • It can help to reduce back and knee pain

And so on.

In a nutshell, doing specialized glute exercises should be on everyone’s bucket list. The good news is that peloton has over 99 classes that target glutes, hamstrings, and quads. I recommend doing at least 2-3 workouts per week.

Matty Maggiacomo

In regards to instructors, I can recommend you go with Matty Maggiacomo. In his 20 minutes strength class, Matt moves a lot and he doesn’t use so many free weights.

A lot of exercises and done standing to engage your glutes and core muscles. There is plenty of squats, lunges, side lunges, and sidewalks.

At the same time, there are no high-impact moves that can put pressure on your knees. In this class, Matty does use some weight but it’s not necessary. This workout is perfect for people who don’t have access to the weights and want to be equipment independent.

Matts’s strength class is perfect for beginners.

Good energy
A lot of moving around
Spend too much time explaining the squat technique

Pilates Strength

In general, there are not many peloton pilates classes in the library, especially for beginners (currently 60 classes as of September 2022). So its not their most popular workout.

Nevertheless, among the few, there are some gems that you should try.

In a nutshell, pilates strength is a core-centered bodyweight training that is all about slow and controlled movement. In this class, you won’t get your heart rate high, but you will feel the burn in the muscles.

muscle activity from peloton pilates

Above you can see the muscle activity from the typical peloton pilates class (beginner level). This is a class where you lay down on the floor on your back. Warm-up is slow and helps to move your joint around.

All PIlates Strength beginner-level classes have a good balance between intensity and rest. This is a great option for people who need more time to get started before they jump into weight training.

Emma Lovewell

When it comes to instructors, my favorite pick is Emma Lovewell because focuses a lot on core stability and strength. Plus, in her 20 min class, she also adds arms and shoulders exercises.

Once the music change, she starts to add more intensity to your core and shoulders. In this class, you will have a lot of situps, crunches, leg lifts, and planks. She also offers many modifications so it is beginner friendly.

Slow pace
Good for core strength
Not the best option for people with lower back pain

Sam Yo

Another great Pilates instructor that I cannot skip is Sam Yo. To be honest, I don’t take many cycling classes with Sam, but his pilates is great.

  • Sam starts from the gentle breathing and warm-up sequence before he moves on the to main pilates work.
  • He does each exercise for around 40-50 seconds, which is enough time for muscles to feel the work.
  • This class is different than other pilates classes because he doesn’t move from one exercise to another.
  • He keeps the muscle engaged and holds the position for a long.

This way it helps to control and isolate the muscle group.

Not a lot of crunches or sit-ups. This pilates strength class is good for beginners who have lower back pain problems and want to do some strength work.

No equipment
Good for people with lower back pain
Spend too long in some position

How effective are peloton strength classes for beginners?

In general, peloton strength classes do work for beginners because they work the whole body and can be modified accordingly to your fitness level.

In all of the workouts, instructors offer modifications, which is a perfect way to develop strength before moving on to more challenging routines.

The difference between peloton classes for beginners and intermediate or advanced is that beginner wokrouts often focus on one exercise at a time and have a decent amount of rest.

For example, you can do a dumbbell squat for 30 seconds followed by a recovery time. On the other hand, in more advanced classes you do 3-4 exercises back to back before you get to recover.

They cover all muscle groups

In general, peloton strength classes are good because they offer a big variety of sessions that covers arms, shoulders, glutes, legs, and core. They have full-body workouts as well as 20 – 30 minute sessions where they cover each muscle group individually.

For beginners, I always recommend doing full body workouts becasue it helps to get the body used to resistance training. Once you feel you can handle more training volume, it’s time to move on to more specialized classes.

You can choose your weights

Peloton strength classes use weights, as well as bodyweight exercises. In most classes, you will see a good mix of both. Plus, some instructors also have a few dumbbells on the side and advice whenever to use heavier or lighter weights, depending on the exercise.

For example.

  • You may need to use 20lbs of dumbbells for goblet squats, but the instructor will recommend picking up something lighter if you do a single-arm overhead press.
  • Having a variety of weights available in the class helps to personalize and adjust the intensity of each workout based on your current fitness level.

I’ve been doing those classes with a variety of weights, and I can tell you that if you pick the weight that is heavy enough, all of a sudden beginners’ workout isn’t so easy anymore.

What weights should I get?

Ideally, you should get 2 sets of dumbbells that are 5 – 10 lbs each for females and 10 – 20 lbs each for males. Beginners should start with lighter weights between 5 – 10 lbs. As you get more advanced, you can add more weight.

You can build muscle with strength classes, but you need to choose the right peloton dumbbells. I like to go heavier, but it’s just my personal preference.

Even lighter are fine becasue in the strength classes you do many exercises on the same muscle group, which increase the time under tension.

In other words, building muscle with peloton doesn’t require big weights but the sufficient time when the muscle is under load.

How often should you do peloton strength classes?

It depends on your fitness level.

I recommend you should do peloton strength classes 3-4 times a week if you’re a beginner. Trained and experienced peeps can do 5 to 7 days a week, depending on the intensity and duration level. They can also use those classes in combination with their bike routine.

I won’t be covering here in detail how often should schedule your sessions. I’ve already covered that in “how often should you use peloton“, which I recommend you read.


  • Peloton offers many strength classes for beginners.
  • The word “beginner” is very broad and subjective because different people have different abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc) and a veteran endurance athlete. He loves to experiment and share his successes and failures to help busy men and women who want to lose weight.

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