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How efficient is an air bike workout?

Explore how an air bike offers a dual benefit by working on both muscles and aerobic fitness, and discover its adaptability for diverse training types.

Known also as the fan bike or assault bike, the air bike is favored for its dynamic full-body cardio workouts, especially among the CrossFit community. The main advantage of an air bike is that it allows you to work on your muscles and aerobic fitness at the same time, making your training more efficient. In this guide, we’ll explore how you can incorporate air bike workouts into your training plan.

What is an air bike?

The air bike’s hallmark is its large front fan connected to the flywheel. This fan produces resistance using air. So, the harder you pedal, the more challenging your workout becomes. Add to this the handlebars that oscillate back and forth, mirroring a cross-country ski machine. The result? A workout that engages your entire body, stimulating every major muscle group and your cardiovascular system.

Benefits of an air bike workout

Dynamic Resistance
 

During air bike workouts, the air resistance continually evolves, ensuring you don’t plateau. Meaning that regardless of your fitness level, you will be constantly pushed outside of your comfort zone.

 
Versatility

 

One of the biggest advantages of the air bike is its versatility, which allows using it both for aerobic and anaerobic types of training. While you can perform endurance workouts with the help of an air bike, it is best used for short bursts of acute activity during High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Intense air bike resistance-based workouts are perfect for fat loss, building muscle, and anaerobic conditioning. Cardio training at maximum capacity is also one of the most efficient ways to improve aerobic fitness and drive athletic performance.

 

Calorie Burn

 

Air bikes can be an efficient tool for burning calories – it is possible to burnup to 80 calories per minute. An average person burns between 20 and 30 calories per minute which is still 2x higher than during a traditional exercise bike session. For effective fat loss, it is recommended to ride an air bike for at least 20-30 minutes at moderate to high intensity, 3-4 times a week.

 

Full Body Workout

 

The air bike challenges all major muscle groups in the body. An intense workout will pump your upper and lower body including the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, hip flexors, glutes, core muscles, back, chest, shoulder, biceps, and triceps.

 
Science-Backed

 

Research suggests that an air bike total-body workout has an effect on your body similar to a combination of efficient strength, HIIT, and cardio training. During a study, 20 young adults were engaged in 8 weeks of high-intensity interval training with an air bike while a control group did moderate-intensity continuous training in a comparable time period. A comparison of the groups displayed a significant difference in the bench press, back squat, anaerobic endurance, aerobic endurance, and VO2max.

Research suggests that an air bike total-body workout has an effect on your body similar to a combination of efficient strength, HIIT, and cardio training.

Examples of air bike workouts

Combining various techniques, you can use an air bike to train all 3 energy systems—aerobic, anaerobic glycolytic, and anaerobic ATP-PC. Here are the 5 best air bike workouts that will suit different fitness goals and levels.

Aerobic system workout for beginners

If you are just getting started with an air bike, gradually increasing the volume and intensity of your workouts over several weeks will be much more beneficial for your progress. Moderate-intensity aerobic workouts are a good place to start because they will improve your aerobic fitness and prepare you for more intense ones. Your body’s aerobic capacity forms the foundation of your fitness and directly affects all other energy systems as it improves your ability to breathe in and utilize oxygen. You can also use this type of workout for active recovery since it is less demanding than high-intensity training. While performing this workout, ensure your heart rate remains under 75% of its maximum.

  • 5-min easy pedal warm-up
  • 6-minute set:
    2mins at 40rpm
    2mins at 50rpm
    2mins at 60rpm
  • Repeat the set 6 times without any rest in between.
  • 5-min easy pedal cool-down

Weight-loss air bike workout

20-30-minute HIIT workouts that alternate high-intensity periods with low-intensity recovery are an efficient way to lose weight. High-intensity workouts enhance your anaerobic glycolytic system and shift your metabolism to anaerobic mode. Interval length depends on your fitness level—you can start with shorter intervals gradually increasing the exercise time. Here is a variation of the sprint interval training that you can start with:

  • 5-min easy pedal warm-up
  • Sprint for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Repeat for 20 minutes
  • 5-min easy pedal cool-down

Anaerobic ATP-PC training

The Anaerobic ATP-PC energy system is triggered by short explosive bursts of maximal effort work. Power intervals should be no longer than 7-10 seconds with sufficient rest periods in between. This type of training favors athletes with high amounts of absolute strength, and it is not effective for beginners or people with low muscle mass. Both types of anaerobic training (glycolytic and ATP-PC) require 48-hour recovery time, so you shouldn’t put them back-to-back in your workout routine.

  • 5-min easy pedal warm-up
  • Repeat 10 rounds of:
    8 seconds of an all-out sprint on an air bike
    Rest 90 seconds to 2 minutes (alternatively you can pedal easily at 40 rpm during the rest)
  • 5-min easy pedal cool-down

CrossFit workout

CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout that consists of constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movements. CrossFit is one of the most demanding types of training, but it is incredibly effective in helping you achieve high levels of power and improve endurance. The air bike is one of the preferred pieces of equipment among the CrossFit community for its effectiveness. Here is an example of a CrossFit air bike workout for an advanced fitness level:

  • 5 min warm-up
  • 20 calories on the air bike
  • 15 Deadlifts
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 15 Pull-ups
  • Repeat the set 5 times
  • 5 min cool down

Pyramid workout

Pyramid training is a classic training system where you first gradually increase and then decrease the intensity or the duration of an exercise. It’s an effective and reliable way to structure your workouts for improved cardiovascular fitness and fat burn. Here is how you can do it on your air bike:

  • Minute 1: Sprint on the air bike for 10 seconds; rest for 50.
  • Minute 2: Sprint for 20 seconds; rest for 40.
  • Minute 3: Sprint for 30 seconds; rest for 30.
  • Minute 4: Sprint for 40 seconds; rest for 20.
  • Minute 5: Sprint for 50 seconds; rest for 10.
  • Minute 6: Sprint for 55 seconds; rest for 5.
  • Minute 7: Sprint for 50 seconds; rest for 10.
  • Minute 8: Sprint for 40 seconds; rest for 20.
  • Minute 9: Sprint for 30 seconds; rest for 30.
  • Minute 10: Sprint for 20 seconds; rest for 40.
  • Minute 11: Sprint for 10 seconds; rest for 50.
 

One of the best things about air bikes is that they can accommodate any training method to achieve your chosen goal. You can focus on supra-maximal sprint interval training to improve VO2max, do HIIT Tabata-style workouts for faster fat burn, or perform a long-duration session.

REHIT on CAROL Bike delivers superior health and fitness benefits compared to traditional cardio exercise—in 90% less time.

REHIT—an effective alternative to air bike workouts

If you want to perform cycling workouts at supra-maximal resistance level, there’s a more effective way than air bike training. CAROL Bike’s AI automatically tailors the resistance to your fitness level, pushing you to your limit every time.

 

Reduced Exertion HIIT (REHIT) is CAROL Bike’s signature workout, developed by scientists looking for the shortest, most effective way to exercise. It packs the fitness benefits of a 45-minute run into just 5 minutes. As you work at supra-maximal intensity during the 2×20-second sprints, your body is pushed into a fight or flight mode, triggering metabolic changes that make you stronger and fitter. The results of an 8-week study showed that REHIT elicited more potent, time-efficient improvements in the cardiovascular system and fat loss compared to steady-state training.

 

REHIT allows you to achieve the most efficient fitness results in the shortest period of time.

Conclusion

If you enjoy resistance-based training and want to take your fitness and conditioning to another level, include air bike workouts in your training schedule. This is an effective way to challenge your upper and lower body, build stamina, and strengthen the cardiovascular system. REHIT from CAROL Bike is a great alternative to air bike workouts giving you similar benefits in just 5-minutes.

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