Behind the facade of an innocent looking upright bike lies one of the most potent conditioning tools known to man. Get the low-down on why air bikes are so awesome and how you can use them in workouts that leave calories burning long after the session is over!
Odd beast of burden
Fan-propelled stationary exercise bikes, a.k.a air bikes, are the odd beasts of burden of the cardio world. With none of the regular trimmings, this simple but effective machine doesn’t quite fit into the sleek cardio scene, and often gets overlooked for the more popular and expensive commercial pieces like the stair-master, spinning bike or treadmill.
Although you won’t be able to watch your favorite TV show or check Facebook in cardio-comfort, air bikes are exceptional and versatile conditioning tools. On top of being highly affordable, they push your body and mind to their utmost limits.
Why air bikes are awesome?
- The fan spins as you peddle and the bike in turn puts out resistance, linking speed with effort.
- The harder you peddle, the more resistance, and vice versa.
- The handlebars enforce a coordinated pushing and pulling action of the arms, which aligns with the pushing action of the legs. Air resistance translates into an all-body workout that challenges your heart to pump blood to both upper and lower extremities. The result is an increased demand on your cardiovascular system that offers you a pump of incomparable intensity.
3 ways to include an air bike in your workout
1. High Intensity Intervals
Whether you train at home or at the gym, an air bike is great for real Hi Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Sessions that require you to work within high percentage heart-rate zones.
Try the traditional Tabata:
- Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
- 4 minutes Tabata intervals – 20 seconds intense work, 10 second recovery – for intensive cardiovascular conditioning.
- Cool down for 10min
Try other interval structures like timed rounds, continuous work intervals, pyramid intervals or longer intervals to see what works best for you.
2. Functional Cross Training
Air bikes have become an essential tool for metabolic conditioning and functional cross training workouts. You can programme sprints, calorie counts and intervals into workouts to push beyond plateaus, test your conditioning, and challenge your physical and mental endurance.
Here are three structures that you can play with:
- Calories on a Concept 2 Rower
- Calories on a Bound Air Bike
Every Second Minute for 10 rounds:
- 5 Power Cleans
- 5 Bar Facing Burpees
- 10 Calories on a Bound Air Bike
Ascending reps/calories for 3 x 3 rounds 3 Rounds:
- 8 Calories on a Bound Air Bike
- 8 Burpees
- 8 Calories on a Concept 2 Rower
- 8 Burpees
4. Active recovery
An air bike is not only a tool of torture, but should be used to nurture your body in bouts of active recovery. Active recovery refers to engaging in low-intensity exercise after workouts. This is either done during the cool-down phase directly after a session or in the days following intense bouts of physical exertion.
Low-intensity activity, usually at a 30% reduction of your general training volume, can help reduce accumulated blood lactate and speed muscle recovery. Supplement your usual 10-15 min low-intensity rowing, walking, jogging or swimming with the air bike.
If you want to push your training to a higher level, overcome plateaus and turn your physical and mental endurance on its head try the AlphaState Nemesis Airbike.