An air bike

I first took Air Bikes seriously when I read a short post about them which laid out their benefits. It lead me to look up what is an air bike. Soon after I had a go.

I used to notice the air bikes at the gym and ignore them. I was never drawn to indoor cycling, so I assumed they were like any other stationery bike.

I’d prefer hill sprints or high rep kettelbells exercises to get my cardio done.

Then I tried the air bike. I started with a simple HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. 30 seconds hard peddling and 90 seconds rest. Repeated 5 times.

Wow. I quickly found out it was not like other stationary bikes. It’s now part of my regular workout routine.

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What is an Air Bike?

So what is an air bike?

You have probably seen them They are the bikes that have a fan in the wheel with handles that move back and forth.

What makes them unique and effective is that the harder you peddle and move the handles bars, the more resistance you get.  This is because of the fan in the the wheel generates greater friction against the air the faster it goes.

And because you are pumping the handles as well, you get a whole body workout.

9 Benefits of an Air Bike

an air bike is great for HIIT training as this lady is doing

The air bike is a training tool that has loads of health benefits because you can use it in many ways.

1. You get a full body workout from with an Air Bike.

I really noticed this after my first session. Moving the handles works your upper body and the peddling your legs.

You will feel it all over if you really push the pace and intensity.

2. An Air Bike is a great tool for HIIT training

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is when you go hard for a set time, rest, then go hard again. Repeat for desired reps or time.

I found HIIT easier on the air bike than on a treadmill because I did not have to push buttons to change the speed or incline.

You simply peddle and pump the handles faster or slower.

And because it works both upper and lower body at the same time, your body has to work harder . You will feel your lungs really working.

Later I will share with you some HIIT workouts you can try from beginner to advanced.

3. The Air Bike Builds Muscle

The air bike is not the best or most efficient way of building muscle. And it has it’s limits. However, it is a resistance workout, so you will add muscle especially if you do not do much weight training.

Those of you who are regular lifters might be sceptical, but once you try it and feel the burn in your muscles after a hard session, you will realize it’s more than just cardio.

The muscle groups it works are…

Lower Body – It works your Hamstrings, calves and quads.

Upper Body – It works your Chest, shoulders, triceps and biceps.

Look at Olympic speed cyclists leg muscles, they are massive.

4. It’s Great for Heart Health

As I mentioned earlier when you use both your upper and lower body at the same time, your body has to work much harder than if you were working them separately. This means your heart has to pump that much harder, which will make it stronger.

And because you can use it for HIIT training or gentler longer duration training (Zone 2), you target your cardiovascular system in different ways.

Studies have shown you need both to be at optimal cardiovascular health.

5. You can use an Air Bike for rehabilitation

When I pulled my hamstring from sprinting I tried the Air Bike as an alternative while I recovered.

I was  a little apprehensive first, however once I stared peddling I found I could go hard and not feel any pain.

Not only was I keeping my hamstring strong I was not losing my fitness gains. In fact I was probably getting fitter because of the novel training effect.

If you have an injury, try the Air Bike.

6. Anyone can use it because it is joint friendly

I’ve seen people of all ages, shapes and fitness levels use the air bike.

Because it’s easy to go at your own pace and it does not bang your joints like running and other cardio does, more people can use it without fear of messing their knee’s or ankles up.

7. It gives you mental toughness

As you progress through the rounds of HIIT training you will want to quit. The only way to get through is to grit you teeth and keep going 

Eventually you will build a strong mindset, which will make other challenges in your life less daunting.

After using the air bike I went back to skipping. I did the same workout I did a few years ago. I found it much easier. Skipping is challenging, but the intensity level does not get as high the air bike.

The air bike is also safer.

8. You can keep track of your progression

You don’t need any fancy gadgets to track your progress. The Air Bike has a clock and it also shows your power output in watts.

When you finish your workout it will show you your maximum power output and your average as well.

Make a note of these and try to beat it each time.

9. It Saves you time

You can get a kicking workout in 10 minutes. The air bike raises your heart rate quickly. Again this is due to the resistance from the fan as you go harder and the full body mechanics you use.

Take a look at the workouts below, you will notice how short they are.

Six Air Bike HIIT Workouts for You to Try

Training hard

Now you know what is an air bike and it’s benefits. here’s some workouts to start with.

If you are new, start slower with proper form, and do the shorter workouts first to get the hang of it.

Needless to say, if you have not trained for a while then consult your doctor if you are worried.

I’m giving you HIIT options, however, don’t forget you can do steady state cardio or any other type on the air bike. You can cycle for 10, 20, 30 plus minutes at different paces that you want.

For all these workouts, start of with a warm up that feels good to you and gets your blood pumping.

1. 10 Seconds flat out sprint. 50 seconds rest. X 10.

This is a good HIIT workout to start with. It’s short and the sprints are only 10 seconds. I say only, but as you go through the workout it feels like a longer and longer 10 seconds.

This type of training also called EMOM (Every Minute On the Minute) training.

You start on the minute, sprint for 10 seconds. Rest for the remainder of the minute (50 seconds). Then on the minute, go again.

Do this 10 times.

2. 30 seconds sprinting. 90 Seconds rest. X 5

Sprint for 30 seconds. Then rest for 90 seconds. Do this 5 times to start with and build up to 10 rounds.

The sprint will be less intense than the 10 second sprint workout, however you still want to go hard as you can.

3. One Minute sprint 3 minutes rest. x  5

This is getting more challenging now. Once you have done the above two for a while, you can go to this one.

Sprint for one minute, rest for three. Start with five rounds then increase to 10.

Three minutes rest might seem like a lot, but you will need it.

4. One minute sprint one minute rest x 5

With this one, the sprint and rest times  are equal. One minute each.

It will really test your mental toughness. This is a more advanced workout.

If starting with five rounds is too much, start with three rounds. Eventually work up to ten rounds.

5. Three minute sprint. Three Minute Rest x 3

You will need to have good level of fitness to do this one intensely.

Because it is intense, you will start of with only three rounds.

Sprint for three minutes. Rest for Three. Go again!

Work up to five to eight rounds.

6. 10 minutes none stop, fast as you can

This one is simple as it sounds. Go for it for 10 minutes. Needless to say this is advanced fitness level only.

If you decide to do this one, you have my respect.

Conclusion

The air bike also known as a fan bike, is a great piece of equipment that gives you a full body workout without putting pressure on your joints.

It’s a versatile tool you can use for HIIT training or steady state cardio, and can be used by anyone no matter their fitness goals.

The fan in the wheel and the moving handle bars increase the intensity compared to other training which only uses one or the other at a time.

It is good for heart, health, muscle gain and can be used if you have injuries.

Air bikes provide a simple and effective way to stay in shape all year round.

Also see Intermittent Fasting 101