Love weightlifting but hate cardio?
We get it... But that doesn't mean we should neglect our heart health.
There are lots of fun ways to do cardio that also train our strength.... and our favourite is the Air Bike. Read on for a full guide, covering:
- What is an Air Bike?
- Health Benefits of Air Bike Workouts
- Air Bike Exercises
- Air Bike Form
In Photo: Better Body Air Bike
What is an Air Bike?
An air bike is a stationary bike with moving handlebars and a large fan at the front of the machine to generate resistance. The faster you pedal the more air pushes through the fan to increase resistance. The bike utilizes a push-pull mechanism which allows you to easily control the intensity of your workout.
Cycling is a great lower body exercise. Pushing the pedals works your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes. Incorporate the handlebars to engage your upper body muscles. Pushing the handlebars works your triceps, forearms and front deltoids while pulling the handlebars works your biceps, back and rear deltoids. Your core is also activated throughout the motion working your abs and lower back. The air bike provides a full body workout with unlimited resistance.
Many bikes provide pre-set workouts including Tabata and HIIT routines. Some models even allow you to build your own custom workout based on your choice of calories, distance, time or heart rate. Being able to access a wide variety of workouts will prevent you from becoming bored with your air bike. Connect your mobile device to monitor your heart rate and track your data wirelessly.
Health Benefits of Using an Air Bike
Whether you are looking to lose weight, strengthen muscles or improve your flexibility, the air bike offers all of that and more.
The air bike is a low impact exercise for your joints and hips. By working your ligaments and toning your muscles, you are improving your functional abilities. The air bike provides a safe workout making it a great tool for rehabilitation.
Employing your entire body burns calories at a much faster rate. The pedalling, pushing, and pulling motions work nearly all of the large muscle groups in your body making it a powerful combination for fat loss. When working your entire body simultaneously you get your heart pumping faster without feeling out of breath which helps build stamina. The air bike also helps in metabolic conditioning and boosts your endurance over time. Using this bike in your routine will increase your aerobic capacity without losing strength.
Work harder, get smarter? The air bike helps strengthen your heart and lungs which increases the oxygen to your brain. Increased oxygen helps your brain function even reducing stress, mood swings, insomnia and brain fog. Consistent exercise can also improve your memory and protect the brain against age-related cognitive decline.
In Photo: Better Body Air Bike
Five Air Bike Exercises to Try Today
Aside from the plentiful physical benefits of an air bike, one of the biggest advantages is efficiency. People are so busy these days that finding time to work out can be difficult. The air bike allows you to get in a variety of different workouts with just one piece of equipment and minimal time.
There are many different exercises you can try on your air bike. Whether it’s a simple variation like not using the handlebars to get a heavier quad workout or creating a HIIT routine utilising weights for more strength training.
Below are five of our favourite air bike exercises
Tabata workouts are always a great choice, especially as most air bikes already have it pre-programmed.
Classic tabata is 20 seconds on then 10 seconds off for 8 rounds. Work as hard as possible for 20 seconds, rest for 10 – repeat 8 times.
Ready for a real fat-burner? In this workout, you’ll build up to a 50-second sprint and gradually work down. Easy and super effective.
Minute 1: 10 seconds sprint, 50 seconds rest
Minute 2: 20 seconds sprint, 40 seconds rest
Minute 3: 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds rest
Minutes 4: 40 seconds sprint, 20 seconds rest
Minute 5: 50 seconds sprint, 10 seconds rest
Minute 6: 40 seconds sprint, 20 seconds rest
Minute 7: 30 seconds sprint, 30 seconds rest
Minute 8: 20 seconds sprint, 40 seconds rest
Minute 9: 10 seconds sprint, 50 seconds rest
One Minute Assault
Sounds simple but I promise it is not for the faint.
This is a great workout for tracking progress.
Max calories for one minute. Go!
Cindy on an Air Bike
Cindy is a popular bodyweight CrossFit workout. It works every major muscle in your body. This variation includes an air bike sprint to increase your calorie expenditure and add a welcome cardiovascular workout.
Do as many laps of the following as you can in 20 minutes.
30/30 Air Bike and Kettlebell Swing Intervals
This 20 minute challenge leaves no muscle untrained.
Kettlebell swings work your entire posterior chain and core while burning maximum calories.
- 30 seconds air bike sprint
- Rest 30 seconds
- 30 seconds kettlebell swings for maximum reps
- Rest 30 seconds
- Repeat ten times to total 20 minutes
In Photo: Better Body Air Bike
Proper Form on the Air Bike
While the air bike allows more motion of the body it also allows more room for inefficient or ineffective movements. Proper form will help prevent injuries while optimizing your workout.
Some tips to get you started:
Adjust your seat
First adjust the height - Adjust the seat so that your leg is fully extended when your heel is resting on the pedal while at the lowest position. At this seat height, your leg will have the optimal bend once your mid-foot is centered on the pedal.
Seat Position: Most air bikes allow the seat to be adjusted forward and backwards. Finding the ideal forward/back position for the seat on an air bike is slightly more complicated than a traditional bike because of the added arm motion. Placing a seat further over the top of the pedal means you will be more quad driven and placing the seat further back behind the pedal means you will be more posterior chain driven. Adjust the setback so that your arm is just shy of full lock out at its furthest point while leaning slightly forward.
A slight forward lean of the torso is important for generating force. The amount of lean differs from one person to another depending on body shape and size. The best way to find the perfect amount of forward lean for yourself is to take your hands off the handles and test the minimal amount you need to pedal aggressively without your hands. This should be approximately 10-20 degrees from the upright position.
Movement of the torso such as twisting, side-to-side, or forward and back motion should be avoided while using the air bike, Although you may be tempted to produce more force with these motions, it can cause back strain. Keep your torso still and core engaged to protect your back and to create a solid platform for your arms and legs to work.
Push, pull and pedal equally.
Pushing, pulling, and pedalling should be given equal effort unless your goal is to isolate the arms or legs. Giving equal effort to your arms and legs will provide a better workout while burning more calories.
Don’t flare your arms and legs.
Flaring is when your elbows and knees bow out to the sides during movement. Flaring should be avoided for two main reasons. First, it puts additional stress on your joints, which could result in pain and injury. Secondly, it doesn’t allow the muscles to work effectively resulting in a poor workout. To avoid injuries keep your elbows aligned with your wrists and your knees aligned with your feet while using an air bike.
Don’t look down
It can be tempting to look down at the monitor to track your progress but glancing sporadically with your eyes rather than tilting your head down will help make breathing easier.
The key is to try different seat adjustments and continue to test what works best for you and your body.
We hope this article inspired you to know that there is a fun cardio workout out there for you... and you can find it in an Air Bike.