Exercise bikes are found in most gyms, as well as many homes and garage gyms. They usually have a large, weighted flywheel and a mechanical or electromagnetic braking system. You then hop on and pedal like crazy to burn fat and develop better cardiovascular fitness.
While exercise bikes are undeniably useful, they can also be pretty dull to use. You can go fast or slow, stand up on the pedals, or sit down – that’s about as much variety as you’ll get. Some exercise bikes do have computer-controlled programs to follow, but the variables remain the same. BORING!
Assault Bikes are a little different. While they look not unlike regular exercise bikes, they offer a range of additional benefits, which means they are one of the most valuable and effective workout machines around.
Whether you want to burn fat like a furnace or develop world-beating fitness, working out on an assault bike will help.
In this article, we discuss the advantages and benefits of assault bikes and reveal 12 of the best workouts to try.
What Are Assault Bikes?
Assault bikes are not new and have been around for well over 30 years. In that time, they’ve gone from fringe workout machines to the mainstream, and their current popularity is mainly due to their use in CrossFit workouts.
Other names for assault bikes include air dynes, air bikes, fan bikes, and “Satan’s tricycle!”
While assault bikes look a lot like regular exercise bikes, they have three notable differences:
Fan resistance – instead of the usual flywheel set up, assault bikes are fitted with a large fan that provides the resistance. While changing resistance on a regular exercise bike normally involves pushing a button or turning a knob, all you need to do to make an assault bike workout harder is pedal faster. The faster you go, the harder it gets!
Upper body and lower body – assault bikes provide a full-body workout. As well as pedaling with your legs, you also push and pull with your arms. This leads to higher heart rates and more calories burned per minute. You can still work out using just your legs but, the option to also use your arms or use only your arms makes assault bikes very versatile.
Go forward OR backward – except for spinning bikes, very few exercise bikes allow you to pedal backward. Assault bikes have no “freewheel” function, and the pedals and handles are always driving the fan. This means you can go forward or in reverse. Changing direction works your muscles slightly differently and will add more variety to your workouts.
What Are Their Advantages and Benefits?
The advantages and benefits of training on an assault bike include:
Save time and get better results from your cardio by training all of your major muscles at once. Rowing machines and ellipticals offer the same advantage, but they’re generally very big and take up a lot of floor space. Assault bikes are much more compact, providing a time AND space-efficient workout.
Improve your Fitness
Like all cardio workouts, using an assault bike will improve your fitness. Depending on how you use it, training on an assault bike will improve your aerobic or anaerobic fitness. In general, cardiovascular fitness is inextricably linked to cardiovascular health and can help lower your risk of life-threatening issues such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
High Energy Expenditure
Burning as many as 80 calories per minute, training on an assault bike will help you lose weight and get lean in double-quick time. Also, because assault bike workouts are high intensity, they’re more likely to trigger EPOC, which is short for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
Known as the afterburn effect, EPOC describes how, after high-intensity exercise, your metabolic rate remains elevated for 48-72 hours, leading to increased fat burning.
[Find Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure]
Hill sprints, track sprints, and treadmill sprints are all great workouts, but they can be hard on your joints. Assault bikes provide an intense but low-impact workout, so they’re much easier on your joints and a lot less likely to cause knee pain or hip pain. This makes them especially useful for heavier exercisers.
Easy to Use
While most makes of assault bikes have programmable monitors, you can simply jump on and go if you prefer. The only thing you really need to adjust is the saddle. This means assault bikes are ideal for things like circuit training, where you don’t want to waste time setting up your bike and need to just hop on and go.
The large fan will keep the air circulating around your training area, making for a more comfortable workout. You’re still going to sweat, but nowhere near as much as you would on a regular stationary bike.
The 12 Best Assault Bike Workouts
While you could just jump on an assault bike and start pedaling, you’ll get better results if you follow a more structured workout. Here are 12 of the best assault bike workouts, all tried and tested just for you!
Remember to spend a few minutes warming up before any of these workouts. 3-5 minutes of light pedaling followed by some dynamic stretches and joint mobility exercises will suffice.
1. Cindy on an Assault Bike
Cindy is a popular bodyweight CrossFit workout. It works every major muscle in your body. This variation also includes an assault 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. If you are VERY fit, continue for 30 minutes.
2. Assault Bike Tabata
Tabatas are a very short, sharp type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). In fact, Tabatas typically only last four minutes! Don’t let this brevity fool you; Tabata might only take four minutes, but it could be the toughest four minutes of your life.
This workout is ideal for anyone who needs to burn fat and get fit but doesn’t have time for a longer workout. Be warned, while this IS a simple workout, it’s far from easy and is best left to fit and experienced exercisers.
- 20 seconds flat out
- 10 seconds rest
- Repeat eight times
[Related: Simple guide to Tabata]
3. Calorie Ladder
This workout is self-regulating; you just keep going until you are unable to continue. As you get fitter, you’ll find you can keep going for longer, which can be very motivating and provide a way to measure your progress.
At the top of each minute, pedal as fast as you can to burn the prescribed number of calories. Rest for however long you have left and then move up to the next ladder rung. This is a form of EMOM training, which is short for every minute, on the minute.
Minute 1: 2 calories
Minute 2: 4 calories
Minute 3: 6 calories
Minute 4: 8 calories, etc.
Continue increasing by two calories per minute until you are no longer able to continue.
4. Upper / Lower / Full-body Assault Bike Medley
This workout makes the most of the fact you can use your arms and legs independently. Using just your arms will ensure your upper body gets as good a workout as your lower body. This is also a great calorie burner.
- 10 calories – arms only
- 10 calories – legs only
- 10 calories – full body
- Repeat ten times
5. Mars Bar Calorie Burner
Junk food is depressingly high in calories. Despite being small and not very filling, even one candy bar can stop you from losing fat. This fun workout is designed to illustrate just how much exercise you need to do to burn off something like a single standard-sized Mars Bar.
Hop on your assault bike and burn 230 calories (the number of calories in a standard Mars bar) as fast as you can.
6. Reverse Calorie Pyramid
This workout gets easier as you work your way through it, which should mean you can keep pushing the pace from start to finish. While you could take it easy and pedal at a slow or moderate pace, this workout is much more effective if you really go for it, so adjust your speed to reflect your current fitness level.
- 30 – 25 – 20 – 15 – 10 – 5 calories
- 1:1 work to rest intervals
So, if it takes you 50 seconds to burn 30 calories, you get 50 seconds of rest before moving on to 25 calories.
7. Assault Bike and Burpees
This is a very challenging workout designed to work all your major muscles, burn a whole lot of calories, and develop a high level of fitness too. It’s a race against the clock, so don’t hold back!
- 100 calories
- 1 burpee
- 90 calories
- 2 burpees
- 80 calories
- 3 burpees
- 70 calories
- 4 burpees
- 60 calories
- 5 burpees
- 50 calories
- 6 burpees
- 40 calories
- 7 burpees
- 30 calories
- 8 burpees
- 20 calories
- 9 burpees
- 10 calories
- 10 burpees
To do a burpee:
- Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides.
- Squat down and place your hands on the floor.
- Jump your feet out and back into the push-up position.
- Do one push-up.
- Jump your feet back up to your hands.
- Leap up and into the air.
- Land on slightly bent knees and repeat.
8. Ten Minute Calorie Chaser
Short on time? Or just need a tough but brief finisher after strength training? Try this straightforward but challenging workout. It’s over and done in ten minutes flat, but you’ll probably wish it was shorter!
Minute 1: Max calories
Minute 2: Rest
Minute 3: Max calories
Minute 4: Rest
Minute 5: Max calories
Minute 6: Rest
Minute 7: Max calories
Minute 8: Rest
Minute 9: Max calories
Minute 10: Rest
Add up the total number of calories from each of the work intervals and try to beat that number next time.
9. Reverse Tabatas
Standard Tabata training involves eight sets of 20 seconds work and ten seconds recovery. This workout flips those work to rest periods on their head to deliver a slightly easier but still effective workout in four minutes. Reverse Tabatas target your ATP-CP energy system, which is your first anaerobic energy system.
- 10 seconds flat out
- 20 seconds rest
- Repeat eight times
10. 30/30 Assault Bike and Kettlebell Swing Intervals
Of all the exercises you can do with a kettlebell, swings are arguably one of the best. Kettlebell swings work your entire posterior chain and core and, like assault bike training, burn a lot of calories too. This interval training workout combines these two awesome exercises for a 20-minute challenge that leaves no muscle untrained.
- 30 seconds assault bike sprint
- Rest 30 seconds
- 30 seconds kettlebell swings for maximum reps
- Rest 30 seconds
- Repeat ten times to total 20 minutes
11. 20-minute Time-trial
Most assault bike workouts involve some type of interval training. That’s hardly surprising, given that assault bikes are especially useful for start/stop type workouts. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t just hop on and pedal at a more moderate pace from time to time.
If you still want to use an assault bike but would prefer something a little less strenuous than HIIT, try this workout.
Just pedal continuously for 20 minutes at a comfortable pace. Record either your distance or calories burned and try to beat that mark next time.
12. Nine-minute Finisher
This is another every-minute-on-the-minute (EMOM) workout. It starts off relatively easy, builds up to an intense peak, and then eases off toward the end. At only nine minutes long, it’s a great way to finish a strength training workout, which is where its name comes from. Just set the assault bike timer for 60-second repeats and get to work!
Minute 1: 10-sec sprint, 50-sec rest
Minute 2: 20-sec sprint, 40-sec rest
Minute 3: 30-sec sprint, 30-sec rest
Minute 4: 40-sec sprint, 20-sec rest
Minute 5: 50-sec sprint, 10-sec rest
Minute 6: 40-sec sprint, 20-sec rest
Minute 7: 30-sec sprint, 30-sec rest
Minute 8: 20-sec sprint, 40-sec rest
Minute 9: 10-sec sprint, 50-sec rest
Assault Bike – Wrapping Up
Assault bikes are very versatile and easy to use. While some models come with preset programs, most regular users will soon outgrow those workouts and may even find them boring. Liven up your fat-burning cardio and metabolic conditioning with our 12 best assault bike workouts. Each one can be modified to suit your current fitness level and, remember, the faster you go, the harder your workout will be.
Whether you want to get fit, lose weight, or tone all of your major muscles, these workouts will help!