Air bike, ass bike, the AB bike of death, whatever you want to call it there is no denying that the CrossFit bike (specifically the air bike) is going to give you a serious workout and improve your overall performance. Why though? What are the benefits of the air bike? What are some go-to CrossFit bike workouts? Let’s get into it.
The air bike is a necessary part of training for both its effectiveness to build fitness in any gym but also because of its application in CrossFit competitions. Whether you’re using the air bike or echo bike, you’re going to be able to become a better athlete with incorporating it regularly. Fun fact: the air bike as appeared in almost every CrossFit competition from local to the professional levels. Learning pacing, improving power output, and building aerobic capacity can make a significant difference in your performance on and off the competition floor if you’re working towards becoming a competitive CrossFit athlete. It is also important so that you can maximize your overall fitness and aesthetic if those goals are more in line with your workout results.
Understanding why you’re pedaling, running out of breath, and sweating hard on an air bike is important to see that the benefits outweigh the mental struggle you may encounter during your workout.
Air Bikes Are Easy To Use
Most people know how to ride a bike. You hop on the seat, make sure your feet can reach the pedals, and start pedaling. While the air bike is a little different than a traditional bike, in that the arms move too, not just the pedals, the concept is similar, increasing accessibility for individuals to use this piece of equipment in the gym, regardless of your fitness level. Pro tip? Make sure that the seat goes up to about hip height and that you can put your whole foot on the pedal, so you can maximize your air bike workout results. If you can’t quite reach the arms, we recommend scooting the seat up forward. Simply ‘lefty Lucy” the knob and make sure to “righty tighty” to lock it in before using the bike.
Work Toward Any CrossFit Goal
Another benefit of doing CrossFit bike is that you can work towards just about any goal, fitness or aesthetic wise. Since the bike works on a single chain, you can effectively target every energy pathway, aerobic or anaerobic. The variety of workouts is nearly limitless, as you can do a CrossFit bike workout that is anywhere from ten second sprints all the way up to an hour of smooth riding, making it a useful tool any goal.
CrossFit Bike Workouts Are Low Impact
CrossFit bike workouts are extremely low impact and suitable for just about every body and every level or age of individual. It is also a very low risk activity, so the chances of incurring an injury on the air bike, as compared to sprinting on a track, are slim to none. This sets you up for an incredibly effective training session, and the only thing that might get hurt is your feelings (it is called an ‘ass bike’ for a reason).
Having some solid CrossFit air bike workouts in your training arsenal is great way to mix things up, add a good amount of training volume, and improve your capacity. Here are 5 of our absolute favorites to incorporate into your training. Note: you can do any of these workouts on any bike available in the gym, i.e. air bike, echo bike, or concept2 bike, for example. If you don’t have access to these pieces of equipment, you can use a normal spin bike, but keep the damper/resistance at a higher level and do not change it throughout the workout.
CrossFit Bike Workout #1: Anaerobic Power
Every 2:00 minutes x 5 rounds // Perform a 15 second MAX Sprint
This workout seems simple enough. Fifteen seconds? How bad could it be? This one will pack a punch and can be used to train front end power output by targeting the phosphagen system (anaerobic). It’s common and expected to see some power output decrease over the course of the five intervals, especially in explosive athletes. The bike is one if the only, if not the only way to allow beginners to produce their highest power output without being limited by technique or risking injury.
CrossFit Bike Workout #2: Anaerobic Power
5:00 on/5:00 off x 4 Rounds
Working for five continuous minutes you will target the aerobic system by working at a moderate to high intensity. You can identify this CrossFit bike workout as aerobic by the work-to-rest ratio of 1:1. A good goal for aerobic intervals like this is to aim for the same amount of calories or distance every interval to ensure you are working at a repeatable, aerobic pace. These intervals are also very simple to progress as you can maintain that 1:1 ratio and work down to 30 second intervals at a much higher intensity but still being aerobic.
CrossFit Bike Workout #3: Anaerobic Lactic Endurance
1:00 on/3:00 off x 3 Rounds
Unlike the fifteen seconds sprint, this sprint is a whole minute and will produce a nice, deep burn. This workout targets the glycolytic pathway and be used to improve lactic endurance which means your ability to maintain an extremely high output, for longer before your muscles fatigue and slow down. On this one you might see a big drop off in output between the first and the last interval but it’s important to push as hard as you can for as long as you can to get the training adaptations.
CrossFit Bike Workout #4: Aerobic
30-60 minutes consistent pace
Working in this longer time domain means working at a low intensity. This is a really great way for beginners to build some aerobic capacity but can also have recovery great benefits for high level athletes and can be plugged into a morning session or rest day. This won’t be the most exciting training but serves an important purpose. Put on a podcast and make it happen.
CrossFit Bike Workout #5: Metabolic Conditioning (metcon)
15:00 AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
15 calories air bike
12 box jumps
Incorporating the air bike in a mixed modality workout like this one is a great way to add an aerobic element and to give the muscles some time to recover from higher output movements like the box-jumps or muscle-ups. In this type of CrossFit bike workout we recommend keeping keep a consistent pace and look at the bike as “recovery” during the workout.
The air bike is an essential piece of equipment to everyone. From the beginner who is working out for the first time in their lives to the multiple time CrossFit Games athlete, CrossFit bike workouts pack a strong bang for their buck. You can find an air bike in someone’s living room as well as on the competition floor. It can be used to get you off the couch or get you to the highest level of fitness and that’s what makes it the most versatile piece of equipment there is. Regularly include these CrossFit air bike workouts like these into your routine and watch you fitness improve exponentially.
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