HomeTraining9 Great Air Bike Workouts From 4 Elite Trainers

9 Great Air Bike Workouts From 4 Elite Trainers

WHOOSH, WHOOSH, WHOOSH, WHOOSH.

The sound reverberates through your nightmares if you’ve ever been on an air bike. 

Due to mainstream coverage in fitness, cardiovascular training has become a more popular discipline.

In the big picture, this was far overdue. 

When most people think about cardio training, they imagine the Elliptical Warrior cruising along on a Precor machine. Now, due to Crossfit mostly, people see the Rower, Skierg, and Air Bike as badass modalities people wish to conquer.

For the sake of this article, we can’t tackle cardiovascular training as a whole but can attack one of the best entry points: Air Bikes.

What is an Air Bike?

Air bikes are stationary exercise bikes that use air resistance via a fan or flywheel.

These are different from those you pass in most commercial gyms, which are stationary bikes in either upright or recumbent form.

Stationary bikes can be found in commercial gyms and rehabilitation clinics, while you find more air bikes in training studios, CrossFit facilities, and sports performance training gyms. However, in the last decade, there has been an influx of air bikes into commercial fitness and PT clinics to keep their clients and patients engaged.

Air bikes have also become popular in home gyms because they take up little space, and are affordable and effective.

The upright position of air bikes allows users to tap into postural muscles that take a break in recumbent situations. In both rehab and performance settings, this is advantageous.

What sets air bikes apart is their ability to adjust the emphasis of work between the upper and lower body. Most air bikes have moving arms to assist in force production for the fan or flywheel. Depending on your training goals, you can shift to upper or lower bodywork.

For example, if you are dealing with some nagging knee pain. Working sets can utilize the upper body to produce most of your work. 

Or imagine you want to do a lower-body burnout to finish the session. You can switch to exclusive leg work to ramp up that pump.

Power training, Steady-state training, and recovery intervals are just a few options for using an air bike in your workout program. Regardless of the difficulty, the air bike has been a standard in cardiovascular training for decades for one key reason: it works. 

Air bikes also tend to have a long lifespan, especially in home-gym settings. Once you purchase a quality air bike, it will last a long time if you treat it well.

» MORE: Best Air Bikes

Air Resistance is the Key to Great Air Bike Workouts

Air resistance is a progressive form of resistance. The more you work to drive the fan or flywheel, the more pushback you will receive from the bike. It is truly a resistance that matches your effort, providing a more responsive experience than other exercise bikes.

Most important to equipment owners, air bikes are relatively low maintenance thanks to their construction. The gear mechanism is either operated via a chain drive or belt drive.

The belt drive provides a longer lifespan with much less maintenance, while chain drive mechanisms traditionally require more attention over the years. 

Chain drive air bikes have historically been the most popular choice because they’re more budget-friendly. They also provide a nostalgic feel that many of us can relate to with our childhood bicycles.

However, belt-drive air bikes have taken the driver’s seat in recent years. The cost of belt-driven bikes has come down, they’re quieter, and they require less maintenance.

Regardless of the drivetrain, air bikes eliminate a laundry list of issues that arise with a traditional exercise bike:

  • Electrical Outlet Needed
  • Regular Professional Maintenance Required
  • Expensive cost of repair
  • Magnetic or Friction resistance.

Without electrical requirements, you can put an air bike anywhere, at any time, for any reason. Since most air bikes come with handles, you’re free to train outside even. 

Versatility and ease of use generally win the battle in gym settings.

Types of Cardiovascular Training

Cardiovascular Fitness - Air Bike Workouts - Garage Gym Lab

Cardiovascular training is much more than running multiple miles at a clip. The nuance of cardio exercise is where most people miss out on the benefits of appropriate programming.

Every January 1st, a flood of people re-engage their pursuit of fitness via what they heard is superior for fat loss: HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training).

Unfortunately, most people don’t have the necessary foundational cardiovascular health to support high-intensity work. The fact is, developing sustainable cardio health is a multi-level process.

The Institute of Motion has a great outlook on cardiovascular training to break down how these different categories work:

  • Sub-Max Intensity Steady State – Sustaining heart rate ranges below the max threshold.
  • Sub-Max Intensity Interval Training – Interval work in heart rate ranges below the max threshold.
  • High-Intensity Interval Training – Interval work in heart rate ranges working at the max threshold.
  • High-Intensity Steady State – Sustaining a heart rate range of max threshold for an extended period.

Air bikes can seamlessly shift between all four categories in cardiovascular training. Whether you’re a novice or an advanced athlete, there’s a space in your program for it.

I asked some top trainers what their favorite air bike workouts were to get some insights.

Let’s dig in.

There is no shortage of great air bike workouts that will elevate your training, burn fat, increase stamina, and more. We’ve collected 9 exercise programs for your air bike from several elite trainers in the strength and conditioning industry.

Each workout below ranges from beginner to advanced, requiring only an air bike.

Get ready for a hell of a ride.


Juan Leija

Juan Leija has 10+ years of experience in the fitness industry, from training in the corporate gym world to his garage gym to coming on as the first coach at Onnit and eventually general manager for Onnit Gym ATX. Leading the charge, he continues to coach, having grown and learned a variety of skill sets from different mentors that have contributed to his development.

Juan Leija - Air Bike Workouts

Workout 1

Training Level: All

6-10 Rounds:

  • 10 Seconds high intensity
  • 50 seconds low intensity

One of my go-to sprint workouts on the air bike will crush just about anyone if you put the right intensity behind it. The goal is to go all out for those 10 seconds and recover for 50 seconds. 

I know you usually need more time to recover from going all out, but this one will push your engine to put out more power per set/round. I like to say 6 to 10 rounds, depending on your fitness level and being able to replicate your calorie count round after round.  

Example

If you can hit ten calories every round for six rounds, keep it going until you fall off by three or more calories.

Workout 2

Training Level: Intermediate

15 Minute Interval:

  • 2-minute cruise
  • 1-minute high intensity

This is another interval workout that I like to use for longer sessions on the bike. Honestly, this one sucks. The goal here is to go hard for a minute but not hard enough that you won’t be able to continue. I like to say somewhere in that 80-85% intensity range. Try to match your calories on your 2-minute ride and your 1-minute ride. You might think this sounds crazy; well, it is, but your body and mind will thank you later. 

Example

I usually stay between 25-30 calories for every two minutes of cruising. This means I must aim for the same calorie count for my one-minute sprint.

By the end of the workout, you would have hit five rounds total, but you will get a full-body workout that will have you feeling juicy.


Rebecca Rouse

Rebecca Rouse is a certified personal trainer with eight years of coaching and leadership experience in the fitness industry. She is the founder of Semper Stronger; an online fitness company focused on helping clients and members become stronger and more confident. As a coach, she specializes in strength training with a heavy emphasis on kettlebells.

Rebecca Rouse - Air Bike Workouts

Workout 3

Training Level: Advanced

3 Rounds:

  • Perform 30 calories of work (hold a 55-60rpm)
  • 1-minute rest
  • Perform 21 calories of work (hold a 60-65rpm)
  • 1-minute rest
  • Perform 13 calories of work (hold over a 67rpm)
  • 3-minute rest

If you want to get in the game of burning calories and finding out how much work is involved, this is a strong workout. The pace will keep you challenged the entire time. Somewhere through the second round, RPM’s will be a difficult variable to maintain.

Workout 4

Training Level: Intermediate

20 minutes:

  • 1 minute on (hold a 64-67rpm)
  • 1 minute off (hold a 45-49rpm)

Example

Completing this workout routine in 20 minutes should yield an average pace of between 54-58rpm.

Learning how to hold a pace is an important part of cardiovascular training. Once you recognize how to level out, the body can begin to learn how to perform more work under the same heart rate stress.

Workout 5

Training Level: Advanced

3 Sets of 8 Rounds:

  • 20 Seconds Work/10 Seconds Rest (8 rounds = 1 set)
  • 3-minute rest between sets. Calculate calories burned after each round set.

Tabata-style workouts are very popular but are challenging for beginners. The rest-to-work ratio flips from what you would normally recommend pushing someone into a state of high-intensity steady state. That makes this a workout recommended for the more advanced gym-rat.


Neko Freeman

Neko Freeman is an experienced Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach, Sport Performance Specialist, and Co-Founder of AthElite. Coach Freeman has a Bachelor’s degree in exercise science as well as a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology with concentrations in Sports Conditioning & Adaptive Sports. Freeman has worked with numerous professional and collegiate athletes of all sporting disciplines and is recognized for his scientific, yet practical approach to training.

Neko Freemnan - Air Bike Workouts

Workout 6

Training Level: Advanced

6-10 Rounds:

  • 20 Seconds Easy
  • 20 Seconds Moderate
  • 20 Seconds Hard
  • Rest 2-3 minutes between rounds

Ramping waves can do two things: Show progress over time and mesh with effort level. You learn a lot about yourself when slowly ramping up the intensity – mainly, how hard you’re willing to work!

Example

Ride 20 seconds at 30% intensity (easy), 20 seconds at 50-60% intensity (moderate), and 20 seconds at 80-85% intensity (hard). Then rest for 2-3 minutes before completing the circuit 6-10 times.

Workout 7

Training Level: Intermediate

6-10 Rounds:

  • 20 Seconds Hard
  • 40 Seconds Moderate
  • Rest 2-3 minutes between rounds

I like these setups because they allow you to really focus on going hard for the sprint intervals while still getting work from your slow-paced rest intervals.


Kenny Santucci

With over a decade of experience, Kenny Santucci has made himself known as one of New York City’s top trainers in the health and wellness industry. Brand ambassador for Michelob Ultra and Fitaid, Technogym Master Trainer, host of the Fitaid Morning Show, Michelob Ultra MOVEMENT Fitness Festival, Model Beach Volleyball, and more, Santucci has established himself as a force within the fitness space.

Kenny Santucci - Air Bike Workouts

Workout 8

Training Level: Advanced

Every minute for as long as you can:

  • Minute 1. – 3 Cals
  • Minute 2 – 6 Cals
  • Minute 3 – 9 Cals
  • Minute 4 – 12 Cals
  • Etc…

Example

If you complete 10 rounds of this air bike workout, you will achieve a calorie count of 30 calories in that round, and 165 calories in total.

Some people just enjoy the punishment of the air bike. This is an intense workout routine that burns max calories. If you’re looking to perform some David Goggins-level stuff, this is for you.

Workout 9

Training Level: All

For as long as you can:

  • Sprint for 10 Seconds
  • Rest for 2 Minutes
  • Sprint for 30 Seconds
  • Rest for 2 minutes
  • Ride for 2 minutes
  • Take the average RPM and stay within 5 RPM of that average for as long as you can, topping out at most 60 minutes.

Finding that steady pattern after working through sprints is a great but challenging way to learn to get your heart rate back down. This one is all about EFFORT, making it great for anyone looking for a killer air bike workout.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is an Air Bike a Full-Body Workout?

Air bikes are a full-body workout. Because of their articulating arms, an air bike can train your arms and legs simultaneously or independently. Whether you’re training with max intensity or riding for longer durations, an air bike is a great full-body workout.

How Long Should You Workout on an Air Bike?

Depending on your intensity, you should ride your air bike for 10 to 60 minutes. Frequent sprints with higher intensity should result in shorter workouts, while steady-pace rides should have longer durations. Either way, air bikes are great at burning calories.

Why are Air Bikes So Hard?

Air Bikes use air resistance to make them as easy or as hard as you like. The harder you pedal on an air bike, the harder they become. This can create a very challenging experience, but the results are excellent for weight loss, stamina, and muscle growth.


The Bottom Line

There you have it – 9 great air bike workouts that are sure to take your training up a notch!

The air bike is an amazing tool to elevate your cardiovascular fitness regardless of your training level, program, or gym setup. The same equipment can switch from training an elite athlete one minute to the dad wanting to get back into shape the next.

This article was written by David Otey, with expert contributions from trainers, Juan Leija, Rebecca Rouse, Neko Freeman, and Kenny Santucci. Edited by Adam Hensley.

David Otey
David Oteyhttp://www.oteyfitness.com
David is a 15 year Personal Trainer, an Advisor for Men's Health Magazine, and the Author of the 90-Day Transformation Challenge by Men's Health. Otey is an internationally recognized presenter on topics of Strength Training, Rotational Power, and Landmine Training. David is a CSCS through the NSCA, was a founding Master Instructor for the PPSC, and has his degree in Exercise Science from Rutgers University. David is the founder of the Career Trainer Mentorship teaching trainers how to make Personal Training a long-term career.

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