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Complete Guide to the Assault Bike

Sep 15, 2023

The static bike might be a popular rehab tool, but its sibling, the AirBike, is best known for its hellish cardio assaults. Here’s how to saddle up and survive

While there’s nothing too complicated about an AirBike workout, there’s a lot you can do to make getting this uncomfortable more productive. Master the devil’s tricycle using the following four techniques and tweaks.

Start by adjusting your saddle height so that at the bottom of your pedal stroke, your leg is almost straight (but not quite), without your hips needing to shift from side to side. Adjust the seat forwards or backwards to ensure that when your pedal is at nine o’clock, your knee lines up with the centre of your foot.

Unlike the saddle, the handles don’t offer any adjustability. The perfect torso angle for your height will enable you to keep a relatively upright posture that won’t constrict your breathing and allows you to bring the handles to just below your chest and push them out to full extension.

In an AirBike sprint, you need to get up to speed quickly. Start as powerfully as possible to blast the wattage up, then settle into your rhythm. This will get the flywheel moving freely and you’ll earn more distance (or calories) ‘for free’ as the wattage momentarily remains high, even as you reduce your effort.

We’ve shown you the good – what about the bad and the ugly? Watch for these technique faux pas to avoid AirBike hell.

Sets his seat too low, meaning his legs never get enough stretch and his quads blow up like balloons in the first 20 seconds. Unable to put out any more power, he limps off like John Wayne with rubber legs. Crank up his seat for him between sets.

Closes his eyes and frantically shakes his head from side to side like a man possessed. Wastes lots of energy, loses vital breathing efficiency and makes a lot of noise. Tell him to focus on one spot on the monitor or wall, keep his head up and stay calm. Smooth is fast. And fast is good.

Puts his head way down between the handles. His arms flare wide and he’s unable to use a full range of motion. Hunching over is restricting his breathing, grinding him to a panicked stop. Tell him to sit up proud and open his chest, re-engaging his upper body.

With almost 18 years in the health and fitness space as a personal trainer, nutritionist, breath coach and writer, Andrew has spent nearly half of his life exploring how to help people improve their bodies and minds.

As our fitness editor he prides himself on keeping Men’s Health at the forefront of reliable, relatable and credible fitness information, whether that’s through writing and testing thousands of workouts each year, taking deep dives into the science behind muscle building and fat loss or exploring the psychology of performance and recovery.

Whilst constantly updating his knowledge base with seminars and courses, Andrew is a lover of the practical as much as the theory and regularly puts his training to the test tackling everything from Crossfit and strongman competitions, to ultra marathons, to multiple 24 hour workout stints and (extremely unofficial) world record attempts.

You can find Andrew on Instagram at @theandrew.tracey, or simply hold up a sign for ‘free pizza’ and wait for him to appear.

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