Could Air Bikes be the Perfect Cardio Machine? By Altug Kop · March 9, 2018 If you’ve grown up around a gym, then you’re probably more than familiar with the different types of bike typically available to you. You have your stationary upright bike, recumbent bikes with a back support and, if you’re into your group training, spin bikes. Air bike benefits Air bikes are a more recent kid on the block, but what’s so special about this new breed of bike that trains the entire body? 3 machines in one Cardio is often labelled as boring, but you can perish that thought with a quality air bike. If you’re in the mood for a cycle today – no worries. Get pedalling like you would on a spin bike. Fancy a more full-body workout? Air bikes can be used almost as an elliptical with the arms and pedals together. If you’ve had a gruesome leg day in the gym and your lower half isn’t up for it but you need your cardio, put your feet up on the fan’s foot rests (if your airbike has this feature like the Schwinn AD8 does.) Let your arms do the work as the bike triples up almost as an ergometer. This makes the airbike a piece of kit that contains tremendous value as well as being a huge space saver. Rather than buying three machines, you’ve got it all in one. Perfect for HIIT For conditioning, an air bike is the perfect tool for interval training like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). There is no programming required. You control the intensity – pedal and away you go. Other exercise bikes may use the weight of a flywheel combined with a resistance brake to add resistance to your workout. An air bike uses wind resistance via a large fan – so the harder you work, the more resistance you feel. It’s very linear and simple to use Total body workouts Providing a low-impact, total-body cardio workout – no muscle is left unworked on an airbike. The difference between an airbike and your typical stationary gym bike, is that your arms are invited to the party for more calorie burning and improved conditioning. The best part is that you get all of this without any impact to the joints. A rarity in a form of cardio that offers this much intensity and works so many muscles of the body. Unlimited intensity There is no limit to the intensity and resistance you can achieve with a decent airbike. While bog-standard gym bikes need their resistance programmed for, an air bike uses the wind resistance you generate through the fan. This gives you the advantage of varied and unlimited resistance which you can use to customize each part of your workout. Injury prevention and rehab Niggling injuries are common, whether they’re in the upper body joints like the shoulders or the joints lower down your body, such as the hips or knees. It comes with the territory in most activities. At some stage, you’ll pick up an injury. This normally means ceasing exercise, but not with an airbike, especially one with the quality and features of the Airdyne AD8 A serious knee or hip injury keeping you away from lower body cardio? No problem – the AD8 has two stationary foot rests on either side of the fan for you to isolate your legs if you can’t pedal. You’ll still get a workout through the bike arms. The Schwinn AD8 foot rests pictured Have an injury that feels better when standing? You have the option to use both the arms and pedals of the AD8 while standing, like an elliptical. The reverse is also true if your injury feels better when you sit down. Overall, the AD8 gives you a non-impact workout at a variety of angles to suit the rehab you’re going through. Airbike workouts for you to try Tabata The short, but intense intervals made famous by Japanese scientist, Dr Izumi Tabata. If you’re unaware of the infamously gruelling Tabata intervals, they’re basically 20 seconds of all out work, with a 10 second recovery repeated for around four minutes. Performing Tabata intervals is perfect on a Schwinn AD8 airbike as there is no messing around with resistance dials or buttons. You control your intensity and recovery through your pedalling, with no distractions. Always warm up with a few minutes of lighter pedalling before entering the world of hurt that is Tabata. Cool down when you’ve finished with the same amount of time you warmed up with. HIIT Intervals High intensity interval training can be split into ratios of work and recovery that you choose. For example, you could start with a work-to-rest ratio of 1:3 (one minute of work and three minutes of recovery) To progress as you get fitter, you could start to change this ratio in favour of work. 1:2, 1:1 and maybe when you are approaching beastmode levels of fitness, favour work intervals over recovery. The choice is yours with HIIT and the options are infinite. If you play a particular sport, your best bet would be to replicate the performance it demands. If you’re sprinting and stopping often for a game of football, for example, a 30 seconds sprint with a 30 second recovery would likely fit well. Keep your HIIT sessions to a maximum of 20 minutes to ensure you can recover from such exhausting workouts. Continuous MISS Moderate intensity steady state cardio. This is riding the bike continuously at a steady intensity. LISS – low intensity steady state – cardio is the acronym more often used, but airbikes give you nowhere to hide. Going too low in intensity will have an airbike crack the whip and demand more pedalling. This type of training is suitable for improving your performance within a set distance or time. For a quality airbike that offers a whole host of features including a range of programmes (interval, target, aerobic, anaerobic), an adjustable seat, multi position hand grips, a heart rate telemetry feature, multi-display LCD console showing you calories, watts, time, distance, speed, RPM and heart rate readouts of every workout, check out the Schwinn Airdyne AD8 at FitnessSuperstore.co.uk Written by Altug Kop TRAIN Digital Editor, contest prep coach and WBFF Pro fitness model. You may also like... A Path Less Travelled The Best Magnesium Supplement to Take and Why Why Are Gains So Hard To Build And So Easy To Lose?