The Assault Bike, or Air Bike, has gained quite a bit of popularity over the last few years. Anyone who has used the air bike knows that this piece of equipment can be particularly painful when used for high-threshold work, but the air bike can provide additional benefits, other than just smoking your clients.
By using the Air Bike, we can choose from a wide variety of conditioning measures. For most high-level CrossFitters the Air Bike is a staple in their programming and is used on the regular. For regular folks that simply want to improve their conditioning and lose body fat, the Air Bike can certainly be a vehicle that drives the results you’re looking for, but to avoid overtraining and boredom, you’ll want to be a little more calculated in how you implement the Air Bike.
Here are some options to consider:
Aerobic System: Cardiac Output Method
The Cardiac Output Method helps improve oxygen supply by increasing the efficiency of how well the heart can deliver oxygen and by developing the peripheral vascular network. This method works by stimulating eccentric cardiac hypertrophy through volume overload of cardiac fibers, thus causing them stretch. This leads to an increase in left ventricular cavity volume.
Any low-intensity exercises, i.e., jogging, biking, swimming, jumping rope will accomplish this, as long as heart-rate is in the correct range
Anaerobic Lactic: Lactic Power Intervals
Lactic power output is an essential component of prolonged high energy output. This method works by stimulating an increase in the enzymes involved in anaerobic glycolysis and shifting the metabolism of working muscles to rely more on anaerobic vs. aerobic metabolism.
A wide variety of exercises can be used, from sprints to specific movements done at a max intensity
Anaerobic Alactic: Alactic Power Intervals
Alactic Power intervals are explosive bursts of maximal effort work. This method improves the rate of ATP regeneration of the Alactic system by increasing the number of enzymes involved in its energy production. Any repetitive explosive movement can be used.
Keep in mind that higher-threshold work should NOT be done in back-to-back sessions, but rather you should separate those sessions by 72 hours. These are just three options for each system; there is a variety of measures you could use, but these three will certainly help get you on your way.
Here’s what a sample week of programming may look like:
Lactic Power Intervals
2-4 Series of:
3 x 30s Max Effort. Rest 2:00
Rest 8:00-15:00 between series
Cardiac Output Training
45 Minutes of Low-Effort Work (Zone 1, 130-150 BPM).
*Every 9 minutes get off the bike and walk around for 60s.
Alactic Power Intervals
10 x 8s Max Effort. 2-5 Minutes of Active Rest
Cardiac Power Method
5 x 120s. Rest 2-5:00 or HR at 120-130 BPM
In short, the Assault Air Bike is a training tool that can efficiently help us improve the conditioning of all three energy systems. The Assault bike can also provide a balance from the same ole’ jogging wear and tear and remove athletes from the general breakdown that occurs with frequent bouts of running. Keep in mind, these are only three methods, and you could certainly extrapolate more ideas from these three, but it’s important to remember the overall intent and ensure that rest intervals are long enough to elicit the correct response.