If you’ve never heard of an Airbike before, you’d better sit down and prepare to learn about the kingpin of cardio machines as we delve into some fan bike benefits that make this fitness gear a must.
The Airbike combines the best of spinning and of Crossfit to create an extreme full body workout that will have you dripping with sweat in minutes. It’s not for the faint hearted, so we’ll understand if not everyone reads this post to the end. For those of you who are looking to take your workout to the next level and really challenge yourself, keep reading.
What exactly is an air bike?
Fans with benefits
The Air bike is a stationary bike with an inbuilt wind resistant fan.
You’ll normally take a seated position and, through a combination of pedalling action and pulling and pushing two vertical arms, move a large fan fly wheel. Rather than a weighted flywheel, air bikes use a large fan at the front of the bike. This has the benefit of providing as much (or as little) resistance as you want.
Using the bike is simple: in addition to peddling with your lower body, you push and pull levers with your upper body. The fan picks up speed from these movements and this creates resistance that you have to use your entire body to fight through.
Top 10 benefits you’ll get from using an air bike
- Infinite resistance – you’re not limited by the weight of a flywheel, or the level of in-built resistance.
- Nice, natural feel – the only thing you’re fighting against is the air
- Save time – Get a tough, sweaty workout in a short time
- Or go your own pace – You can absolutely take your time on an air bike
- Easy to use – using an air bike is quick and easy
- Great for all ages and experience – You set the resistance by how hard you ‘go at it’!
- Work everything at once – well, just about. At the least you’re working both upper and lower body.
- Integrate into your other training – Great for jumping on and doing a quick blast to compliment your workout.
- Work on stamina and cardio – Air bikes are a great form of cardio.
- Burn calories FAST – See below for how many calories you can burn in a minute!
What muscles do air bikes work?
This dual engagement of the upper and lower body is why Airbike workouts are much more effective form of cardio than spin workouts – and spin workouts are no walk in the park!
Unlike other forms of cardio, such as jogging or cycling, the Airbike can be easily integrated into a circuit training programme because it facilitates an intense anaerobic burst. Essentially, this is when your body converts sugar into energy without high levels of oxygen.
This occurs when you do high intensity bursts of exercise that require a fast delivery of energy. Powerlifting, bodyweight exercises, and other HIIT classics are good examples of anaerobic exercises.
Which is the best air bike to buy?
Unlike upright exercise bikes, and spin bikes, the selection of air bikes is no where near as vast and confusing. While more companies are catching up with the demand for these air-based cycles, there’s still a pretty good, if reduced choice in the UK. If you like the sound of what these intense workout bikes have to offer, don’t miss our guide to the best of the current air bikes.
Are air bikes good for cardio?
Yes. Big time.
It’s not just a one minute wonder though. The Airbike provides the setting for the most gruelling and intense workout session of your life that’ll leave you buzzing with endorphins afterwards.
The in-built computer gives you access to a range of pre-programmed workouts as well as the option to create your own. The potential combinations of targets and intensity settings are effectively limitless, which helps to shake up routine and add variety to your training.
You can play with these to create endurance focused workouts and build stamina, as well as more intense short workouts. It also delivers instant feedback of your performance metrics, including heartrate, calorie count, wattage, speed, and distance. This’ll motivate you to reach for a new PB every time you sit on the seat.
New to air bikes? The JTX Mission Air Bike is a really good quality bike to get started with.
What are the benefits of a Fan Bike?
The primary benefit of an Airbike workout is its unparalleled calorie burning. If you think about it, you’re effectively doing two intense workouts at once – one upper and one lower – so it should come as no surprise that this is a real calorie drainer.
In fact, the current world record for highest number of calories burned in a minute was achieved on an Airbike. Rob MacDonald, an American personal trainer, burned an epic 87 calories in one minute!
Here’s a great video laying out some of the benefits to why you’d want to buy an air bike
How many calories does an air bike burn?
Short answer: a LOT
While the Airbike can legitimately claim to burn up to 87 calories a minute, it’s more in the region of 30 calories a minute for us regular folk (although, who knows, may the next Rob MacDonald is reading this).
An unexpected benefit of the Airbike is how easy it is to use – in a technical sense. On a regular bike, positioning is very important, namely the height of your seat and handlebars relative to one another and your own height.
This can often require a degree of specialised setup to avoid injury and strain to the upper body, especially the core and back. With the Airbike, because the rotational motion engages the whole trunk and upper body, you transmit power vertically down your legs more efficiently while in a position that support a natural flow and this protects against strain.
A similar effect is seen in boxing. As a boxer punches forward with their arm, they push down with their leg to create power up through the body. Pretty much anyone can get on an Airbike and safely operate it because the machine keeps you in place while you use it.
What are the negatives to air bikes?
Rather than just singing the praises of this unusual kind of exercise bike, here’s some of the down sides to this bike:
- Noise – As with air based rowing machines, these bikes make one hell of a racket even if you’re just doing a lighter workout!
- Lack of selection – As mentioned earlier, these bikes are not a mass-market product just yet, in the same way other exercise bikes are. So there’s not a lot of choice.
- Very simple display consoles – One thing that’s kind of ‘the way it is’ when it comes to air bikes is a very simple console, even on the better bikes,
- Staying interested – We’ve yet to see an air bike that has something like a colour LCD screen so you’ll have to make your own amusment if you’re cylcingh for long periods.
- They’re not cheap – If you’re on the hunt for a new budget spin bike, you might be disappointed. That said, they are tough machines and bargain hunters might find a good machine on eBay.
Fan Bikes vs Other gym bikes
What’s the difference between air bike and exercise bike?
While they have some things in common with regular upright indoor cycles – you’re sitting down and pedalling, there’s a world of difference between these machines and regular indoor training bikes.
- They have a different feel – Because this is a kind of cross training, these bikes aren’t just training your legs. This dual movement, combined with the large fan-style resistance make for a completely unique-feeling exercise.
- Air bikes make a lot more noise – as previously stated in the drawbacks, these bikes make a loud, if not-unpleasant, WHOOOSHing noise when you’re exercising.
- Other exercise bikes let you set the resistance – With air bikes, there’s nothing to set. You’ll choose your level real-time.
- You can break a sweat faster – If you’re looking for a way to go from 0 to OMG – where’s my water bottle, air bikes are exactly what you’re looking for.
So, are air bikes worth it?
In addition to being an extremely effective and safe cardio machine, what we really love about the Airbike is that it’s helped us to smash through training plateaus in the past.
We’re sure you’ve experienced that block to your progress, the frustration of smashing out workouts but them seemingly making no difference to your ability. The Air bike was our saving grace and provided a way to shake up what had become stale.
Overall, the Airbike offers a top tier workout that can’t be beaten but it’s one of those things that needs to be experienced first-hand. Hopefully, this post will have piqued your interest and you’ll try it for yourself.
Be sure to get in touch if you do, we really enjoy hearing about the relationships that people have with Airbike!
References & Further Air Bike Reading
- What’s the best Air Bike Exercise Machine?
- There’s an excellent thread on Reddit: What’s so good about an air bike?
- learn more about the History of the Air Bike
- Read about the most calories anyone has burned on an Air bike here
- There’s some good information on HIIT cycling on The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research