Air Bike Benefits: A Complete Guide

air bike benefits
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Designed to give an intense cardio workout, air bikes are taking the home fitness world by storm. Leaving you delighted and exhausted in equal measure, there almost limitless benefits to fan bike workouts. Once you complete your first workout, you’ll wonder how you ever kept fit without one.

Their versatility means that air bikes can deliver a brutal and effective workout to users of all fitness levels. They’re also low-impact and have a relatively small footprint compared to other home gym equipment. As a result, they’re becoming increasingly popular amongst home gym owners.

Our complete guide will take a look at the benefits of air bike workouts and help you decide whether or not it’s worth buying one.

What Are Air Bikes and How Do They Work?

Nicknamed Satan’s Tricycle, these machines stand out immediately from more conventional exercise bikes. They have moving handlebars that connect to and work in tandem with the pedals to drive the fan found at the front of the bike (this is why they’re also known as fan bikes). They can provide a full-body workout that is as formidable as they look, with calorie-burning and muscle-building the primary outcomes.

Why are Assault Bikes So Hard?

The way air bikes deliver resistance is what sets them apart from many other cardio machines. The fan at the front is driven by the power you put into the pedals and handlebars. The movement of the blades displaces air, which results in air resistance.

This means that the more effort you put in, the more resistance you will feel in the pedals and handlebars. As a result, an air bike can deliver unlimited levels of resistance and push your body to its limit.

To get the best workout results, you must work hard. And work hard you will. While you can pedal slowly, it’s much harder to go through the motions on an air bike. Going at even a ‘gentle’ pace gets the heart rate up and the sweat a flowin’.

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Do Air Bikes Provide a Good Workout?

An air bike is definitely not for the faint-hearted. They’re formidable, painful, and challenging, yet capable of putting a big smile on your face thanks to their fat-shredding, muscle-building, and cardiovascular-strengthening capabilities.

However you choose to use your air bike, you will probably get a good workout. Using both the handlebars and pedals will get you the ultimate cardio challenge, burning tons of calories and increasing cardiovascular capacity.

If your legs are tired though, you can stick your feet on the footpegs and battle with the handlebars alone. This will still burn plenty of calories, work your upper body muscles, and build cardio endurance.

If your upper body is feeling sore or you just want to focus on your lower body, you can forget the handlebars and just cycle those calories away. Using just the pedals, an air bike can be used like any other exercise bike. However, there’s nowhere to rest your hands whilst you beast your legs, meaning you need to hold yourself upright (which is probably a good thing because it prevents you from hunching over).

Air Bikes for Cardio

Endurance sessions on an air bike have the potential to be the most grueling and severe home workout you can face. Using the in-built computer you can easily set up endurance-based sessions to build stamina and cardio health, and promote weight loss.

The longer the workout goes on, the harder the session will feel. This is not a ground-breaking feature of endurance sessions, however, to maintain the benefits of an air bike you have to keep pushing to maintain the resistance. What’s more, if you don’t push then it can be even harder to move the pedals and handlebars at any sort of pace.

Air Bikes for HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training)

Woman doing high intensity interval on an air bike

If you don’t fancy a long endurance session, then you can hop on an air bike and go for a short, sharp high-intensity interval session.

In a 1-minute interval, you can nearly max out your heart rate and burn a ridiculous amount of calories (the record for estimated number of calories burned in 60 seconds on an air bike stands at 87!). This makes them a great addition to a circuit session, or you can devise a workout that includes multiple air bike sets with short rest periods.

It’s worth experimenting with different interval lengths and rest periods. You can even mix it up with some intervals using only the legs, and others using only the arms.

HIIT sessions on an air bike can add variety to your training, burn extra calories, and build cardio health. Due to the relatively high resistance, you should also increase muscular strength and endurance.

Air Bikes for Recovery and Rehab

One of the more underrated benefits of fan bikes is their low-impact nature and specialized setup that reduces strain and pressure on joints and gets the blood pumping.

They’re great for anyone that’s returning from injury and aiming to build their fitness without putting too much strain on the injured area. Like all exercise bikes, fan bikes allow for safe movement with no impact while also promoting blood flow to the area of injury, thus aiding recovery. However, air bikes are a superior choice for rehabbing leg injuries, especially when compared to spin bikes and other typical exercise bikes. This is because you can pop your feet up on the pegs and just use the handlebars, which ensures you’ll still do strenuous cardio and HIIT without exacerbating your leg injury.

The unique set-up reduces strain on muscles and joints and engages large portions of your muscle mass, which also makes assault bikes the perfect tool for active recovery.

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Muscles Worked by a Fan Bike

Assault bikes can deliver a near full-body workout. The pedals keep your leg muscles engaged whilst the moving handlebars work most of the upper body. This simultaneous activation of most of your muscle mass places significant demand on your energy systems and neatly sums up the benefits that air bikes provide: They make you fit and strong. The only piece of exercise equipment that comes close in comparison to an air bike is a rowing machine.

Nevertheless, let’s look in more detail at the muscles you’ll be working.

Muscles worked Detail

Hamstrings, Quads & Glutes

All the major leg muscles are worked hard on an air bike routine. Your quads are worked on as you push downwards on the pedals, while your hamstrings on the way up. The glutes provide support on both strokes.

Interval training on an assault bike is the best way to strengthen and tone leg muscles (as opposed to low-intensity or steady-state cardio).

Core muscles

Unlike a conventional stationary bike, a strong core is required to maintain good posture on an air bike, meaning there’s the potential to strengthen your abdominals, obliques, and paraspinal muscles. For maximum benefit, tighten your core and pedal with intensity.


Using the correct pedaling technique can exercise your calf muscles. Keeping blood flow running through your calves will keep them healthy and reduce the chances of strain. Be sure to warm them up before diving into a full-on sprint though. Also, using caged pedals will better activate the calf muscles.

Biceps & Triceps

Through its handlebars, an air bike allows for arm flexing. This means you can tone your more glamourous muscles such as biceps and triceps building functionality, mobility, and strength in your arms.


Pushing and pulling on the handlebars activates the anterior and posterior deltoids (anterior on the push, posterior on the pull).

Back Muscles

The push and pull of the handlebars also works the lats, traps, and rhomboid muscles.

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Additional Air Bike Benefits

  • Efficient blood flow through the body and key muscles.
  • Working the upper body and core (especially the back muscles) can improve posture and balance, supporting day-to-day tasks.
  • The release of endorphins while exercising on an air bike can improve mental health and well-being.
  • Save money and time on gym memberships and other added fitness costs.

Some Limitations of Air Bikes

Despite their numerous benefits, there are situations where an air bike may not be suitable.

  1. The repetitive motion used on an air bike can hinder your flexibility and mobility. To avoid this consider doing extra mobility and flexibility exercises before and/or after your workout session.
  2. The air rushing over the fan is noisy. If in a small apartment or house with others, this constant noise can get annoying and disruptive. The introduction of belt-driven air bikes means they are a lot quieter than the older chain-driven models.
  3. While not as bad as other exercise bikes, you may still end up in a hunched-over position when using an assault bike. So, if you’re prone to back injuries or suffer from back pain consider a different cardio machine. Alternatively, you could make sure to perform back stretches before and after your air bike session or stick to short sessions.

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What to Look For in an Air Bike

The best air bikes have several things in common that drive the quality of your workout and whether you make the best use of your time on the machine.

  • Build quality: This can affect how stable the air bike is during sprints as well as how durable it is.
  • Cost: Top-of-the-line assault bikes do come at a higher cost (as with most products), although there are some great value options out there if you do your research.
  • Drive system: More modern bikes are turning to a quieter, more durable, and smoother belt-driven system over the traditional chain drive. This is the way to go if you’re going to be using the air bike in an apartment or shared household, or you’ll just be spending a lot of time on the bike.
  • Footprint: Air bikes don’t fold, so consider the space you have and check the footprint of the bike before buying.

There are a few leading air bikes on the market, each with its pros and cons. Schwinn and Assault Fitness are arguably the market leaders, although Rogue Fitness’ Echo Air Bike is exceptional (it’s arguably the best of the bunch).

Rogue Echo Bike Schwinn AirDyne Pro Assault AirBike





Drive System





127 lbs

113 lbs

98 lbs


58” L x 30” W

42” L x 20” W

51” L x 23” W

Fan Diameter

27” (10 blades)

24” (26 blades)

25” (6 blades)

THFF Rating




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An Air Bike Workout to Get You Started

Now that you’re up to speed on the benefits of owning an air bike, how about a workout that can help you maximize these benefits and make the most of your new purchase.

Most models come with a few preset workouts to help you get sweating quickly and easily, or you can check out our simple Tabata-style workout below.

Air Bike Tabata Protocol

This simple-to-follow interval workout is ideal for beginners as it allows you to work at your own pace and push to your limits.

To follow, simply push as hard as you can for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat 8 times, then rest for 1 minute.

For best results, you want to repeat this workout at least twice, so it should last around 10 minutes. Perfect for a quick workout on your lunch break, or before you head out to work.

Be sure to do a dynamic warm-up before taking on a Tabata, and don’t forget to keep hydrated during the breaks.

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Final Thoughts

An air bike is one of the best ways to burn calories and fat, tone upper and lower body muscles, and build cardiovascular endurance. Their heavy-duty nature makes them formidable-looking machines, and they can deliver a workout to match.

There are many benefits and very few cons to owning an air bike. If your fitness goals are increased muscular and cardiovascular endurance, calorie-burning, and expending colossal amounts of energy then look no further than this breath-taking (literally!) machine.


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