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Killer Air Bike Workouts To Crank Up Your Cardio

Fiit air bike
Fiit coach Michael Myers (Image credit: Fiit)

Connected home treadmills, stationary bikes and rowing machines rose to prominence over the pandemic, but the air bike (or assault bike) – which combines the pedals of an exercise bike with the hand levers of an arm bike or elliptical machine – didn’t make it out of the CrossFit box where it’s been a mainstay for a decade. 

Now, interactive workout app Fiit is banking on these devices becoming a core component of home gyms up and down the land, releasing a set of workouts that connect to an AssaultBike (£899 from FIIT (opens in new tab)) from Assault Fitness. 

“Unlike spin classes, cycling, running and skipping, which are all lower-body dominant activities, the air bike’s unique push-and-pull action allows you to work your upper body and legs simultaneously,” Fiit master trainer Luke Baden tells Coach

“Using an air bike is a whole-body cardio workout. It’s low-impact, so you’re less likely to suffer repetitive strain injuries like shin splints or runner’s knee. It’s also far quicker to pick up and master than a rowing machine, for example.” 

Fiit has devised three kinds of air bike class – Endure, Sprint and Metcon – and its roster of elite coaches believe will take their users’ fitness levels to new heights. “The human body creates energy in one of three ways,” says Baden. “Most fitness content only targets the anaerobic energy system associated with HIIT training and/or the aerobic energy system. If you only work one, no matter how much you improve you’ll only be tapping into a third of the benefits.” 

Here, Baden has exclusively shared tasters of his three favourite workouts from the app for you to try at home (or wherever your nearest air bike resides).

Join FIIT (opens in new tab) | £20 a month, £120 a year, 14-day free trial available

Air Bike Workout 1 – Endure

Fiit air bike

Fiit master trainer Luke Baden (Image credit: Fiit)

“Our Endure classes deliver a large calorie burn, as you will be working for long periods of time,” says Baden. “You’ll become more aerobically fit, so you’ll improve the functioning of your heart and lungs. Working like this will also trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin – aka the ‘love drug’ – meaning you’re likely to feel more connected to others and at ease during the day.” 

The Workout This 23-minute session is a slimmed-down version of Fiit’s Endure #1 class with coach Adrienne Herbert. You set off at an even pace, then step on the accelerator at regular intervals. The work period in each cycle reduces with each round. Keep an eye on your pace or revolutions per minute (RPM) to gauge your effort and try to be consistent across rounds.

Warm up for 30sec on the air bike at your active recovery pace.

  1. Time 3min Pace 50%
  2. Time 3min Pace 60%
  3. Time 3min Pace 70%
  4. Time 30sec Pace 80%
  5. Time 2min Pace 50%
  6. Time 2min Pace 60%
  7. Time 2min Pace 70%
  8. Time 30sec Pace 80%
  9. Time 60sec Pace 50%
  10. Time 60sec Pace 60%
  11. Time 60sec Pace 70%
  12. Time 30sec Pace 80%

Warm down for 3min on the air bike at your active recovery pace.

Air Bike Workout 2 – Sprint

Fiit air bike

Fiit coach Michael Myers (Image credit: Fiit)

“The main benefits with our Sprint classes are increased strength and power,” says Baden. “You’ll become more explosive on the air bike and be able to generate higher RPM. Your muscles will get stronger, your nervous system will become more efficient and you enjoy a nice hit of dopamine, the reward chemical, once you’re done.”

The Workout This abridged workout is borrowed from Fiit’s Sprint #6 class with coach Michael Myers (not that Michael Myers). It is designed for all levels and should take around 12 minutes, including the warm-up and warm-down. The four rounds alternate between short sprints on the air bike, a floor exercise, and a period at recovery pace back in the saddle. 

For the air bike sprints, aim to drive with both your arms and legs, keeping your head up to help your breathing. Keep an eye on the max power you generate in each 30-second burst and try to keep it at the same level every round.

Warm up for 3min on the air bike at your active recovery pace.

1A Air bike sprint Time 30sec

1B Sit-up to touch ankles Time 30sec

1C Air bike active recovery Time 40sec

2A Air bike sprint Time 30sec

2B Squat jump Time 30sec

2C Air bike active recovery Time 40sec

3A Air bike sprint Time 30sec

3B Narrow-grip press-up Time 30sec

3C Air bike active recovery Time 40sec

4A Air bike sprint Time 30sec

4B Plank Time 30sec

4C Air bike active recovery Time 60sec

Warm down for 2min on the air bike at your active recovery pace.

Air Bike Workout 3 – Metcon

Fiit air bike

Fiit coach Gus Vaz Tostes (Image credit: Fiit)

“These classes deliver a high calorie burn and, if done properly, increase your metabolism after class,” says Baden. “You’ll also become more efficient at working without oxygen and build some inner resilience as you learn to survive inside what I like to call the pain cave.”

The Workout This 17-minute session is adapted from Fiit’s intermediate level Metcon #7 class with coach Gus Vaz Tostes. Perform three rounds of a max-calorie effort on the air bike for 90 seconds, split up by 90 seconds alternating between sumo deadlift high pulls and thrusters. 

Warm up for 5min on the air bike. Alternate using your arms only for 30 seconds with your legs resting on the foot bars, then using only your legs for 30 seconds at your active recovery pace.

1 Air bike max calories

Time 90sec 

Reset the timer on the air bike dashboard and rip into 90 seconds of a max-calorie effort at a pace you can maintain for the full set. Don’t go too fast too early. After 90 seconds, note the calories burned.

2 Dumbbell complex

Sumo deadlift high pull Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart over a pair of medium dumbbells. Hinge at your hips and bend your knees, keeping your chest upright, and lower until you can grab the weights. As you rise back up, pull the dumbbells up to chest height, keeping your elbows high. Lower the weights by reversing the movement, tap the floor with the dumbbells and go straight into the next rep. Perform three reps.  

Thrusters With the same weights, hold the dumbbells at shoulder height and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat, keeping your knees wide apart and chest upright. As you drive up to stand, punch the weights overhead, keeping your elbows close to your ears. Return the weights to shoulder height and continue into the next rep. Perform three reps, then return to the sumo deadlift high pulls. Keep switching exercises every three reps for 90 seconds, resting for a few breaths when you need to.

Warm down for 3min on the air bike at an active recovery pace.

Join FIIT (opens in new tab) | £20 a month, £120 a year, 14-day free trial available

Sam Rider
Sam Rider

Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix (opens in new tab). Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.