“The air bike is the most humbling piece of equipment in the gym,” says Brian Mazza, New York City-based creator of Four30 at PROJECT by Equinox. “It’s designed to make or break you. If you consistently work with it, it will make you.”
The air bike, which has moving handlebars and fans for wheels, automatically matches resistance to your work output. In other words, the harder you pedal with your feet and push and pull the handlebars with your arms, the more resistance you’re creating in the wheels, making your quads, glutes, hamstrings, back, chest, and arms work harder to keep the momentum going.
“This increases the intensity of the exercise quickly,” explains Peter Deelstra, Tier X coach and Equinox’s regional coordinator for personal trainer education and development in Los Angeles. That makes the air bike ideal as a cardio finisher or a quick, high-intensity session since it boosts post-exercise oxygen consumption, or how many calories you burn after a workout.
Once you’re comfortable with the coordination required to pedal with your legs while pushing and pulling with your arms, increase your speed to 70 to 80 revolutions per minute (RPMs) and make sure you maintain proper form. If you feel yourself swaying from side to side, elevating or rounding your shoulders, or holding your breath to keep your speed up, slow down, Deelstra says. You should be able to keep a neutral upper-body posture with your core slightly engaged.
To push the intensity, try these 10-minute intervals, designed by Deelstra. Start with the beginner’s workout before progressing to the intermediate and advanced routines. For optimal results, perform one of them at the end of your strength session as a cardio finisher.
Push/pull for 30 seconds at 80 to 100 RPMs. Reduce speed to 30 to 40 RPMs for 2 to 3 minutes. Perform 3 rounds.
Push/pull for 30 seconds at 80 to 100 RPMs. Reduce speed to 30 to 40 RPMs for 60 seconds max. Perform 5 to 7 rounds.
Push/pull for 30 seconds at 80 to 100 RPMs. Reduce speed to 30 to 40 RPMs for 30 seconds. Perform 10 rounds.