Yes, they definitely are! You can burn plenty of calories on an air bike – but you’ve got to be able to sit on it and use it properly.
Air bikes work not only your lower body, but your upper body when you’re doing the movements with the alternating handlebars.
Adjusting the Bike to Fit Your Body
When you first sit on an air bike, chances are it’s not perfectly adjusted to your body. The seat on these exercise machines can be either raised or lowered. You can also move the seat forward or back.
First, you’re going to find the perfect seat height for you. Sit straight in the air bike, with your spine vertically aligned. With your feet on the pedals, rotate until one foot is the furthest down towards the ground it can be. Your pelvis should be flat, not tilted forward. If it is, then adjust the seat height. You may need to lower it more.
Next, determine whether the seat should be forwards or backwards. Put your feet on the pedals and grasp ahold of the handlebars. If you are sitting straight upright, your seat is too far forward. Your back and spine should have a slight angle as you work the alternating handlebars. If your back and spine are too angled, then the seat is too far back. Adjust the seat.
Okay, now that you have the bike properly adjusted to fit you, let’s talk about the different types of workouts you can do on an air bike to get in a good workout.
Air Bike Pacing
To get the best exercise out of your air bike, it’s all about pacing. Essentially, the faster you pedal, the more calories you’ll burn. Alternating pacing back and forth between faster and slower will change up your workout and increase your calorie burn over the entire length of time you’re pedaling.
First, position yourself comfortably and properly on the air bike, with your seat in the right spot, your feet on the pedals, and your hands on the alternating handles. Start with a very slow, easy pace that’s just enough to get your legs moving and the fan whirring. Think it as the kind of pace you could keep up for an hour. This is between 35 RPMs (revolutions per minute) and 40 RPMs for most people.
Increase your pace to between 50 and 55 RPMs. This is a pace that you could pedal for around 40 minutes without getting exhausted. It’s this pace you should be using in between your HIIT in the next section below.
Increase your pace even more up to between 60 and 65 RPMs. You could probably only maintain this speed for about five minutes. You’re certainly burning calories and working hard, but you’re not going all out.
Then, it’s time to try the ‘all out’ fastest speed you can handle. You could only do this speed for 60 seconds at the maximum time. The air bike’s fan goes extremely fast. The RPMs are at least 70 and could go as high as 80 RPMs depending on your fitness level.
These RPM numbers are approximate. Beginners can start with lower numbers, and more advanced fitness goers will have higher numbers. The point is, that you find your own pacing for different RPM numbers. Only then will you know when you’re pushing yourself.
How to Do HIIT Cardio on an Air Bike
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio workouts burn a lot of calories, get you sweating, and accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. With an HIIT workout, you’re pushing yourself as hard as you can for a small burst, and then doing a recovery period that is longer than the burst. This plays in nicely with the RPM exercise above. You’ll be doing your fastest and highest number RPM for 60 seconds or less, and then slowing down to a 50 to 60 RPM speed you can maintain comfortably that still gives you a workout.
A sample HIIT training workout looks like this:
- Slow pace warm up for between two minutes and five minutes. Choose your slowest pace from the RPMs, so that should be around 40 RPMs.
- Then, increase your pace dramatically, all the way up to your ‘all out’ RPMs. Give as much effort as you can. Sustain it for at least 20 seconds.
- Drop back down to a mid-range pace that’s faster than the warm-up, but not so fast you completely burn out. Pedal for 1 minute and 40 seconds.
- Increase to the ‘all out’ pace for 20 seconds.
- Drop back to the mid-range pace for 1 minute and 40 seconds.
- Repeat this cycle six more times, for a total of eight rounds.
A sample workout like this is excellent exercise and a tremendous calorie burner.