The air bike is a low-impact, low learning curve, low-risk of injury, high reward cardio machine that’s perfectly designed for high-intensity workouts.
Air bikes deliver a potent cardio stimulus. The harder you pedal, the more difficult the ride becomes. Combining the traditional bike pedals with dual action arms, and air bikes become a total body training experience.
This article is all about a middle-distance challenge, the 5-mile ride for time.
The 5-mile ride for time is an oxygen depleting, soul-crushing aerobic threshold workout.
If you do happen to own an air bike, the 5-mile ride for time can serve as cardio for the day, assuming you’re looking to sprinkle some in after resistance training.
Most people will finish the ride in 15 minutes or less, making this ride extremely time-efficient.
Air bike training is a bland topic to write about because there isn’t much technique to riding a bike.
To be honest, there’s very little skill required to peddle a stationary bike.
I’m not going to sit here and pick apart technique cues for riding a bike.
While the air bike is simple to operate, the simplicity IS what makes it such a great piece of equipment.
You can go HARD on an air bike, focusing purely on effort and output, breathing and controlling your brain’s attempts to get you to quit.
I wrote a more comprehensive article on air bikes here.
I appreciate the mental conditioning aspect of air bike training as much as the physical benefits.
As mentioned previously, the training effect is potent, blasting the entire body with the addition of the dual-action arms. Pushing and pulling the dual action arms fatigues the upper body, and it a lot tougher than it looks.
The resistance is proportionate to intensity.
In other words, the resistance increases as the exertion increases.
Sustaining higher intensity efforts is a first-class way to trash yourself (in a good way).
5-Mile Ride Instructions…
The instructions for the 5-mile ride are simple: ride 5 miles as quickly as possible.
Record your time so you can monitor progress and identify the time to beat for the next ride.
Tracking your numbers will give you massive fuel for future attempts.
Make sure you remember to record your time. Each personal best time serves as the target for the next attempt.
Constantly attacking your personal best is a great way to gauge improvements with conditioning.
Here’s a cinema-quality video of the closing seconds of a 5-mile effort…
Finding the data…
Over the years, I’ve been unable to find a log of best 5-mile air bike times on the internet. I’ve seen private gyms and colleges post times, but not the general public.
I’ve come across plenty of recorded times using the large fan Schwinn Airdyne, but fewer using modern air bikes like the Assault Bike.
The Schwinn Airdyne has been on the market for 20+ years so naturally there will be more data for the bike.
I was able to locate several clips of 5 -mile rides on YouTube, but watching someone ride a bike for 12 minutes is boring, not to mention no quality control to verify methods.
I’m looking for is visual proof of finishing time.
Strategies to crush the 5-Mile Ride…
Your best 5-mile time will depend on the following:
- Increase in fitness levels (strength, power, endurance, etc)
- Willingness to be uncomfortable for an extended period of time (grit).
Unlike a lot of popular air bike workouts, the 5-mile ride requires a bit of strategy.
Don’t sprint too early. Come out of the gates too hard, you’ll hit the wall and have nothing left to give as you near the end. I’ve done this plenty of times.
Don’t save it all for the end. Conserve energy for too long and valuable seconds are lost which might not be able to recover at later stages of the ride.
Pace yourself with RPM’s and heart rate. Monitor your heart rate (beats per minute) and pay attention to RPM’s. Both are tracked on the computer monitor.
Avoid obsessing over how far you’ve ridden. You’ll always think you’re farther than you actually are and wish you were farther. Settle into a challenging RPM range, focus on breathing and stay there. No need to keep glancing at the monitor when only 15 seconds have passed since you last checked.
Use your arms. The arms play an important part in finishing faster. You must get your arms involved to take on the stress. Push and pull, push and pull.
Lift your legs. The deadweight of the non-working leg makes it harder for the working leg and arm. Actively lift the non-working leg on each revolution.
Posture. Keep the chest tall and the butt planted firmly on the seat. Do not stand up, that is cheating. Keeping the chest tall will keep the airways open, versus hunching like a turtle and trying to breathe all coiled up.
What’s a good finishing time?
12 minutes or less is a great time.
Here are the closing seconds of my most recent attempt:
Finishing closer to 11 minutes is aggressive.
A sub-11 minute ride can be done, no doubt about it. However, as you become more fit, it becomes more difficult to shave seconds off the finishing time.
My best time is 11:07, verified with picture proof Instagram.
I need your help compiling the data…
After completing the 5-mile ride, stop back and leave your time in the comments section.
Snap a picture of the computer monitor like you see above.
We need proof. No cheaters.
Read more about fitness and workouts:
- 31 Exercises to Stay Fit
- Home Workouts: Pairing Crawling and Kettlebell Swings
- Basics of the Ido Portal Method