I didn’t think it was possible to hate something more than rowing (I’m 5’1”, firmly in the CrossFit Hobbit division), and then my box owner brought in a new torture device: the Assault Air Bike. This seemingly innocuous piece of machinery is worlds away from the comfy stationary bikes found in the local Globo gym or spin classes; it’s a nefarious bike that ramps up the resistance as you push, pull, and pedal your way through a WOD or cash out. But as hated as it can be, it also is a great piece of equipment to add in to WODs – and to use on your own pre- or post-WOD.
1. IT CHALLENGES DIFFERENT MUSCLE GROUPS.
The whole point of CrossFit is to constantly vary workouts. It’s part of the philosophy, and it’s why you can go months at your box and never see the same WOD twice. In the CrossFit in 100 Words summary, the first thing you should do hard and fast is bike, followed by running, swimming, and rowing. Adding the Assault bike into WODs adds another movement that challenges your quads and your arms in different ways.
2. IT TORCHES CALORIES.
You could say the same for the rower – but plenty of people join CrossFit boxes to lose weight. The Assault bike burns calories like crazy because you’re using both your upper and lower body to work, and you’re getting some serious conditioning to boot. It can help you break through training plateaus.
3. IT TOUGHENS YOU MENTALLY.
CrossFit in itself fosters mental toughness, but when you add in some Assault bike tabata, you learn just how long 20 seconds can be. But it also helps you learn to control your mind during tough workouts and push through them.
4. IT HELPS YOU RECOVER FROM INJURIES.
If you can’t run or row due to an injury, like a rolled ankle, you can sub in the Assault bike. It’s movement without the impact, and because you’re moving, you’re getting blood flowing into the area to speed recovery. (Of course, clear it with your doctor before you go back to the box, and ask your coach.)
5. IT HELPS WITH ACTIVE RECOVERY.
On off days, if you normally sit around and do nothing, you’re probably not getting the most out of those days. Rest days are good for going for walks, doing some mobility work, or hopping on the Assault bike for a 10-minute moderate intensity ride.
6. IT’S… A FAN.
If nothing else, the Assault bike is a fan. If you’re sweating away next to a few of them, you’ll at least get a breeze going (which is really nice during Texas summers). During a partner WOD, while your partner pedals away, you can enjoy the breeze while you rest – just don’t forget to return the favor when it’s your turn to hop on the bike.
The next time you get to the box early, hop on one of those Satan’s tricycles for a moderate ride to get the blood flowing. Or, after a WOD, use it to unload (again, at a moderate pace). It will help you get used to the whole-body activity – and may even help you fall in love with the Assault bike.
This is a guest post from Christine Parizo, a half marathoner and new CrossFitter based in Houston. She recently qualified for guaranteed entry for the Houston Marathon and plans to run it in 2017. Christine blogs about running, CrossFit, and fitness at RunOutoftheBox.com. You can follow Christine on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.