Five Tips to Crush Your Next Assault Bike Workout

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Ah, the Assault Bike. Many of you love to hate it for the insane leg pump you get within 15 seconds of riding the bike, for the mental push you must to have in order to keep going and not flop onto the floor, and for your heart rate skyrocketing within .8 seconds of being on the bike, to name just a few. But these are some of the reasons that a few people, myself included, absolutely love the Assault Bike! The ability that a piece of equipment has to test so many things (from physical tests to mental tests) is unrivaled in the fitness world.

Many athletes just jump on the bike, close their eyes and pray they reach the desired time/calories needed for the workout without totally annihilating themselves. However, with that mentality, we often see a lack of technique when athletes get on the bike. Instead of being methodical about their seat settings, foot placement and energy exertion, they just get on and put the pedal to the metal. We want that mentality to change by providing you with some tips on how to Assault Bike like the pros.

Your Legs (Not Arms) Should Drive the Bike

Moving with your arms too much will make you lock up sooner — your arms just fatigue you out systematically way faster. Instead, try producing less movement with the upper body and just use it enough to control all the power that the lower body is generating. Your focus should be on your leg drive.

Don’t Let Your Knees Flare Out

It is really common to see people flare their knees out at the top of the revolution but doing this doesn’t allow you to apply force straight down on the bike. Instead, try to keep the knee in line with the foot by not letting the knees flare out or sway a ton. Swaying a ton generally means you are using too much arms, therefore the knees are flailing about and you are losing power from your legs.

Set Up for Optimal Leg Drive

One important thing in measuring for the seat adjustment is making sure that the ball of your foot is on the pedal. Most people place their entire foot on the pedal which is not ideal for maximal power output. From there, when setting your seat up, the ball of your foot should be the only thing on the pedal and your leg shouldn’t be locked out at the bottom of the revolution. This set-up may take a little while to get used to because sometimes you feel like you are reaching but it definitely helps in the long run by preventing you from bringing your knees up too high at the top of each revolution, and helps you express the most power from your legs at the bottom of the revolution.

Seat placement is totally dependent on the athlete, how they ride, and their body type. Placing a seat further over the top of the pedal means you will be more quad driven and placing the seat further back behind the pedal means you will be more posterior chain driven. The important thing is to play around with it and find out what feels best for you. Do some time trials with different seat positions and then, using the results from your time trials, choose a seat adjustment based on the workout requirements.

Keep Your Head Neutral

Instead of looking at the monitor the whole time, willing it to click through the calories faster, try to look ahead so that you can breathe. Keep as neutral a head position as possible and only look down at the monitor with your eyes so that you aren’t closing your airway – it will help you stay much calmer.

Focus on Your Breath

Power Breathing is a technique that helps you make full use of your lung capacity by helping you make full use of your diaphragm, expand your entire rib cage, and ramp yourself up for a high-intensity workout like on the Assault Bike. It can also aid in a cool-down to down regulate after a burner workout. 

Before a workout, take a few power breathing inhales through the nose, and an even more powerful exhale through the mouth. Try to expand your belly and rib cage and then push it all out, this is using your breath to get you ready to hit the workout hard.

During a workout, you can use power breathing to help down-regulate your breathing before the next interval. When you get finished with one of the intervals and are in a rest period, take a few big powerful inhales through the nose and then exhale through the mouth, then after a few of those, take 3 long inhales and exhales, at least one of the breaths coming through the nostrils.

Need more work on your metabolic conditioning?

As CrossFitters, one of the easiest areas to neglect is proper metabolic conditioning to maintain a solid aerobic base. It’s fun to train the short and heavy metcons, pack it up and call it a day. But if you’re serious about better performance in your training, or just want to build your aerobic capacity to run a long distance race, you have to spend time training all of the different energy systems. 
We care so deeply about you increasing your capacity that we have made the Invictus Engine online program FREE for the month of December! Give it a try and reap the benefits!

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