Assault bikes and rowers have gained a reputation as excellent machines for fat loss and muscle building. Fitness magazines around the world feature them along with scientifically proven workouts to help you burn calories quickly.
But which one is better for fast weight loss?
Keep reading below to find out. By the end of this article, you’ll know which machine fits your needs best.
Assault Bike Vs. Rower Cardio Intensity
Air bikes offer higher cardio intensity than rowers.
Assault bikes offer little resistance so you can move very quickly. That means you’ll get your heart rate to 90% of its maximum within three minutes of jumping on the assault bike.
Of course, you’ll have to push yourself to your limits for that.
Here’s why that happens:
Fan bikes let you move fast, so your lungs will work overtime to inhale/ exhale, which means your heart will pump blood faster too. By comparison, rowing machines allow you to breathe in deeper and steadily, which keeps your pulse lower.
- Once you get more used to the assault bike, you can learn to breathe in deeply, and thus, you’ll slow down your heart rate.
- Rowers increase your heart rate, too, especially if you challenge yourself with tougher resistances. These machines are widely recognized for their heart health benefits.
There’s another thing:
Air bikes offer lower cardio intensity than rowers too.
How can that be possible, you ask? Well, if you get up on an assault bike and pedal really slowly, the resistance and speed will be kept at a basal level.
Conversely, even the lowest intensity on a rower is tricky if you’re mobility challenged or recovering from surgery.
Assault bikes burn more calories than rowers.
Some sources say that you can lose up to 80 calories/ minute pedaling at maximum intensity. However, the average Joe and Jane will burn about 20 calories/ minute on an assault bike. By comparison, rowing at full power only burns around 12-15 calories/ minute.
Let’s analyze that difference:
Air bikes have bodyweight-adjustable resistances, so the faster you pedal, the more that resistance increases. Basically, you’re in a race with yourself both in terms of speed and force – one augmenting the other.
Rowing burns a significant amount of calories as well.
A 160-pound person rowing for an hour at medium intensity can get rid of about 500 calories. That’s 2-25% of the average calories you need each day.
There’s another side to this comparison:
Let’s say that you’re mobility-challenged and can’t move quickly.
In this case, a rower will help you burn more calories because it has more resistance even at the lowest speeds.
Assault Bike Vs. Rower Weight Loss
Assault bikes technically help you lose weight faster than a rower because they burn more calories.
However, the cold numbers don’t always tell the whole story.
Weight loss is a matter of time and specific body composition. Thus, it depends on your:
- Likes and dislikes
- Pre-existing medical issues
- Biological sex
- Current weight
- Physical limitations
- Your weight loss goals
Here’s what the hard math tells us:
A fan bike can help you burn about 1,000 calories per hour – twice as much as a rowing machine. You need to burn 3,500 calories to get rid of a pound.
So if your goal is to shed 20 pounds, you’ll need 70 hours on a fan bike and 140 hours on a rowing machine. At 1 hour/ day, that’s 70 days for the fan bike and 140 days for the rowing machine.
But here’s the deal:
If you’re doing vigorous steady-state cardio every day, without any strength training, you’ll slow down your metabolism too much because:
- Your heart gets used to the intensity so that it will slow down. Basically, it will be tough to get your heart rate up to burn enough calories.
- Your muscles will wear out because of all the effort and because cardio eats up the glucose in your body.
That means you can experience a weight loss plateau and even weight gain after 30 days of assault bike workouts.
Instead, you can keep losing weight steadily on a rowing machine because rowers increase your muscle mass – we’ll get into that below.
Here’s what to do instead:
- Use assault bikes for HIIT. Alternating between bursts of low and high impact keeps your heart, brain, and body guessing so they won’t get used to a specific pattern. As a result, your metabolism won’t decelerate.
- Take lots of rest days. Assault bikes work your entire body’s muscles, so you need to allow them to recover completely. Otherwise, you’ll put too much strain on them.
Assault bikes help you burn more fat than rowing machines in the short term because:
- They offer a higher cardio intensity
- They burn more calories
Of course, these statements are valid if you pedal really hard and mostly if you’re an older adult, according to this study. If you’re younger, you’ll need to try HIIT instead of steady-state cardio.
By comparison, rowing machines will help you build muscle mass even at very low speeds. So the more your body increases its muscle volume, the more your fat stores will diminish.
And there’s another thing:
This sustained muscle mass building will help you with fat loss in the long term as well.
Assault Bike Vs. Rower Muscle Gain
Fan bikes exercise your entire body’s muscles, just like rowing machines. By comparison, treadmills are better for lower body muscle toning – but we have a separate article about that here.
- Assault bikes need you to push hard to see real muscle gain. Otherwise, at low intensities, they’re better for flexibility and muscle tone.
- Assault bikes work out your legs better than rowing machines at lower levels.
- Rowing machines will improve your upper body composition at lower levels better compared to fan bikes.
Assault bikes and rowing machines are both low-impact, so they’ll protect your joints, especially your knees and ankles.
- Assault bikes keep you in an upright position. That means they’re a more weight-bearing exercise than rowing and consequently have better chances of improving your bone density.
- Rowing machines put more strain on your lumbar area, so they’ll aggravate your lower back pain. If you maintain an incorrect form during exercise, you can rupture a disc or ligament in your lower back.
- The faster and harder you exercise on these machines, the more impact you’ll feel on your joints.
Assault bikes can help you lose weight and fat faster than rowers, but you’ll have to pedal at high intensities for that. Conversely, rowing machines are better than fan bikes if you’re exercising at medium power, thanks to their muscle-building capacity. As such, when you’re building more muscle, your body can burn more fat and calories.
Besides, assault bikes are more versatile than rowers because they allow very low-intensity levels too. That makes them the perfect machines for the elderly, people recovering from surgery, or mobility-challenged.
But in the end, it’s all a matter of preference. Choose the machine that you’ll like most and use it to train smartly according to your goals.
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