Mastering the Assault Bike

Ah, the dreaded Assault Bike.  Today, I hope to help make this diabolical leg-crushing machine not so bad anymore.  What the bike really comes down to is pacing. Some prefer to use the watts, which is on the bottom left of your monitor.  But what I find easier, is using the RPMs (Revolutions Per Minute), which is on the bottom right.

   When using the bike, its nice to know what’s gonna get you to your calories, or cals for short, the fastest.  In order to help you guys out, I did a little bit of testing myself on the Assault Bike. I got on the bike and held certain RPMs to see how many cals I would get in a minute at that RPM.  Here are my results:


   50 RPM = 7 Cals
   55 RPM = 10 Cals
   60 RPM = 12 Cals
   65 RPM = 15 Cals
   70 RPM = 20 Cals


   Now it wasn’t a perfect test because I wouldn’t exactly be at the RPM the whole time meaning sometimes I slowed down too much or went too fast trying to hold a certain pace.  But I did keep the RPM within 1 of my intended RPM the whole time so its a pretty close estimate of what you’ll achieve in a minute.


   Now, let’s say you’re taking a class and the coach says, “Guys start with 30 cals on the bike and girls start with 20 Cals on the bike.”  Then the coach states that the bike should not take longer than 2 minutes. Using the RPM to Cal conversions above, you can see that for guys you have to hold a 65 RPM pace and girls a 55 RPM pace.  Now I know that can be tough for some and that’s okay. Over time if you keep trying to hold a higher pace, it’ll get easier and easier and soon you’ll be crushing the bike in no time.

   Before you go and try this, there’s more.  Besides getting the bike done as fast as you can, you also have to think about being efficient as well.  Let’s say if you’re going to be on the bike for 3 minutes in an IWT workout, it’ll be pretty tough to hold a really fast pace the whole time so you have to find your pace that will churn out those cals but not cause you to blow up.  Another instance is if you have to start with 25 or 18 cals on the bike and then afterwards do a few other movements using your legs. As coaches we would say that the bike should be done in 90 seconds. Now there’s something you have to consider here.  You could full out sprint this bike and be done in 1 minute. With that, I’d argue to say that you’re gonna fall apart on the following movements because you went too fast. The more efficient way would be to slow down your pace so you’re hitting those cals right at 90 seconds so you can move through the other movements well without slowing down.  These are just a few of the instances where pacing on the bike comes into play.

   If I could leave you with one RPM for you to remember that will start your mastery of the Assault Bike, it would be 65 RPMs for guys and 55 RPMs for girls.  It’s our belief, as coaches, that this pace should be sustainable as time goes on. Now if that’s too tough for you right now, then use it as a goal to work towards.  I really hope this helps and makes that not-so-enjoyable of a machine a more pleasant experience moving forward.


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