Assault Bike vs Rower - Which One to Choose?

If you want to burn off some calories choosing between an assault bike vs rower may be challenging, as both of these machines are excellent for getting sweaty and building your endurance. That is why, in today’s article, we will take a deeper dive into who those two machines are most suitable for, their key characteristics, and why you might consider getting one instead of the other. 

Assault Bike vs Rower: Both the rower and the assault bike are great cardio machines. The main difference between them is that with the assault bike, you will burn more calories per minute, as you have no time to rest, while on the rower, you will work during the pull and “rest” while you slide back.

Athletes on Assault Bikes

What is Assault Bike?

The assault or air bike is a piece of cardio fitness equipment that saw a boost in popularity during the last few years, largely due to its widespread use in CrossFit. That being said, the assault bike is an incredibly versatile cardio machine that can train several body parts, and the workouts you do on it tend to be exhausting. Unlike other stationary bikes, which can be used for active recovery and which don’t exhaust you as much, the assault air bike can be a killer, even for those of you who’ve trained for years and are in shape. 

Assault bikes are perfect for those who want to improve their aerobic capacity and burn fat. They are great for CrossFitters, triathlon competitors, and marathon runners. 

Pros & Cons of the Assault Bike

As with any other fitness equipment that you can get, assault bikes have their pros and cons. And you need to be aware of them before deciding to get one for your home gym. 

Pros

  • Easy to use - you don’t need lessons on how to ride the assault bike, and it's suitable for people of all fitness levels and ages. 

  • Incredibly versatile - Assault bikes are great for improving your cardiovascular endurance. They can be used for steady-state cardio sessions and HIIT-style training, where you’re forced to work at your absolute maximum. Along with that, thanks to their handlebars, air bikes target both the upper and lower body, which makes them a unique piece of equipment. 

  • Great for recovery - by nature, assault bikes are low impact, which makes them a good choice for all those of you recovering from injuries, as well as for people who suffer from chronic ones. 

  • Infinite resistance - the harder you work, the more resistance you will face. That’s all thanks to the air resistance mechanism that’s built into assault bikes. 

cons

  • Tend to be expensive - assault bikes tend to be more expensive than regular stationary bikes, so you will need to be willing to invest a tad bit more money if you want to get one. 

  • Workouts tend to be repetitive - now, even though air bikes are versatile, the kind of work that you do on them is repetitive as it mainly consists of moving your legs and arms at different speeds. Whether that’s okay for you or not is something that you will need to consider before buying an assault bike for your home gym. 

Athlete Woman on Assault Bike

The Airbike We Recommend

So, now that we’ve discussed what air bikes are and for whom they’re most suitable, let’s get into our recommendation for the best air bike on the market. 

As a lot of you already know, the Assault AirBike is used mainly in CrossFit boxes. With this air bike, you get a solid, stable built of high-quality steel, a standard 25” diameter fan, a comfortable, adjustable seat, and an LCD display that instantly shows all your workout variables, such as time, distance, speed, and calories burned. Along with that, this air bike comes with pre-programmed workout sessions and a guide on how to assemble it after it arrives in a box. 

Rogue Assault AirBike

What is a Rower?

In most commercial gyms, as well as in every CrossFit box, you will see rowing machines placed one next to the other. Often, the people who are using them look as if they’re experiencing severe physical pain as they’re panting and sweating like crazy. Well, that’s not by accident, as rowers are cardio machines that, through a variety of resistance mechanisms, force users to work hard and improve their cardiovascular capacity. 

Rowers or rowing machines are there to imitate the sport of rowing, but you can also think of them as a type of horizontal pull. Because of that, they deliver a full body workout session that’s great for improving endurance and burning loads of calories. Due to the high-intensity rowing provides, the rower machine is a valuable piece of equipment for any athlete that wants to work on their muscular and cardiovascular endurance, as well as for everyday people who want to lose fat and tone their muscles. 

Pros & Cons of Rowers 

Similarly to the air bike, the rowing machine can be great for some of you, and it might not be a terrific option for others. That’s why let’s take a look at the pros and cons that come with exercising on the rower. 

Pros

  • Provides a full-body workout: rowing uses all the major muscle groups, including the legs, back, core and hands. 

  • Low impact: Compared to other types of full-body exercise, rowing is low impact and doesn’t put extra stress on the joints.

  • Versatile: Rowers are cardio machines suitable for steady-state and interval training sessions so you can get the most out of your training sessions.

  • Compact: Most rowers can be folded and hung so that they don’t take up a ton of extra space at all times. 

cons

  • Has a Learning Curve: There’s a specific technique you need to get used to, which makes it difficult for beginners and people with no experience in the gym. 

  • Cost: Rowers can be expensive, and it’s purchasing one is definitely not a small investment 

Athlete on Rower

The Rower We Recommend 

Now that you know all the important details surrounding rowing machines let us introduce you to the one which we recommend the most. 

Concept 2 Rower is the most well-known rower on the market. This rower is, in our opinion, a terrific rowing machine that’s worth its cost. You can get it in two different sizes - for those of you with shorter or longer legs, and it has ergonomically designed handles, adjustable footrests, and a flywheel designed for minimal noise. Along with that, Concept 2 has an advanced PM5 performance monitor that shows all your key variables and accurately tracks distance, time, calories, and watts. In addition to that, it’s easily assembled and has a 2-year warranty in case anything happens to it. 

Rogue Concept 2 RowErg

Rower vs Assault Bike Comparison

Comparing the air bike vs rower can be challenging, as both machines are totally different. However, as we know that both are good options for a home gym, we will take a look into their differences and hope to help you choose one that best fits your space and your needs. 

Difficulty

Both the rower and the air bike can be used to burn off calories, and even a short workout on either of the two machines will have you sweating. However, when it comes to calories burned, the air bike wins as the work you do is more intensive - you don’t get to rest even for a second, as you constantly need to move your legs and arms. On the other hand, with the rower, you get some seconds where you rest, which makes it slightly less cardio-intensive. With that said, if you lack upper body strength, the rower can prove to be a lot more challenging physically, especially when you start to feel your back and arms burning throughout the movement. 

Muscles Worked 

Both machines provide a full-body workout that challenges both your lower and upper body. However, with the air bike, you have the option to use only your legs or only your arms, while with the rowing machine, you have to keep both moving at all times. When comparing the rowing machine vs air bike, it’s vital to note that the rower works more muscles, especially in your upper body, and throughout the entire movement, you’re training your: 

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings and calves
  • Abs
  • Biceps and forearms
  • Lats and traps
  • Posterior deltoids

And while the air bike also workouts your entire body, it's more focused on your legs as you drive mostly through them. 

Athletes on Rower Tournament

Calories Burned 

When it comes to calories burned, the air bike is slightly superior compared to the rower. And that’s mainly because you have to be moving non-stop through the exercise with no chance to rest fully. On the other hand, on the rower, you’re allowed a mini rest between the reps, which means you burn fewer calories every minute. 

With that said, the rower is much more suitable for steady-state cardio as you can easily row for 30 or more minutes, while the air bike is a better option for HIIT workouts where you need to give your maximum for a short burst of time, then rest and repeat. 

Dimensions

When it comes to their dimensions, rowers tend to take up more space when they’re put down on the ground. However, most rowers are foldable and can be placed on the wall, which makes them more compact. Air bikes, on the other hand, are smaller in size. However, you cannot fold them, and they always take up at least some space in your room.

FAQs

Which burns more calories, assault bike or rower?

When comparing the fan bike vs rower - per minute, the air bike burns more calories than the rowing machine, as you constantly have to keep moving, and you don’t even get to have a second's rest. On the other hand, you can row for longer periods of time and thus burn more calories this way. 

Is rowing good for weight loss?

Rowing, much like any other form of cardio, is great for losing weight and toning the muscles. It’s more effective than standard workouts on the stationary bike or light jogging. 

Do Assault Bikes build muscles?

No, assault bikes are cardio machines, and their main purpose is to help you build endurance. With that said, they’re still a form of exercise that exhausts your muscles, and if you’re a beginner, you will likely see your muscles getting more toned. 

Conclusion

Both the rower and the air bike are excellent cardio machines to have at home. Not only can you do various workouts with each one, but you’re also bound to be exhausted and sweaty at the end of each session. Which one you choose to purchase for your own use depends entirely on preference. If you want to train your muscles and endurance at the same time, then the rower is a great option. On the other hand, the air bike is terrific for building metabolic endurance and getting well-conditioned for various sporting activities. Which machine do you prefer working out on? Let us know in the comments. 

Also read:

References:

  • What Is Cardiovascular Endurance? // JumpStart:
    https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/what-is-cardiovascular-endurance
  • Going Steady: 5 Reasons to Do Steady-State Cardio // BodyBuilding: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/going-steady-5-reasons-to-do-steady-state-cardio.html
  • 7 Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) // Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit


I'm Tanya, and I love lifting weights. 6 years ago, I picked up Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit. Weightlifting is a unique sport because it's just you against the bar. There are no teammates to help you out; it's all on you. 

I'm also passionate about helping other women achieve their fitness goals. That's why I started my blog and write some products reviews. I want to show other women that they can do anything they set their mind to!

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