Well…it’s a difficult one, but I do get asked this a lot, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to turn my knowledge and research into an easy to digest blog.
Getting back to basics, the Rower is a great low-impact full body workout which has various intensities depending on how much you want to push yourself.
- It’s a full body workout
- It doesn’t exacerbate sore muscles
- It works your core and your glutes
- It can improve posture
- Primarily lower body focused
And then we have the Air/Fan Bike or Assault bike depending on what you are using. It’s also a great workout and like the rower, low impact. The Benefits of an Air Bike are:
- Boost aerobic conditioning
- A great way to test your stamina
- Strengthens lower body muscles
- Much safer than road cycling
- Can work the full body
Ok, yes both of these have pretty similar benefits including the fact that both are non impact, instead a smooth continuous motion and as they get your heart rate going, both are perfect if you are starting your fitness journey overweight. Other similarities include that they are both commercial grade equipment so they are a little higher on the price point and will take up a good amount of floor space.
Now for the differences:
If you want a continuous workout then with an Air Bike, it will certainly tick all the boxes as you are constantly working. There is no rest. Effectively, you are pedalling, pushing, pulling – and as soon as you stop motion the fan starts to decelerate and the pedals and handles keep moving. It is not an exercise for the faint-hearted.
With the rower, things are a little different. During the “drive” (where you push with your legs, then retract your arms) you are working – but then you get a nice “recovery” where you glide back to the starting position so for about 50% of the movement you are actually in recovery.
In basic terms, the rower is much less torturous and easier to use if you are looking for a steady workout. On top of this, for home use, it has been proven that other family members are more likely to hop on a rower than an Air Bike, whereas if you are looking for a HIIT workout then the Air Bike would be your go to.
In conclusion, both are great metabolic conditioning and cardio tools.
But, unless you are looking to specialize in some hardcore HIIT training – the Concept 2 indoor rower will most probably get more use, takes up less space, is simpler to store when not in use, and will more likely be an effective part of your training regimen.