The debate has been going on for years in the fitness community about which machine is better, the Assault Bike or the Rower. Both machines are great for overall fitness and building up your aerobic capacity. Both of them have their advantages over the other when it comes to what muscles they work, calorie-burn potential, etc.
But I’m going to give you the pros and cons on each machine, as well as my personal preferences.
A quick comparison of both cardio machines
First off, they are both great for cardio routines and resistance training. But I want to point out that the rowing machines is more of a full body workout and not as good at breaking down lactic acid because you are not engaging your upper body as much.
Assault Bikes, on the other hand, are very beneficial for athletes because of their high caloric expenditure and how they work several different muscle groups at once. I agree that Assault Bikes are excellent for athletes because the entire body is engaged during this workout.
Main Similarities Between the Assault Bike and the Rower
An air bike is a great exercise machine for both speed and endurance training. It is also known as ‘ergometer’. A rower, on the other hand, provides an effective workout for the arms, back, abdomen muscles and lower body. Since these are essentially different forms of resistance training machines, you need to learn how to use them properly in order to avoid straining certain muscles.
Let’s compare the two on some of their similar functions:
• Both machines utilize your upper body pulling muscles (Back). The rowing motion of the rower, however, is slightly more involved than that of the Assault Bike.
• Both machines utilize your lower body pushing muscles (Quadriceps, Hamstrings). Again, the Assault Bike is slightly more involved in this aspect due to the fact that you have to pedal, whereas with a rowing motion you can rely on your legs fully in order to get a full range of motion.
• Both machines utilize your core muscles. There is no real way to avoid this with either one of the exercises, as they both work your abs and obliques extremely well. Again, the rowing motion is more involved than that of the Assault Bike.
Here is a brief comparison of how each machine is used and the type of workout that is achieved from it.
The uniqueness of the Assault Bike
An air bike is a wind-resistance based machine that can be used for both cardiovascular endurance training as well as strength training. While cyclists use them to increase aerobic fitness, rowers use it to build muscle strength. An air bike is equipped with a fan which provides the necessary resistance during a workout session.
• This a multistage machine that mimics a real-life biking experience more accurately. The seated position on the Assault Bike is very similar to your actual biking experience, whereas with a rowing motion you have to sit upright and reach forward for the handle bars.
• Many people claim that they prefer the Assault Bike because it is more involved with your upper body. I disagree because you are not utilizing all of your upper-body pulling muscles due to the seated position.
• The Assault Bike allows you to switch gears in order to vary the resistance (how hard it is) (this option is available on many rowers, however). This can be great for those who are trying to work on their cardiovascular system, as the harder you pedal the more your heart rate will increase.
• The Assault Bike allows a rider to keep a more stable and consistent pace because of its continuous motion due to the flywheel design. This means that there is no real impact on your knees, whereas with a rowing motion you are constantly stopping and starting.
• The Assault Bike is not as easy to cheat on due to its design. You cannot lean sideways or backward, whereas with the rowing motion you can make it easier by leaning forward.
The uniqueness of a Rowing Machine:
• The rower uses more muscles than just pushing/pulling (including your core), whereas with the Assault Bike you are limited to this.
• A rower is one of the best machines for overall body fitness because of its constant motion. This means it can be harder on your cardiovascular system, but studies have shown that the rower provides a more intense workout in less time than any other machine.
• A rowing motion is more of a full-body workout than the Assault Bike. This means that you will be burning more calories with the rower because it utilizes more muscles in your body.
• The rower allows for a full range of motion whereas the Assault Bike only uses one plane (it’s like riding in a car, whereas the rower is like riding a horse). This can be great for those trying to work out their back muscles.
Which is more versatile?
The answer here again goes to the assault bike – especially if you have a multi-gym at home or in your garage. Although multiple machines can offer a wider variety of exercises, having just one makes it much more likely that you’ll use it regularly as part of your workout. It is much easier to incorporate the assault bike into your training plan than to try and use a rowing machine when you don’t have one already.
The verdict: The assault bike wins hands down.
Which offers more comfort?
Although both fitness machines are designed to provide a smooth, no-impact workout, they each excel in different areas. The assault bike is more stable and sturdy, making it perfect for cardio training at high resistance levels. If you’re using the assault bike to its full potential, you’ll find yourself leaning forwards slightly which can be tiring if your machine isn’t well-built. Plus if you ever decide to up the intensity even more and pedal like your life depends on it, you’ll find yourself off the back of the seat and almost standing up – which is great for toning but can be uncomfortable if you’re not used to it.
The rowing machine excels at minimizing injuries by allowing a smooth stroke that moves with your body rather than against it. It also allows you to make your workout as easy or as hard as you want by simply adjusting the resistance with the handles.
The verdict: If you’re looking for something that will grow with you, go for a rowing machine. Although more likely to injure yourself, the assault bike pulls ahead where it comes to comfort thanks to its well-built frame.
What About Price?
If you’re looking at rowing machines, prices can vary from as little as $150 up to $5,000. However, the majority of rowing machines will fall somewhere in the middle – with one of the most popular option (the Concept 2 Rower) costing around $900.
Assault bikes are usually cheaper than rowers so you’ll be able to pick up the entry-level one for about 750$.
What are the weight and length differences of an Assault Bike vs Rower?
The Assault Bike’s weight is approximately 54 lbs, whereas a Rower’s weight is approximately 52 lbs. The Assault Bike has dimensions of 20″ L x 26″ W x 43-1/8″ H. Whereas, a Rower has dimensions of 46-3/16″ L x 22-11/16″ W X 44-3/8″ H.
So if you have a small home gym, I’d definitely go for the Assault bike as it takes a lot less space.
My opinions between a rower and an assault bike
I love the Assault Bike and the Rower equally, but for different reasons. With that being said – which is more effective? Which will give you the biggest gains? WHICH IS HARDER? Which one would live longer under repeated abuse in my garage gym, and which is more versatile? Let’s break it down.
Assault Bike – The Assault Bike (AB) requires your hands to move at a horizontal (like peddling a bike) with your legs moving in a vertical fashion (like riding a bike). During the upstroke, you’re pushing against the handlebars like when you’re peddling, and on the down stroke, you’re pulling.
Rower – The Rower requires your hands to move horizontally with your legs moving in an horizontal fashion as well. During the upstroke, you’re squeezing the handle as if trying to snap it in half. On the downstroke, you’re pushing against the handles as if trying to snap them in half. Again, there are foot straps for your feet to be locked into the pedals so you can fully focus on pulling and pushing as hard as possible.
The Rower requires much less stabilization – meaning – it’s much easier to pull and push harder with no fear of falling off. The Assault Bike (AB) requires more stabilization, meaning that if you’re pulling and pushing too hard with it, you’ll be thrown off-balance. A strong core is mandatory with the AB if you want to maximize your power output on both the upstroke and downstroke.
This is where things get interesting – people love to use equipment that’s more difficult, and they think it’ll get them a better workout. I’ve never had a problem with the AB being too low-intensity – in fact, some people might find it too hard on their joints. The biggest difference between the two is that the Rower is a more low-impact machine while the AB is a high-impact/high-intensity machine. Meaning, the Rower will be less likely to cause injury or discomfort after an intense workout while the AB can cause some serious problems for people who let them have it without being smart about their programming and recovery.
I’ve always said that if you want to do HIIT correctly, you have to do it with a low impact machine. It’s just safer, allows you to push harder for longer periods of time without as much fear of injury, and is usually more effective. If I had my way, this would be a tie – but the Assault Bike requires too much stabilization and can lead to injuries if programmed incorrectly…so the Rower is the winner.
Effectiveness on fat loss and muscle-building
This one’s tough because both pieces of equipment will get you more fit and burned more calories than any other cardio equipment out there, even the high-tech ellipticals and treadmills. They’re both insanely effective for cardiovascular conditioning as well as fat loss since they burn so much energy.
The Rower, however, will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to muscle building. Sure, the AB can be used effectively for muscle mass gains, but since it’s a high-impact machine, it requires more stabilization and can definitely lead to injury.
The Rower is much easier on the joints and will allow you to pull and push as hard as you possibly can with no fear of falling off or getting hurt. This means that if your goal is fat loss and muscle gains, the Rower is the obvious winner.
So, what’s the final verdict? If you’re looking for a high-intensity cardiovascular workout that will burn an insane amount of calories and help you lose weight or build muscle, either machine can do the job. However, if your goal is fat loss and building muscle, the Rowing Machine is definitely the better choice since it won’t lead to injuries while still giving you a massive calorie burn.