Carter Jee 9 September 2013
BY: Carter Jee with Brian Bucholtz and Kara Webb
The Schwinn Airdyne has recently come back in vogue with many strength and conditioning facilities adding the machine to their arsenal.
Interestingly, despite the misconception that this is a new piece of equipment, the Airdyne was first introduced to the market in 1978.
The concept behind the Airdyne is straightforward and simple. Mechanical resistance is provided by a pair of pedals and arms moving an upright fan. Intensity is directly proportional to the effort put in, i.e. the harder you pedal, the faster the fan moves, and the harder it becomes.
Again Faster athlete Kara Webb, and her coach Brian Bucholtz from CrossFit Roar, recently took delivery of the Airdyne AD6. They took some time out to discuss the AirDyne and its application to training.
SOLID BUILD The first thing that you notice with the Airdyne AD6 is how solidly built it is. Compared to its predecessors, the arms are thicker, and the base of the unit is broader and lower to the ground.
“I was pedalling as hard as I can and moving from side to side, and there wasn’t much sway in the machine,” says Webb.
This is an important consideration given the amount of punishment and use equipment go through in a typical CrossFit gym.
BUY-IN AND FINISHER Since receiving the Airdyne, Bucholtz has been using it to add variety to Webb’s training.
One way is to use the Airdyne at the beginning of a workout. This way, it pre-exhausts the athlete very quickly.
“A sub 2 minute Grace is nothing for Kara, but ask her to do Grace after max calories on an Airdyne is a different story,” says Bucholtz.
Just as the airdyne can be used as a buy-in, it can also be used as a finisher. It could be as simple as 100 calories for time, or as a way to effectively cool down.
REHABILITATION One of the surprising uses of the Airdyne has been its use as a rehabilitation tool for athletes at CrossFit Roar.
"As we know, icing is out and movement is in," says Bucholtz ", and the Airdyne is a great tool for moving joints through a complete range of motion with very low impact."
The pedals and the arms can also be used simultaneously or independently, ie. You can use both arms and legs, just the legs, just the arms, one leg/one arm same side or diagonal.
"The dynamic movement helps loosen up tight and sore joints and promoting blood flow," adds Webb ", we have had athletes with bad shoulders warm up on the airdyne, come off with their shoulders moving with more fluidity and through a greater range of motion."
The low impact and high cardiovascular stress also means that the airdyne has the potential to help an injured athlete maintain their conditioning.
WOD IDEA One clever way Bucholtz has used the Airdyne in Webb’s training is coupling it with a weakness in an interval, e.g.
5 Intervals; 3 minutes on, 1 minute off. Max Effort Pullups Once you come off the pullup, remaining time max calories on the Airdyne. Score is lowest number of pullups.
“The Airdyne is there as an incentive to not come off the pullup bar,” says Bucholtz with a grin “, and, it really encourages the athlete to max out on the pullups so that they don’t face the pain of the airdyne. If they do come off, they still get a good workout as they have to max out on the airdyne.”
He adds: “It also doesn’t place a large amount of stress on the muscular system, which makes it great for using it in this way.”
Webb says, “What was good was other than the very first interval, my pullups were consistent and so was the calories.”
As you can see, the Airdyne can be used in a number of ways and is a great tool to add to your facility.