Air Assault Bike Vs Rower: Compared For Home Gym Cardio

Cycling and rowing have become very popular forms of exercise for full-body workouts that develop strength, power, and cardiovascular fitness. The best part? Both activities are easy to perform and cater to a range of fitness levels.  

When it comes to fitness equipment, there are many affordable rowing machines and air bikes on the market specifically designed for a home gym. Keep reading to learn the similarities and differences between air assault bike vs rower to find which is more appropriate for your home gym and fitness needs.  

An air bike is a hybrid of the traditional exercise bike and an elliptical. It allows the user to simultaneously work out the upper body and lower body muscles while raising the heart rate for a cardiovascular workout.

It involves pedaling the bike with your legs - building hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, back, and glutes, and pumping the handlebars back and forth using your arms - working your upper body muscles such as biceps, shoulders, and triceps. 

One of the most popular air bikes on the market is the Air Assault Bike. You may have seen them at the CrossFit games since 2015. They are made by Assault Fitness, which is a reputable company specializing in air bikes and treadmills. While its price point may be on the higher side, the quality of build and features are second to none.


  • Full-Body Workout 
    Exercising using an air bike provides users with a simultaneous upper and lower body workout.
  • Wind Resistance 
    The air bike provides a workout for users of all fitness. The harder a person pedals and moves the handlebars, the greater the increase in resistance.
  • Increase Cardiovascular Health 
    Increase your aerobic capacity by performing high-intensity interval workouts.
  • Great For Injury Recovery 
    It does not put too much strain on your joints, perfect for those recovering from injuries of muscle strains or injured ankles.


  • Space
    An air assault bike is not foldable, meaning a good amount of space in a room will be required for storage and use.
  • Limited Workout Options
    An air bike only allows users to perform one main exercise.
woman using an air assault bike

What Are Rowers? (Overview + Pros & Cons) 

rowing machine is the ultimate full-body workout, delivering a complete cardiovascular workout with minimal impact on the joints. The exercise mimics the rowing stroke, activating many key muscle groups while offering a low-impact workout.

To complete this exercise, you sit in an upright position and pull a cord towards you before returning to the starting position. The row motion engages your deltoids and lats in your upper body and abdominal muscles in your core. Pushing off the footpad activates your quadriceps and glutes.  

A popular rower amongst home gym users is the Concept 2 Rower. It provides a comprehensive, full-body workout to its users. The Concept 2 Rower features a performance monitor, ergonomically designed handles, convenient adjustable footrests as well as a flywheel designed for smooth movement without the noise.  


  • Full-Body Workout 
    Rowing provides a full-body workout that targets the core, back, legs, and even abdominals.
  • Low Impact Workout 
    The motion of rowing is controlled and provides you with a serious workout without putting a lot of pressure on your joints. This exercise is a great option for active recovery.
  • Beginner-Friendly 
    Its easily adjustable resistance makes it ideal for both beginners and more experienced athletes alike.
  • Easy To Do At Home 
    Rowing is uncomplicated, making it suitable for users of all abilities to do at home. There are no fancy levers to pull, no heavyweights to lift. Instead, the entire workout is based on rhythm and technique, both of which are simple to master.
  • Cost 
    There are many rowing machine options on the market that are affordable for all budgets.


  • Limited Workout Options
    A rower only allows users to perform the rowing motion.
  • Takes A Toll On Your Lower Back 
    It is not recommended for users with chronic back pain to use a rower as the repeated pulling motion can put a substantial strain on the lower back.
  • Space 
    A rower is roughly around 8 feet long and requires a good amount of width space too. However, it can typically be dismantled into two parts for storage.  
man using a concept 2 model d rower

Air Assault Bike Vs Rower (Key Differences Explained)

Skill Level Required (What is harder?)

The motion of both exercises will come pretty naturally to the user, but they do require practice to get the form right to not injure yourself over a longer period. An Assault Air Bike will require more skill to achieve a high intensity, as it requires more than just brute force. 

Cardiovascular Workout Benefits 

Exercises using the Air Assault Bike and Concept 2 Rower will no doubt get your heart rate up, providing you with an excellent cardiovascular workout. The continuous rhythmic motion will strengthen your lungs and heart, which helps in metabolic conditioning and boost your physical endurance.  

Muscles Worked 

Assault Air Bikes and Concept 2 Rower give users a total body workout, engaging all muscle groups simultaneously - upper, lower, and core. An air bike requires you to pedal the bike with your legs - building hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, back, and glutes, and pumping the handlebars back and forth using your arms - working your upper body muscles such as biceps, shoulders, and triceps.

The row motion of a rowing machine engages your deltoids and lats in your upper body and abdominal muscles in your core. Pushing off the footpad activates your quadriceps and glutes.  

person sitting on a rowing machine

Impact On Joints

Assault Air bikes offer users low-impact workouts, which are perfect for people with injuries or bad joints. It is an excellent alternative for runners who are recovering. The smooth continuous motion will remove the force placed upon your joints while still increasing your heart rate.  

Calorie Burn (Weight Loss) 

Rowers are great for burning calories and weight loss. However, air bikes burn on average more calories than rowers due to their higher intensity capacity and adjustable resistances. At maximum intensity, workouts using an air bike will burn 80 calories/minute compared to 12-15 calories/minute on a rower. That being said, it is harder to sustain intensity on an air bike.  

Another thing you might be wondering is, are air bikes good for weight loss? They are great for weight loss as you will be continuously moving your whole body. The caloric burn is very high, making it efficient if you are looking to lose weight or get back in shape. 

HIIT Training 

HIIT training can boost your metabolism, endurance, and muscle growth. Assault Air Bikes are no strangers to HIIT training. The adjustable resistances based on the user's speed make it fantastic for high-intensity workouts. 

It is recommended to push yourself for 30 seconds at high intensity before having a 60 second recovery period. Similarly, the Concept 2 Rower also provides a HIIT workout. You can go hard for 30 seconds before resting for 30 seconds.  

Space & Cost 

Both the Assault Air Bike and Concept 2 Rower require a good amount of space. They are relatively big and bulky, but the Concept 2 Rower can be dismantled into two parts, making it easier to move and store, ideal for home gyms.

These pieces of gym equipment are among the best in their respective categories, and their prices reflect it. But you get what you pay for - good quality, heavy-duty gym equipment that is an investment in your health and fitness.  

People Also Ask (FAQs)

How often should I use an assault bike? 

Assault bikes are great for people of all ages and fitness levels, and workouts can be as simple as pedaling, pushing, and pulling for 20 minutes or alternating between high intensity and low intensity. It can be used daily for your workout, as part of your HIIT program, or as a warm-up and cool down.  

Is rowing good for people with bad knees? 

Rowing provides a low impact, full-body workout, perfect for users recovering from knee injuries or suffering from joint pain. The repetitive motion of bending your knees as you row can help rebuild muscle around the joint. In addition, it helps develop strong knees by working the quadriceps in the front of the thighs and the hamstrings in the back.  

How effective is an air assault bike? 

An air assault bike provides users with a comprehensive total body workout. All major muscle groups are engaged while you are on the bike, cycling and moving your arms. It is the perfect equipment for an all-in-one to burn calories while increasing your cardiovascular fitness health.  

How long should a beginner row on a rowing machine? 

The amount of time spent working out on a rowing machine all depends on your fitness goals. Beginners using a rowing machine for the first time should work on developing the correct form to avoid injuring their backs or joints in the long term. Starting, users should row a minimum of 5 minutes, up to 20 minutes, at a comfortable pace.  


An Assault air bike and the Concept 2 Model D rowing machine both provide users with a low-impact, full-body workout. They are both suitable for people of all fitness levels and body conditions.

When using either piece of equipment, you will be utilizing all your major muscle groups - upper, lower, and core muscles, without placing strain on your joints. However, the most significant difference is 'resting time.' The air bike will require the users to continuously be moving and engaged in the exercise. Whereas when rowing, users can have some downtime before returning to their starting position.  

Which equipment will be best suited to you? It all depends on your fitness goals. For people who are still conditioning or getting into cardio fitness, the rowing machine will be a less intensive workout than the air bike.  

Last Updated on January 30, 2023

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Andrew White

Andrew White is the co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. As an expert fitness professional (gym building nerd) with over 10 years of industry experience, he enjoys writing about everything there is to do with modern fitness & the newest market innovations for garage gyms. When he isn’t testing out products for his readers, he’s usually out surfing or playing basketball.