Assault Bike: 5 Tips

Ah, everyone’s favorite machine. I remember a more innocent time several years ago when I first started CrossFit. I asked a fellow gym member why everyone was groaning to see the Assault Bike in the WOD. What was the big deal? After all, it’s just a stationary bike, right?

I have every day since regretted finding the answer to that question.

It was recently pointed out to me that I can lift heavy, but my Assault Bike skills (read: “endurance”) need work. I couldn’t argue. As far as I’m concerned, the assault bike is really great at one thing: crushing my will to live. It’s one saving grace is that the bike is it’s own wind-producer. So I might die gasping for breath, but at least there will be a breeze.

I can’t stand letting an area of weakness defeat me, so I did some digging to see if I could find some tips for getting better on the Assault Bike.

Here are five tips that I found from talking to Eximo’s coaches and floating about on the interwebs!

  1. Choose a wattage goal. Coach Kathy told me to pick a wattage for the WOD and work to keep the bike at that wattage. When you get comfortable (if anyone is ever comfortable on the Assault Bike) then bump up the wattage.
  2. Seat setting, Part 1: Seat height. Coach Erica helped me adjust my seat height. Set your seat high enough that you almost straighten your leg at the bottom of the rotation. An easy way to remember your favorite setting is to count the holes you can see. I’m about 5’7” and I set the seat high enough that 5 holes are showing.
  3. Seat setting, Part 2: Seat forward/backward setting. If the seat lets you adjust forward or backward, then adjust the seat so that your elbow is slightly bent when a) your torso is tilted slightly forward, and b) the handle is furthest away from your body.
  4. Core muscles count. I don’t know why this came as a surprise to me. Everything in CrossFit engages your core (or should). This keeps you safe and injury free. But I never put two and two together on core strength and the Assault Bike. Keeping your core muscles engaged keeps your trunk still. This protects your back and gives your arms and legs a stable base to work from. Your core matters!

[Editorial note from Coach Erica: mmhmm *nods sagely*]

  • Equality matters. I have a habit of relying on the power in my legs and neglecting my arms. When you’re on the Assault Bike, you should be doing three things: pushing, pulling, and pedaling. Ideally with equal effort on all three.

The assault bike is a soul-destroying piece of machinery and the inventor should probably be burned at the stake, but it is also a unique challenge for your entire body.

I know what I’m going to be working on this cycle. How about you?

Happy sweating!



book a
free intro

Talk with a coach about your goals, get the plan to achieve them.