The Assault Bike: A CrossFitter’s Nightmare

We’ve all been there: that moment your stomach drops when you read the dreaded words ‘Assault Bike’ in the workout of the day. Your mind immediately flashes back to the time where you literally almost died trying to complete Assault Bike Fran: 21-15-9 thrusters and bike calories. After you have peeled yourself off the floor, you vowed to never mount that horrendous machine ever again. And yet here you are: face-to-face with the “Devil’s Tricycle” that almost cost you your life. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you master the Assault Bike like a pro.

Drive Your Legs Straight Down

Oftentimes, athletes are under the impression that the more they move on the Assault Bike (flailing the arms and rocking from side to side) the more power they will get. This is actually not the case. The legs (not the arms) are what is driving the bike, so it is counter-productive to try to move it significantly with your arms. This will actually just tire you out much faster. Focus your energy on driving your legs straight down, trying to keep the knee in line with the foot and not letting the knee flare out. Swaying back and forth usually means that you are using too much arm and therefore losing power. 

Adjust Your Seat for Optimal Leg Drive

When measuring for where you should set your seat, it is important to set it up so that the ball of your foot is on the pedal and not the heel. Your leg shouldn’t be locked out at the bottom of the revolution, but it may still feel like you are reaching with your leg. This type of setup should prevent you from bringing your knee up too high at the top of the revolution and helps you get the most power from your legs at the bottom of the revolution.

Experiment with Seat Placement

Did you know the seat on the Assault Bike can be adjusted forward and backward? Yeah, me either for the longest time. Having your seat adjusted the proper distance from the bike handles is another tactic to conquering the Assault Bike. Where you place your seat depends on the athlete and what feels comfortable to them. However, placing the seat further in one direction or the other will affect different parts of your body. For example, adjusting the seat farther forward over the pedal means you will be more quad driven and moving the seat farther back behind the pedal means you will be more posterior chain driven. Regardless, your best bet is to test different seat positions and then decide which one works best for you.

Be Mindful of Your Head Position

We can often get caught staring down at the monitor screen watching the calories slowly tick by. However, you want to keep as neutral a head position as possible and only look down at the monitor with your eyes. Lowering your entire head actually closes up your airway and makes it more difficult to breathe. If you’ve had any experience with the Assault Bike before, you know that getting out of breath comes all too quickly so adjusting your head to a more neutral position will help regulate your breathing and keep you calmer on the bike.