Can you use a Rogue Echo bike for steady state cardio?

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A few years in and I’m still using my air bikes regularly – controversially, mainly for light intensity steady state (or LISS) cardio! I was concerned when I first bought one that it was a one trick pony, but in reality it has proved to be one of the most versatile home gym purchases I’ve made. Here is what you need to know if you’re looking to get some serious mileage on your Echo:

Can you use a Rogue Echo bike for steady state cardio?

At a glance…

  • You absolutely CAN do steady state cardio on a Rogue Echo bike!
  • Check it out right NOW on the Rogue site
  • Using a heart rate monitor can help you modulate your effort and prevent overreaching
  • It is also excellent for high internet interval work
  • If you don’t like the idea of an air bike a rowing machine is a solid alternative

Can you do steady state workouts on an assault / air bike?

If you’re shopping for a piece of cardio equipment for a home gym then versatility is important – we ALL want the most bang for our buck. Space and money are generally more important to us than commercial gym owners as we simply don’t have the benefits of scale they do – we’re typically training either ourselves or a very small number of people in our gyms, so what we buy needs to be as useful as possible to justify the outlay!

Cardio training can typically be split in to two types – light intensity, steady state cardio (LISS) and high intensity interval training (HIIT). Depending on your goals your training may lean towards one more than the other.

So can you do endurance training on the Echo bike?

In short, YES. Absolutely. I train in this way 1 – 2 times a week around my resistance training and think the bike is PERFECT. 

There are other options out there – but the bike is the best solution for me given it’s carry over to other sports I am interested in (such as cycling) and a few logistical wins such as the elevated height working well for the TV in my space (boring yes, but important when endurance training!) and ease of storage/manoeuvrability in my garage gym.

Why it’s important to consider steady state

Personally I have found steady state interval training to be a HUGE part of my training when looking to improve body composition. When keeping calories comparatively LOWER I find the lower overall fatigue from working light intensity steady state (LISS) workouts FAR easier to deal with than even much shorter HIIT workouts. As a result I find my compliance is massively improved – so I actually DO my cardio – and my RESULTS are better – so my weight actually comes down.

Secondly the carry over from LISS to other forms of exercise is the best I have experienced – working on my Rogue Echo bike for 30 minutes a couple times a week MASSIVELY improved my stamina on the football field when I returned to training after COVID. PERSONALLY I found it much more effective than HIIT for sports, but then I already had a reasonable ‘engine’ to build stamina on top of.

What about HIIT / intervals?

HIIT workouts are AWESOME on the Echo as you will no doubt be aware if you’ve looked up any CrossFit workouts. As someone who prioritised strength training I have found LISS more scaleable and fits more easily in to my routines, but when I am in great condition HIIT is a way to really dig deep and drive further improvements.

There are no end of options out there for HIIT, but some kind of EMOM (every minute on the minute) training is a great place to start. Scale it up by starting with either a low calorie target for each minute and increase it each week, or increase the duration of your workout to cram more intervals in each time you train.

How to do LISS on the Rogue Echo bike…

It is very easy to overdo it on the Rogue bike and end up out of breath WAY too soon. I found the best way to pace myself – at least initially – for LISS is to use a heart rate monitor. 

As you likely know you can hook up some heart rate monitors to the Rogue Echo console which is pretty handy as the read out is right in front of you. I find some of the functionality a touch frustrating though – not least that I can’t use my trusty Wahoo Tickr, or save the workouts on the bike – so often use a HRM tied to my phone with it sitting in the phone holder so I can keep an eye on my reading and track results over time.

Keep your heart rate in check and don’t let yourself overreach and you will be able to nail your LISS training! I generally do 30 – 40 minutes of this once or twice a week alongside some other GPP work (usually some bicep curl variation and bodyweight dips). You will naturally find your rhythm and be able to push your capacity up over time, but I usually sit around 70 – 80% of my maximum heart rate for my LISS sessions.

While tracking sessions by heart rate and duration generally works well for me others like to use their Echo bike for a set number of calories or to cover increasingly long distances each time. Mix it up and see what you like the most.

Why is the Rogue Echo bike so hard?

If you’ve ever jumped on an Echo bike you will be familiar with the wall of pain! The reason the bike feels so hard when you first start using it is because being a fan bike it has infinite resistance as the harder we work, the faster the fan spins and the greater the air resistance. There are no gears or flywheels to help preserve momentum or change the dynamic.

It is this initial experience that I think makes people think the Echo is an instrument of extreme pain! In reality once you get used to the way the Echo works it really doesn’t feel as hard – you can pace yourself once you know how you can cope with the demands it places on you.

When hitting LISS sessions I stick my heart rate monitor on and use that as a rough guide to when I’m sitting in the right zone intensity-wise.

Rogue Echo vs the alternatives

If you’re thinking of buying an Echo then there are a few natural competitors to consider as well:

Concept 2 Rower

When rowing your body moves back and forward and it makes watching things on your phone / tablet or TV more difficult. Not really a fundamental issue, but when punching the clock with steady state training have distractions can be helpful. For me this is a negative for the C2 rower.

Secondly the layout of my garage gym suits the air bike MORE as I have a TV wall mounted reasonably high – the air bike puts it at roughly eye level so I can keep track of workouts on YouTube or watch a program if doing lighter cardio.

Stationary Bike / Bike ERG

Similar to the Echo, the a stationary bike is great for LISS and HIIT. I used my road bike on a turbo trainer for years and covered long distances on it regularly. As they typically use flywheels people who are not used to cardio can find them easier to modulate effort compared to the Rogue Echo with its air blades requiring more effort to keep going and a bit more control over your own output to stop yourself overreaching. This is not an issue for someone of reasonable fitness but can be a barrier if your cardio level is low.

The major downside for stationary bikes is that they are entirely leg focused. I personally find it easier to get my heart rate up higher and in a shorter time frame using a full body cardio mechanism like the Echo. That is ultimately why I swapped a bike for the Echo. The air circulation from the fan on the Rogue bike is also welcome in an otherwise stuffy home gym!

Overall I found my stationary bike was better for training specifically for cycling long distances, while the Rogue Echo feels more like a general full body workout.

A few words on the assault bike

If you’re looking for a fan bike then I would suggest going for the Echo over the Assault bike. The fan drive mechanism is far superior to the chain on the Assault Bike and for that reason alone the Rogue is worth going for.

Conclusion

So you absolutely CAN do steady state cardio on your Echo bike – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! It helps if you take the time to pace yourself appropriately as it is easy to overreach when on a fan bike – but if you stick with it you will be able to build some serious cardio capacity! Check it out right now on Rogue’s site!

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