The Rogue Echo exercise bike is a perfect “desert island tool”, the one piece of fitness equipment that you would want to have if you were stranded on a desert island.
I have never encountered a piece of equipment that I find more valuable and more versatile than the echo bike other than a barbell.
When given the option, lesser motivated individuals will almost always try to substitute the rower for the bike and for good reason: because you won’t hurt as much. You, however won’t get as much in return.
So, what’s so good about the bike anyway?
7 BENEFITS OF THE ROGUE ECHO BIKE
IT BURNS FAT FASTER THAN ANYTHING ELSE
When you get on the echo bike it is not like a standard road bike where all you’re doing is using your legs. The echo bike requires you to move the handles back and forth as well, and these are no ski poles either. The handles on the bike weigh a good amount and are actually more difficult to move than other bikes unless you start moving quite a bit faster.
The reason why I brought up the handles is to clarify that this is a full body workout not just a leg burner. When you do full body workouts you burn fat twice as fast as if you were to do body-part splits, this is a big part of why Crossfit has worked as a fat loss program.
“One study compared the calories burned during 30 minutes each of HIIT (conducted on a stationary bike such as the ECHO BIKE), weight training, running and road-biking. The researchers found that HIIT burned 25–30% more calories than the other forms of exercise. In this study, a HIIT repetition consisted of 20 seconds of biking for maximal effort, followed by 40 seconds of rest. This means that the participants were actually only exercising for 1/3 of the time that the running and biking groups were.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25162652
Perhaps my favorite thing about the echo bike is that it forces you to work hard. When you get on a rower you can lower the damper and move at a slower pace and still rack up some meters at a moderate pace. When you get on the echo bike however, if you go slow you are not going to get anything done as it will not reward you.
IT BUILDS MUSCULAR ENDURANCE + ANAEROBIC CAPACITY
Muscular endurance – the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. When it comes to Crossfit that is exactly what we are looking for.
Besides the ability to keep your heart rate from redlining during a workout the next most important thing is to control the amount of lactic acid that builds up in your muscles. The less lactic acid, the less rest, and the more reps plus faster times.
Doing sprint intervals on the echo bike is without a doubt one of the best ways to improve your muscular endurance in a short amount of time as your body is constantly battling against resistance.
In a famous 1996 study conducted by the inventor of the Tabata interval method Izumi Tabata, participants who performed 4 minute sprint intervals on an exercise bike boosted their anaerobic capacity by 28%.https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/hiit-is-changing-the-way-we-workout-heres-the-science-why-it-works/
The echo bike comes installed with two interval options – 4:00 of :20 work and :10 rest, and 4:00 of :10 work and :20 rest. There is also an option to create your own custom workouts.
Crossfit workout example: “Grace” – 30 clean and jerks for time
IT CAN GRANT YOU BIG QUADS
As you can see in the picture above Robert Förstemann has some tree trunk sized quads that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also extremely powerful.
As a sprint cyclist he obviously spends a lot of time sprinting on a bike and obviously something is working. If you’ve ever done bike sprints you know the absolute pain that your quads are in immediately following.
“The quadriceps and gluteal muscles are the primary cycling muscles, but the hamstrings, hip flexors, calves and shin muscles also help pedal. The quadriceps are responsible for pushing down on the pedals, which generates the most power in the pedal stroke. Because you can push down on the pedals with all your might without the thought of having to balance yourself, stationary cycling causes physiological adaptations and muscle growth similar to weightlifting.”https://www.livestrong.com/article/255219-can-gain-quad-muscle-exercise-bike/
By doing short sprints on the echo bike followed by long rests you can build a great set of quads while not having a weighted load on your body. This is an especially great substitute for people who are trying to back off heavy weightlifting but still want to build muscle.
IT BUILDS AEROBIC CAPACITY + IMPROVES LACTATE THRESHOLD
Aerobic capacity – the measure of the ability of the heart and lungs to get oxygen to the muscles. Lactate threshold – the maximal effort or intensity than an athlete can maintain for an extended period of time with little or no increase in lactate in the blood.
In that same study we referenced earlier by Izumi Tabata participants were found to improve their VO2 MAX.
“People who performed the four-minute protocol on an exercise bike five times a week improved their VO2max– the uppermost rate at which your body can utilise oxygen for energy during exercise – by 15 per cent after six weeks. People who exercised for 60 minutes at moderate intensity five times a week only improved their VO2max by a mere 10 per cent.”
On the flip-side of muscle and power building, if your problem in workouts is that run out of gas too quickly then you can also solve that problem just with a different approach.
Rather than high intensity interval sprinting you would benefit more from doing 20-30 minute steady-state rides where you aim to hold a consistent pace throughout the entire ride. As you continually practice this way you will aim to have a faster pace and as your pace gets faster while staying consistent you will have increased your aerobic capacity.
Crossfit workout example: “19.1” – 20:00 of 19 wall balls and 19 cal row
IT COSTS $200 LESS THAN A ROWER
When starting a home gym many people often look at the treadmill or rower as the first piece of cardio equipment they buy when in reality it actually should be the echo bike.
Putting aside everything we’ve already observed with the echo bike it also happens to be about $200 less than the price of a rowing machine while also taking up less space.
A rower is a good piece of equipment but it is nothing compared to the bike. If you want to get the fittest in the shortest amount of time you will need the bike.
WORKOUTS ARE QUICK AND EFFECTIVE
If you plan on working out before or after work you probably want to get the most fitness in the shortest amount of time. Using sprint intervals one more time as an example, if you were to complete both sets of 4 minute intervals with a 2 minute rest between them that would take you a grand total of 10 whole minutes.
And if you do it right 10 minutes on the bike is more than enough to make you suffer.
IT’S STURDY AND QUIET
Chances are if you’re thinking of buying an echo bike it’s because you want to use it at home. And if you’re using it at home you probably don’t want the loudest piece of equipment being used all the time.
One of the best design features of the echo is that it runs on a belt instead of a chain, this causes it to run a lot quieter and smoother than competitors. The faster you move the louder the bike will be, however it will only be the sound of the fan and nothing else.
And in true Rogue style the echo bike is built very sturdy and has a feeling of exceptional quality. It doesn’t feel like it is going to tip over or break anytime you start moving fast, unlike other exercise bikes.
As a Crossfit coach I have my athletes use the echo bike at least 3x a week for training. For those looking to lose fat fast I have them do interval sprints before and after their daily workout preferably 5x a week.
If you want to get seriously fit without thinking too much, just do yourself a favor, get the echo bike and enjoy the pain.