An Alternate Fitness Tool

Any competitive or recreational athlete will use a variety of cross-training methods or tools to complement their particular sport or to meet their fitness needs. One such tool that is becoming increasing popular is the Kickbike. The Kickbike is a high end adult version of a scooter. Although new to North America, the Kickbike has been around for about 20 years in Europe and the Netherlands where national and international Eurocups are held yearly establishing national and world records for distances ranging from 200m to 30km.

How does one train on a Kickbike?

The Kickbike is propelled forward by kicking back as you would on any scooter. The only new skill needed is learning how to switch kicking legs. There are two techniques that can be used for switching kicking legs. One is called the "Heel Roll" and the second the "Hop- Step" technique. How often you switch kicking legs is dependant on the person but usually a cadence of 3 to 10 kicks before you switch is normal. When attacking hills your cadence will increase. When descending hills you are best to just stop kicking and enjoy the ride. For those who would like to see both techniques you are invited to visit Kickbike Ontario's website at www.kickbikeontario.ca were a short 36 second video clip is available.

What muscle groups are utilized?

Training on a Kickbike utilizes the large muscle groups that are used in running as well as cycling. When riding a Kickbike the standing or support leg uses primarily the quadricep and lower leg muscles, (tibialis, gastrocnemius, (calf), and soleus). Most of the load while riding is handled by this support leg which is constantly flexing thoughout the kicking cycle. The kicking leg itself makes use of a pendulum type of kickback beginning at the hip which draws in the glutes, hamstring and calf muscle groups. As the kicking leg is brought forward and up the abdominals come into play. With a little practice a pushing motion can be added with the arms that will involve the pecs and forearm muscles.

Who will benefit from using a Kickbike?

The Kickbike can be used by those who are interested in light exercise while cruising the harbor front or bike paths though out the city or as a means of commuting to work. The Kickbike can also be used by those who have a more intense interest in cardio fitness and would like to avoid the high impact nature of running. Because it is low impact the Kickbike has become a popular tool with those mature athletes who have had to give up running due to knee or hip problems. The Kickbike is very light weight at 13 kg. making it ideal for just about any age group from 10 to 60 years of age. When you factor in the cardio and its low impact nature along with the utilization of the muscle groups discussed above the Kickbike is an excellent cross-training tool for any walker, runner, cyclist or for those who are recuperating from an injury. It is truly a fun and unique way to exercise.

Rodger Knight
Mathematics teacher, Basketball and Track Coach at George S. Henry Academy in Toronto, Ontario

Also owner of Kickbike Ontario - website http://www.kickbikeontario.ca

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