When it comes to low-impact training equipment, the recumbent bike and the elliptical machine are two of the best options available. Recumbent bike vs elliptical is a difficult question, but our guide can help.
We will break down the key differences between these two exercise machines so you can choose the best option for your home and fitness needs.
Table of Contents
What Is A Recumbent Bike & What Is It Good For?
A recumbent bike is an excellent cardio machine that offers a low-impact workout and puts the exerciser in a reclining position.
This is a great exercise machine for people who have arthritis and have trouble with pain in their joints because the majority of the rider's weight is held by the seat rather than by their body. It is also a good workout machine for heavier exercisers because of the weight distribution.
Recumbent bikes are not a good choice for an upper-body workout because the arms remain stationary during the movement. Some commercial model trainers add light weights so that exercisers can work their arms, so there are ways to incorporate the upper body. That said, the machine does raise heart rates and is a good cardiovascular workout.
What Is An Elliptical Machine & What Are They Good For?
An elliptical machine is a cardio machine that focuses on the lower body (when using stationary handlebars) but can easily focus on the whole body (when using the moveable handlebars). The elliptical offers a good cardio workout and can even feel relaxing once you have experience working out on the machine.
It is comfortable and can even feel easier than it actually is, so you are "tricked" into working out for more extended periods of time. It also offers a reverse stride option, which lets you target your glutes and hamstrings.
The elliptical machine is often chosen over other types of exercise machines because it is low-impact. It is also a fun exercise machine because the movement is different from other types of training (running, walking).
Elliptical machines do not come with accurate stats for workouts and tend to overestimate calories burned as well as distance completed. If you have pre-existing hip problems, the elliptical can exacerbate these issues. Most types of ellipticals are beginner-friendly and perfect for people of all fitness levels.
Recumbent Bike Vs Ellipticals: Which Is Better For Your Workout?
For Fitness Goals
For Muscles Worked
For Pain & Comfort
For The Type of Users
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Can you stand on under desk ellipticals?
No, you cannot stand on under desk ellipticals. If you want to stand on an exercise machine that stays under your desk, you may want to choose an under desk treadmill. The under-desk elliptical is meant to be used while sitting.
How many days a week should I do elliptical?
The elliptical machine offers a great cardio workout, and we recommend performing a cardio workout 4-5 days per week. If you plan to use the elliptical for all of your cardio workouts, we recommend working out on the elliptical five days per week.
Is the recumbent bike bad for knees?
This depends on your personal health history. You should consult with your physician before using any type of bike if you have knee injuries. The recumbent bike is a low-impact cardio machine; however, it does place additional stress on the knee compared to a traditional bike.
Still, recumbent bikes place less strain on other joints, so if you have healthy knees, the recumbent bike can be a great way to lessen the strain on your ankles, hips, and other joints. This is why the recumbent bike is often recommended for arthritic people.
How long should I ride a recumbent bike per session?
This depends on your personal fitness goals. We recommend working out for approximately 30-60 minutes each day. Some of this time could also be served by a brisk walk or alternative exercise machine.
Tailor your recumbent bike sessions to your fitness goals. If you are a beginner, start slow with 10-15 minutes per day and add minutes each week.
Choosing the recumbent bike or the elliptical for your fitness goals is a personal decision. If you prefer upright movement and want to get your arms involved, we recommend the elliptical.
On the other hand, if you have arthritis or prefer a seated position while working out, then we recommend the recumbent bike. Both exercise machines offer a great way to get in your recommended 300 minutes of cardio per week, according to the ACSM.