What Is a Recumbent Bike?
What Is an Upright Bike?
Unlike other stationary bikes, upright bikes have handlebars higher than the saddle. The higher upper body posture makes your workout session easier than stationary bike spin classes.
The design of upright bikes is based on the famous beach cruiser. Other spin bikes have wider seats for comfort and support, but the seat of an upright bike is triangular and small.
In upright bikes, the flywheel and drive train are commonly enclosed, hiding their circular shape. The grips are typically vertical in design, and the pedals are located below the seat.
For some time now, upright exercise bikes have been popular, and you have even more reasons to favor them. Why is that? For the simple reason that the newer models have more functions that help you get better exercise.
To optimize the benefits and safety of the workout, you have to make sure that the bike is set up correctly according to your physique.
Setting up a bike for your workout won't take much time or effort. Most upright bikes include an easy-to-use screen with programming for tracking and planning workouts.
Riding an upright exercise bike does not require any particular expertise as well. It's true because it offers a basic and low-impact form of exercise.
Upright bikes are more convenient in terms of storage and management. If you don't have a lot of space in your house, it is a far better option than a recumbent cycle.
Recumbent vs Upright Exercise Bike
The reclining exercise bike vs upright debate continues. How much you value convenience over exercise depends on your fitness, goals, and comfort level. Let’s explore the further details below.
Recumbent bikes may burn fewer calories than traditional exercise bikes due to their design. But how many calories you burn depends on how hard you work and for how long. It's also possible that the recumbent bike is just as efficient as a regular exercise bike.
Due to their comforting features, recumbent bikes can make it easier for users to exercise for longer. Moreover, you can pedal faster and burn more calories in them. For customers with a weight reduction goal, this is an excellent choice.
The numbers in this table are based on a hypothetical riding speed of 12–13.9 mph.
Most people believe that riders would burn more calories on upright bikes since they use more muscle groups.
Remember that there are other considerations. You may notice that your workouts on these bikes are shorter because of the discomfort they cause. Your motivation to go out and burn calories may drop as a result. However, it's a great way to burn calories for those who can handle the discomfort.
Check out the Calorie Calculator on the American Council on Exercise (ACE) website for additional information on how many calories we burn during various activities and at varying intensities.
How to find out the difference between stationary bike and recumbent bike in terms of the muscles it targets?
Upright and recumbent bikes offer effective cardiovascular exercises. Both are excellent ways to build your legs and glutes since they use your whole lower body.
However, compared to a recumbent cycle, an upright exercise bike's seat demands greater balance. It means that you must always maintain your posture in addition to your sitting pedaling position to keep your body stable when riding, which requires more muscle involvement.
Upright exercise bike or recumbent both focus on strengthening the lower body's major muscle groups. How?
- When pedaling, you use the muscles in the front and rear of your thighs (the quadriceps and hamstrings, specifically).
- When pressing the pedals, you are exercising the gluteal muscles.
- When on a bike, you use the muscles at the rear of your lower leg known as the triceps surae.
While riding a recumbent bike, your upper body muscles are not put to work because of your horizontal or reclined posture. On the other hand, a stationary upright bike targets these upper-body muscular groups:
- The abs keep the pelvis and spine in proper alignment and help maintain an upright posture.
- The back muscles iliopsoas and quadratus lumborum maintain posture and spinal stability.
- Your forearm and back arm muscles (biceps and triceps) get a workout when you grip the handlebars.
Both recumbent exercise bike or upright offer excellent options to improve your leg strength or target your glutes.
Back and Joint Pain
Regarding comfort, which is better recumbent or upright exercise bike?
With a recumbent bike, your joints and back will feel less strain on a bike since the seat places the body in a more natural posture. Most of the time, the seats are tilted and slightly forward.
Remember that a relaxed and safe ride is guaranteed when you have a larger seat, stronger lumbar support, and pedals placed in front of the rider.
On the other hand, you can compare an upright bike to a standard road bike. The pedals are located below the torso, and the chairs are narrower and lack back support.Some riders complain of discomfort due to the seat's size and position, the little forward lean required to reach the handlebars, or both.
Exercise Bike Recumbent or Upright: Summary
In terms of a recumbent vs upright exercise bike, both are widely used. Why? They both provide effective cardiac activities with a low impact on the body. Depending on your background and goals, you should choose the one that's best for you.
Getting on and off of and sitting in the saddle of an upright bike calls for greater balance and coordination. Those with physical limitations or who are elderly will not benefit from it. They will benefit from a recumbent bike for sure.
Recumbents don't fold up like lightweight upright bikes, so they take up more space when unused.
Pros/Cons of Recumbent Bike
The rider's reclining, leg-forward stance improves aerodynamics and allows faster speeds.
Simple to control.
For people with injuries, a recumbent bike is beneficial and safe. It is true since the bike offers stability, back support, and little joint stress.
Recumbents are more comfortable for long rides than upright bikes and need less trunk movement.
Ideal for both novices and elders.
Cardiovascular training is possible.
Could be better:
Due to their design, recumbent bikes are bulkier. They also have more moving parts.
Due to its safety and comfort features, it is more expensive and bulkier than a typical upright bike.
Being only able to perform your workouts in one position might grow old, and it doesn't exactly inspire you to exercise more.
Pros/Cons of Upright Bike
If you want to burn as many calories as a recumbent bike, you must peddle somewhat faster.
It is compact and more affordable than recumbent bikes.
A few models can be folded up and are pretty light.
Could be better:
Since the seat is so rough, exercising on it is uncomfortable sometimes.
Users with poor balance and mobility issues should avoid upright bikes.
Upright vs Recumbent Exercise Bike: When to Use Each
Recumbent Bike We Recommend
photo by @fitnesscompanyar
Upright Bike We Recommend
photo by @staminaproducts
What Is the Biggest Difference Between a Stationary Bike and a Recumbent Bike?
The rider's position on both these bikes best explains the difference. The use of stationary bikes is a risk-free and efficient method of achieving your fitness objectives.
Compared to other cardio equipment forms, stationary bikes are easier on the joints. However, deciding between a recumbent bike and an upright cycle all boils down to personal preference.
Is a Recumbent Bike or Stationary Bike Better for Weight Loss?
Fortunately, you can burn the same number of calories and achieve the same degree of cardiovascular fitness with either bike. It's up to you to decide how committed you are to using the bike, proper diet and regular training sessions, so choose one you can see yourself riding for a long time and depend on your preferences and goals.
To sum up, an upright exercise bike or recumbent is great cardiovascular and muscle-building equipment.
Ultimately, deciding which option is better for you is up to you. Don't hesitate to add an upright bike to your home gym if you like working out while sitting in such a position. You should expect quicker muscle growth and weight loss as a result.
However, if riding an upright bike causes discomfort because of your older age and mobility issues, a recumbent bike is the way to go. This bike provides more comfort compared to traditional upright bikes.
Pick the best ones from our choice, and feel free to remark and ask questions in the comment section.
- 7 Great Benefits of a Stationary Bike Workout // Healthline:
- Weight Loss With a Recumbent Bike // Topfitnessmag: https://www.topfitnessmag.com/recumbent-bike-advantages-and-disadvantages/weight-loss-with-a-recumbent-bike
- Tools & Calculators // Acefitness: https://www.acefitness.org/resources/everyone/tools-calculators/physical-activity-calorie-counter/
- 9 Benefits of the Exercise Bike You Should Care About // Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/exercise-bike-benefits
- Get the Most Out of Stationary Bicycle Workouts // Verywellfit: https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-use-a-stationary-bike-3120808
- What is the most effective cardio machine in the gym? // Today: https://www.today.com/health/diet-fitness/best-cardio-machine-rcna21809
My name is Ihor and I have been a professional weightlifter since 1996. With over 20 years of competition experience, my resume includes European Champion in 2009 and the silver medalist at 2011's Senior World Championships – 105kg division.
I competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
After hanging up my own competitive lifting shoes, I decided to share my huge background as a coach. I am currently coaching multiple athletes who are competing at national and international competitions.