If you regularly work out, then the odds are your main concern is the number of calories you burn per workout, the type of results you can get based on the type of equipment you use, and which piece of exercise equipment offers the best results: the recumbent bike vs the upright bike.
We’ve done a little digging to learn more about both the recumbent and upright bike in order to find out which type of exercise bike can offer a more challenging workout, which can result in more gains and weight loss.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice that a major difference between the two bikes is the position of the rider. With an upright exercise bike, you’ll sit hunched over the handlebars, while the recumbent bike allows you to sit back and sink into the thickly cushioned backrest for a more comfortable ride. Considering the recumbent allows you to take a more relaxed stance does it mean that it doesn’t offer the same type of rapid weight loss results? Let’s find out!
A Bike Designed for All Fitness Levels
Both types of workout bikes will place less stress on the joints when compared to other types of exercise equipment. Once a rider becomes accustomed to the saddle, both types of bikes are also more comfortable. But by far the recumbent bike is the best option for people who suffer from chronic back pain because it provides total back support, unlike a traditional upright bike. The recumbent is also the best choice for the beginner, or for people who are rehabbing injuries.
Choosing an Exercise Bike Based on Fitness Goals
If you’re searching for an exercise bike that can help whip you back into shape, but you’re having trouble choosing between these two styles, then this guide will definitely help you determine which style of bike can provide the weight loss results you’re hoping for.
Benefits of Upright Exercise Bikes
An upright exercise bike can provide a more consistent workout if you’re interested in an exercise bike that offers an experience that’s closer to outdoor cycling. This type of bike can also ensure that you’re working the same muscle groups that you would on an outdoor bike. In fact, an upright bike can offer a total body workout, while the recumbent tends to focus on the calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes.
An upright model will work the core muscles, especially the abs because the body is kept in an upright position. On a recumbent, you’ll be in a reclined position, which doesn’t require the use of ab muscles.
The upright exercise bike workout will also engage the shoulders, triceps, and biceps, for a low impact upper arm workout.
Last of all, the upright bike features a more compact design which will take up less space in the home compared to a recumbent exercise bike.
Benefits of Recumbent Exercise Bikes
As we mentioned earlier, the best recumbent bike is much gentler on the back, providing excellent lumbar support due to the position of the seat. On an upright bike you’ll be forced into an upright position that requires you to hunch over the handlebars, so basically, the recumbent is a better choice if you want to avoid neck, shoulder, and back pain and tension.
Recumbents are also much gentler on the joints. The ankles and knees are better protected against impact and the lower back is supported by a large backrest. In fact, the larger seat and backrest are probably the best features and one of the main reasons beginners choose a recumbent over an upright.
Because you can’t stand up on the pedals, it’s also believed that a recumbent is an overall safer option. This type of exercise bike is the perfect choice for any individual in search of an effective, low impact workout. It’s also a great choice for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis because the reclined position works to evenly distribute weight. Additionally, the step-through design makes it easier for people with disabilities to get on and off the bike.
Feeling the Calorie Burn
If weight loss is your goal, then the calorie burning potential for each type of bike is probably the information you’re searching for.
It may come as a surprise to many beginners, but both types of exercise bikes produce the same weight loss potential, meaning they burn the same number of calories. Of course, this depends on how long and fast you ride and the type of resistance level you ride at. If you’re looking for a bike that can provide serious results, whether it’s an upright or a recumbent, look for a model with a variety of resistance levels to choose from. This will allow you to use the bike for several years to come. Bikes with fewer resistance levels won’t offer a very challenging ride and you’ll be more likely to outgrow it once you’ve reached your fitness goals.
If you’re not sure a recumbent bike is right for you or how it stands up to other types of exercise machines, learn more by reading our article on recumbent bike vs. elliptical machine.
Recumbent and Upright Exercise Bike Tips
- Whether you choose a recumbent or upright exercise bike, make sure you follow these tips:
- Before use, make sure you position the seat and handlebar height correctly. Proper positioning can prevent injuries and promote a longer, more comfortable workout.
- If more than one person in the home plans to use the bike, make sure you choose a model that offers a variety of resistance levels, adjustable pedals, seat, and handlebars, and if possible, multiple rider profiles.
- Lower priced models will offer fewer resistance levels and features, while higher priced models will feature an average of twelve or more resistance levels.
- Choose a bike with a reputation for durability, especially if you plan to use it several times a week.
- If you decide on a recumbent bike keep in mind that these bikes tend to take up quite a bit of space compared to an upright bike.