Using an exercise bike to burn calories is a popular choice amongst those looking to lose weight or get fitter. Exercise bikes generally don’t stress the body or joints compared to other machines, are affordable for home use and don’t take up as much space as an elliptical or treadmill might.
If you are looking for an exercise bike you will find that broadly there are two types of machine on the market, uprights and recumbents. Uprights require the user to be in an perpendicular seating position and recumbents allow the user to sit back.
Often people will ask what is the difference, is one better than the other? In truth both these exercise bikes are useful tools but you may find that one is better than the other depending on your situation. Check out the benefits of each bike below to see which would make the best choice for you :
Recumbent Exercise Bike Benefits :
Supportive Bucket Seat – The main feature of recumbents is the bucket seat. These seats offer loads of support so the user won’t get saddle sore, but the main benefit is that you upper body is well supported leading to fewer back complaints. If you have a history of lower back injury you will know hoe using an upright exercise bike can put stress on your lower back. With a recumbent your back will be supported so you won’t stress or inflame your back.
Hands Free – Because the seating position is fully supported no balance is required and you don’t need to hold on to handle bars, you are hands free. You can read a book, play a video game or better still – use some light dumbbells to get an upper body workout at the same time. Try that on an upright!
Body Ergonomics – Reclined seating position is ergonomically better for cardio workouts. Essentially the blood flows better around your body putting less stress on the heart meaning you can work out for longer in more comfort. Less stress means less calorie burn but with an upper body workout you can easily make up the difference.
Stability – The frame size and seating position make these machines incredibly stable and users will struggle to fall off the machine. This can make the recumbent ideal for older folk or people with a frail physique that are looking to gradually improve strength but don’t want the risk of falling when balance is lost.
What Muscles Do Recumbent Exercise Bikes Use – The recumbent exercise cycle positions the body so the glutes and hamstrings take the workload. If these are areas you want to tone a recumbent could be ideal for you.
Upright Exercise Bike Benefits
Small And Light – Uprights are generally smaller and lighter than recumbents as the frames do not need to be as complicated. This means they are easier to store and have a smaller footprint if space is a concern. You can even get a wide range of fold up bikes that can be stored in a closet. You just can’t find recumbents that take up as small a space.
Price – If budget is an issue, which for many of us it is, then uprights offer the best value. These bikes are usually cheaper simply because less metal is involved in their construction. Expect a budget upright exercise cycle to be at least $50 cheaper than a starter recumbent.
Which Muscles Do Upright Exercise Cycles Use – Because of the seating position uprights work out different muscle groups to recumbents. You won’t work the glutes like a recumbent but your quadriceps (muscles on the front of the thighs) will feel the burn.
Recumbent vs Upright Exercise Bike Calories Burned
Many people just want to know which exercise machine will burn the most calories the quickest. Uprights are generally considered better because more core muscles (the muscles around your torso) are used and the heart has to work harder to move blood upwards from legs. The recumbent places less stress on heart and doesn’t work the core leaving fewer calories burned (until you introduce an upper body workout).
Whichever option you go for, calorie burn will really be down to how frequently you use the bike and the intensity you bring to each session. Whichever bike you can imagine using the most often will be the best calorie burner for you.
Recumbent Exercise Bike Vs Upright – Which Should You Choose?
There are clear distinctions between each type of bike. If space or budget is limited the upright is likely to be the best option. If you have a history of lower back injury definitely go for a recumbent. If neither space, budget or injury is a concern try a recumbent, you can include an upper body workout to burn more calories and you won’t get saddle sore on longer sessions. Comfort equals more motivation to use the machine long term.