Stationary bikes or sit down exercise bikes are one of the most popular workout equipment. There are many reasons for that. You can do both intense and less vigorous workout sessions with an indoor stationary bike. The cherry on the top is, you can do a cardio workout when you are at home, watching your favorite TV program holding a healthy drink. If you are more like a person who constantly finds excuses to skip your workout sessions at the gym or home, then a stationary bike (Recumbent or Upright exercise bike) is the perfect workout equipment for you.
However, no matter how good, comfortable or effective your stationary bike or any other workout equipment is, it won’t have any benefits if you don’t use it on a fairly regular basis. So, it is wise to choose workout equipment that go perfectly well with your workout and safety requirements, budgetary constraints, comfortability, and other priorities you might have.
When it comes to stationary bikes, there are two popular and prevailing types of stationary bikes – Recumbent Bikes and Upright Bikes. Both of them are very much similar in their core, but they also have their own differences. In this article, I am going to present a comparative view on recumbent vs upright bike so that you can choose the perfect stationary bike for your workout sessions.
Upright Stationary Bikes
Upright bikes mostly resemble traditional bicycles. It is very common workout equipment that can be found in almost every gym. Upright bikes are super effective for cardio and they impact all the major body muscle groups, similar to what outdoor riding would do to your body since the pedals of upright bikes are right under the center of gravity of the riders. However, they have their drawbacks as well.
Pros & Cons of Upright Bikes
Upright bikes are more like traditional bikes which distribute the workout impact all over the rider’s body. The positive and negative aspects of upright bikes are as follows:
Positive Aspects of Upright Bikes
1. Workout Muscle Impacts
Upright bikes have an all-around muscle impact on the user’s body. Much like the regular outdoor biking, upright bikes involve all the major muscle groups such as legs, abdominal muscles, biceps, and many more.
2. Higher Calorie Burn
Upright bikes put more pressure on the user’s muscles than the recumbent stationary bikes. You can burn more calories through riding on an upright bike than riding on a recumbent or incumbent bike. Moreover, just like the traditional bikes, you can stand on the pedals of upright bikes like you are climbing a hill for intense workout sessions.
3. Pedals & Handles Position
The pedals of upright bikes are right under the center of gravity of the rider, which offers more flexibility and control to the rider. The upper body of the rider gets a bit tilted to the forward with the support of handles due to this design. This design is not only more familiar to general people but also offers more control.
4. Less Space
Upright bikes have a smaller footprint than recumbent bikes. Thus, it requires less space which is perfect if you have little space left on your home or gym. Moreover, there are many upright bike models that can be folded.
Upright bikes are much cheaper than recumbent bikes. If your budget is tight then Upright bike is a good option to consider.
Negative Aspects of Upright Bikes
1. Saddle Soreness
Upright bikes are as uncomfortable as regular bikes. Riding on an upright bike for a longer session can put pressure on your glute muscles. Furthermore, unlike recumbent bikes, upright bikes don’t have back support for your lower back which can make your glute muscles sore.
2. Pressure on Joints
On Upright bikes, the knees of the riders have to bent more in comparison to recumbent bikes. This knee angle puts more pressure on the joints of the body. However with proper technique this can be avoided. If you have any problem on your lower back like back pain, Upright bikes might not be suitable for you.
3. Stability & Safety
Although upright bikes offer more versatile workout options, they are not as much as stable as recumbent bikes. With a skewed center of gravity, its stability relies on the saddle and handles position.
What Is A Recumbent Bike?
Recumbent bikes are comparatively new in comparison to upright bikes. However, in this short span of time recumbent bikes have made their way into many gyms and households. It is designed sophistically to work on the lower back muscles. With a stretched center of gravity and lower back support, recumbent bikes are very comfortable to work with. Beginners or professionals, all can use recumbent bikes very easily. The positive and negative aspects of recumbent bikes are given below:
Positive Aspects of Recumbent Bikes (Recumbent Bike Benefits)
1. Ergonomic Design
Recumbent bikes are super popular for their ergonomic designs. You can sit in a reclined position with a comfortable handle and work on your glutes and leg muscles without any excess pressure on your joints.
2. Workout Muscle Impacts
The impacts of riding a recumbent bike are different from riding an upright bike. Unlike an upright bike, recumbent bike workouts only focus on your glutes and leg muscles and also perfect for beginners to start working out. Although you burn less calorie with a recumbent bike in comparison to an upright bike, you can work out for a longer period of time with a recumbent bike.
3. Safe & Easy for All
Recumbent bikes are far more user-friendly than upright bikes. It doesn’t put extra pressure on joints and for the reclined position, anybody even a beginner can ride it easily. If you have any kind of back pain or lower back issue then working out with a recumbent bike might be more suitable for you than an upright bike.
4. Center of Gravity & Stability
Unlike upright stationary bikes, the center of gravity of recumbent bikes is dispersed over a longer area, which enhances its stability. You won’t have to excessively bend your knees when using recumbent bikes. Moreover, the seats of recumbent bikes are larger and comfortable than those of upright bikes.
Negative Aspects of Recumbent Bikes
Because of the ergonomic design with a reclined seating position, recumbent bikes take more space than upright exercise bikes. However, there are many recumbent bike models available on the market that can be folded.
Recumbent bikes usually cost more than upright bikes. If you are on budgetary constraints, you should reconsider buying recumbent bikes.
Recumbent Exercise Bike Vs Upright Exercise Bike : What to Consider
Table: Recumbent Bike Vs Upright Bike
Considering the workout impact only, an upright bike can provide you a better workout experience just like traditional cycling. However, if you have any back pain history or prefer a comfortable cardio workout or you just want to work with your glutes and legs muscles, then recumbent bikes are the most suitable option for you. Furthermore, if you are a beginner or planning to use the stationary bike for the whole family then recumbent bikes are the safest and most comfortable option for you.