Recumbent Or Upright Stationary? The Bike That Gives A Greater Calorie Burn Is...

by Trina Remedios

While spinning classes have gained immense popularity within the last five years, most of us who hit the gym use cycling as a small part of our cardio circuit, in addition to the treadmill and cross trainer. Your first instinct would be to sit your butt down on the one that's available, but the way a recumbent bike works your body is very different from the way an upright stationary one does. Which one should you pick? Well, let's find out.

First, The Similarities
They both provide a good cardiovascular workoutexercise bikes get your metabolism revving, heart rate pumping, and burn that fat, too. Your core muscles and legs are the parts that are activated. Now, that's where the similarities end.

The Differences

Recumbent Bike

Upright Stationary Bike

It is easy on the joints and does not stress the back muscles, unlike the upright bike. This bike also cuts out the risk of injuries. If your lower back and hips are distressed, get pedaling on a recumbent bike. As for the burn, it torches the same amount of calories as when you exercise on an upright bike. The upside, it eliminates muscle soreness and reduces fatigue.
Getting on an indoor cycle can help burn between 600-800 calories in 45 minutes. If you are low on stamina, one hour of spin class is exactly what you need. Cycling on this bike also releases happy hormones that alleviate stress. It exercises the core muscles as you have to hold your back up to sit straight, or clench your stomach when you are leaning forward.
It's easy to maintain form on a recumbent bike as the mould of the seat serves as a great framework. Sit back, straight, relax your hands, and let your legs do all the work.
People with existing back conditions should try the forward-leaning position on the seat (tilt the body towards the handlebar). You can eliminate muscle soreness by adjusting the bike seat to suit your height, too. That said, it is very important to be conscious of your form on this equipment. Keep the shoulders back, chest out, back straight, and butt centered for an even distribution of weight.
Who Should Use It:
People who have lower back pain, or muscle soreness at the wrist and neck, or those with rheumatoid arthritis are better off with this option. It is ideal for the elderly, and can give them a good lower body workout without stressing their joints.
Who Should Use It:
For those who want to build endurance and challenge themselves, this one is for you. Once you're used to the upright stationary bike, you can try variations like standing intermittently, doing some interval training, changing positions between leaning forward and going hands-free, etc.
: Many people get too comfortable and their speed begins to lag as they slouch into the back support.
It's not uncommon to feel cramps in the calves and thighs, or some pain in the back. These are all because of poor form; if you're not vigilant, you will suffer.

If you're willing and able, it's the upright stationary bike all the way. The contest between two pieces of equipment at the gym isn't just about calorie burn, it's also about what challenges you and helps you get better and stronger over time. The upright bike is an endurance builder; the recumbent bike should be reserved for times when you need a break from a strenuous workout week, are feeling sore, or have genuine physical limitations.


Join The Conversation



What's On Now & Next


Channel Finder

Find Z Living in your area