Exercise Bike vs Elliptical: Which Is Best For Cardio Workouts?
Category: Exercise Bike Reviews
Two of the most popular types of home exercise equipment are the exercise bike vs elliptical machine, so it seems only natural that when you are looking for a good piece of exercise equipment then you are going to want to consider the exercise bike vs elliptical in order to determine which type of equipment will best meet your fitness needs.
In order to decide between the exercise bike vs elliptical it is best to take a more in depth look at both of these machines.
Should You Get An Exercise Bike?
Various Types of Exercise Bikes
In the battle of Exercise bike vs elliptical you need to know which type of exercise bike you are comparing the elliptical machine to. So here is a look at the different types of exercise bikes.
- Upright Bike
An upright bike most resembles a normal bike. The pedals of these bikes line up under the feet and the seat of the bike supports the majority of the users weight. Upright bikes are great for cardio workouts and working muscles in the lower body. Some upright bikes have moving handlebars that also allows you to work out your core muscles and upper body.
- Recumbent Bikes
Recumbent bikes are bikes that recline with a seat more like a chair than a bicycle seat which takes a lot of pressure off the buttocks and back. The pedals of these bikes are more to the front of the feet requiring you to stretch your legs further forward when pedaling. The handlebars are more to the side of rider’s side than the front. This bike engages fewer of the users muscles.
- Spin Bike
Spin bikes are also called Indoor cycles and there are entire classes offered using these types of bikes. Spin bikes sit upright, but their handlebars are some distance from the seat making it possible to workout on these bikes either sitting down or standing up. Spin bikes allow you to work a larger variety of muscles and promotes more of a calorie burn.
- Fan/Air Bike
A fan or air bike using wind resistance to give you a better workout. The faster and harder you pedal the more resistance you build up. Air bikes have movable arms so you can work out your upper and lower body separately or both at one time.
- Under Desk Bike
Under desk bikes are designed for people who spend long hours working at a desk and have little time to get in exercise on a regular basis. Under desk bikes a little more than a pair of pedals that allows you to work out your lower body. An under the desk bike won’t give you a serious workout, but at least it allows you to get a little workout in while you’re working or even watching television.
What Muscles Do Exercise Bikes Work on?
In the battle of exercise bike vs elliptical you want to make a decision on which machine is right for you based on what muscles they work on as well as what other health benefits you can gain from the each machine. Here is a look at the muscles exercise bikes work.
For starters most exercise bikes work your back and spinal muscles without putting undue strain on these muscles. Most bikes, regardless of which type of bike you choose work both the front and back of the thigh muscles, as well as your hip, backside and leg muscles.
Recumbent bikes are great for working your abdominal muscles tightening your tummy and helping you to maintain good posture.
Bike with movable handlebars works your shoulder and chest muscles as well as your upper arms.
All exercise bikes also give you a good cardio workout and helps you to burn calories.
Advantages of Exercise Bikes
In order to fully determine whether an exercise bike or elliptical machine is the best fit for your fitness goals you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of the exercise bikes.
Here is a look at what’s good and what’s not so good about these bikes.
Exercise bike benefits:
- An exercise bike does not take up a lot of space in your home
- Great for those just beginning a fitness routine
- Can use regardless of the weather
- Low impact
- Improves balance
- Great for toning legs
- Aids in weight loss
- Good cardio workout
- Doesn’t require a power outlet
Exercise bike demerits:
- Most exercise back are concerned with mainly working out your lower body
- Can cause sore buttocks and back
- Upright bikes can actually lead to back issues
- Can be hard on the knees of people with knee joint problems
- Can get very boring
Should You Get An Elliptical Machine?
Different Types of Elliptical Machines
Just as the case for exercise bikes, when comparing an exercise bike vs elliptical machine you need to understand the different types of elliptical machines.
Here is a look at those types of elliptical machines:
- Elliptical Glider
An elliptical glider has stationary handlebars and you operate the machine by extending your hips and knees. The foot platform does not move, but the pedals move up and down at a backward angle. This machine can allow you to move the pedals both forwards and backwards.
- Elliptical Trainer
Like the elliptical glider the elliptical trainer works out the lower body. The handlebars are stationary and stand you on the foot pedals and you push on the pedals in a circular motion that is a lot like the motion of climbing stairs.
- Elliptical Cross Trainer
Elliptical cross trainer givers you a more complete body workout since both the pedal platform and the arms of the machine moves. These machines work your hips, buttocks, cakes, elbows and shoulders
- Under Desk Elliptical Machine
Under desk elliptical machines are little more than the elliptical pedals. These machines are designed to fit under a table or desk or sit in front of chair so you can get some exercise while you are watching television, reading or working. Under the desk ellipticals are good for toning muscles, but aren’t suitable for those dedicated to really working out.
What Muscles Exercised by Elliptical Machines?
In the battle of exercise bikes vs elliptical machines you are going to need what muscles the elliptical machines tend to strengthen and workout.
All elliptical machines work out the lower body including the hamstrings at the back of the legs, your glutes, thigh muscles or quads and your calf muscles. Strengthening these muscles can help to strengthen your lower back and may help to prevent lower back pain.
Elliptical Cross trainers will also work out your arm, shoulder and chest muscles as well as your back and core muscles giving you a more full body workout that will help you tone your entire body.
In addition, elliptical machines help your to burn calories and improve your cardio health.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Elliptical Machines
In order to make an informed decision as to which piece of exercise equipment is best in the continuous battle between exercise bikes vs elliptical machines, you need to know the advantages and disadvantage of the elliptical machine.
Elliptical machine benefits:
- Low impact form of exercise that protects your joints
- Good for burning calories, which can aid in weight loss
- Since this machine can be used indoors you can exercise in any weather
- Older people can exercise in this machine
- Whole body workout
- Can help increase stamina
- Can help to build a stronger body
- Good machine for beginner (not first time users)
- Doesn’t take up too much room.
- Doesn’t require a power outlet
Elliptical machine demerits:
- This machine is not good for those into advanced fitness
- Can be extremely difficult for first time users
- It doesn’t do the best for toning all muscle groups
- Some users experience numb feet
- Can be extremely boring
- Can be pretty expensive, putting one these machines beyond many peoples budgets
Exercise Bike vs Elliptical: Which is Better?
When it comes to choosing between an exercise bike and elliptical for the one piece of exercise equipment to use in your home there are several things to consider. First, you will notice that both of these machines offer many of the same benefits so if your main goal is too burn calories, and tone your leg muscles either machine will help you accomplish that goal.
However, many people with knee joint problems find elliptical machines easier to use and also find that the elliptical will build more muscle and do a better job at helping you improve muscle.
On the other hand one of the benefits of exercise bikes is they are easy to use for people who have balance problems. An exercise bike, particularly a recumbent bike may be better for those people who have back problems and still want to get in some exercise.
However, in most cases it is the cost of the elliptical, which makes many people decide an exercise bike is a better choice, but in the end you are the only one that can determine which is the better for your specific needs.
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