Elliptical Bike versus Recumbent Bike: Which is the Better


If you are looking for low impact equipment for working out, you will have to look into an elliptical or a recumbent bike for weight loss. Some people use these machines in the gym while others use them in their homes, where it is easier and more comfortable to work out.

Therefore, it is good to compare an elliptical bike with a recumbent bike. While both bikes work out the same lower body muscle groups, they differ slightly in features and how they work. In fact, both bikes exercise the same lower body muscles like the calf muscles, hamstrings, glutes, core, and quadriceps. Incidentally, these bikes are great for warming up your body before heavier workouts like lifting weights.

What is an elliptical bike?

We can also refer to an elliptical bike as a cross-trainer. Indeed, this cross trainer is an excellent machine for cardio workouts that help the cardiovascular system. By the way, your cardiovascular system consists blood vessels that circulate blood throughout your body including the heart. Furthermore, the workout you get from cross-trainer bikes can reduce the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and hypertension.

Now, a cross-trainer bike looks like either an upright bike or a reclining bike. Also, this bike has large pedals that move in a circular motion when powered by your legs and feet.  Furthermore, these bikes have two handles that allow for a front-to-back motion. As a result, more muscle groups are typically employed as opposed to using mobile or normal stationary bikes.

What is a recumbent bike?

A recumbent bike is a type of exercise bike that requires the rider to sit in a reclining position. Recumbent bikes are practical because they don't consume too much space compared to some other machines. Therefore, you can install a recumbent bike in your home and do your workouts in the comfort of your home instead of going to the gym.

A recumbent bike for weight loss is suitable for seated exercise as you can pedal it to reduce weight. Now, some people enjoy doing cardio workout while standing, while others by sitting. Moreover, a recumbent bike provides full support for your back. Also, it comes with a comfortable seat. As a result, it relaxes your upper body muscles while concentrating on your lower body muscles and your cardiovascular system.

Difference between recumbent and elliptical bikes

Now, these two type of machines are suitable for exercising the lower body, especially the glutes, flexors, hamstrings, and quads. Below are some of the critical differences between the two type of bikes.

The engaged muscle groups

Elliptical bikes can give you both lower and upper body workouts because it comes with handles that move back and forth. Therefore, it works both your arms and legs, as well as other parts of your body. Moreover, this type of exercise bike offers an excellent workout for your back muscles by concentrating on the core muscles and boosting the lower back.  Because you work out while standing, you will involve both the glute muscles and the arms.

On the other hand, recumbent bikes are suitable for lower body workouts only. This type of bike is the right choice for strengthening your hamstrings compared to an elliptical bike.

By the way, a recumbent bike stretches your legs horizontally and not vertically. Therefore, a recumbent bike exercises your upper and lower leg muscles But, the abdominal muscles can't benefit from this type of machine.

Burning Calories 

As a result of a recumbent bike's comfortability, many people prefer using recumbent bikes to elliptical bikes. Furthermore, the rate at which you will be pushing the pedals will be more challenging and faster with a recumbent bike. Consequently, more calories can be burned with a recumbent bike for weight loss. By the way, the level of effort plays a pivotal role in the amount of calories burned.

On the other hand, experts attest that using an elliptical bike can burn up to 30 percent more calories than recumbent bikes. For this reason, the elliptical bike is more effective for warming up and cardio workout than a recumbent bike. Besides, the elliptical bike involves both lower and upper body workouts.


When differentiating between the two type of bikes, you will find that a recumbent bike is more comfortable because of its comfortable seat while supporting the back. On the other hand, an elliptical bike has no seat, so you can only use it in a standing position.

However, sometimes the position of the seat in a recumbent bike may cause unwanted injuries and stress. So, if you decide to use a recumbent bike, remember to position the seat well.

Injury risks

When we talk about the risk of injuries, an elliptical bike might be more uncomfortable than a recumbent bike. Also, recumbent bikes offer maximum support and safety because of their comfortable and safer seat. In fact, you don't have to stand while using the recumbent bike, and therefore you will experience minimal injury risks with a recumbent bike.


Unlike elliptical bikes, the recumbent bike provides you with comfort, support, and easy-to-use design, enabling you to exercise for an extended period of time. Recumbent bikes also don't require any experience when compared with elliptical bikes.

You need to be careful when using an elliptical bike than recumbent bike because if you miss the peddle, it can result in an injury.

Comparison table between Elliptical bikes and Recumbent bikes


Elliptical bike: Offers both upper and lower body workouts.

Recumbent bike: Suitable for lower body workouts only.


Elliptical bike: Less convenient.

Recumbent bike: More convenient.


Elliptical bike: Some risk due to using it while standing on pedals.

Recumbent bike: Offers maximum safety thus minimal risks.

Ease of Use

Elliptical bike: Requires some experience.

Recumbent bike: Easy to use.

Frequently asked questions

What is the similarity between recumbent and elliptical bikes?

Both type of bikes are suitable for exercising the lower body, especially the glutes, flexors, hamstrings, and quads. Also, both machines are good for warming up your body before heavy workouts using weights.

Between recumbent and elliptical bikes, which one is more comfortable?

Comfortability depends on the rider; however, many people prefer using recumbent bikes rather than elliptical ones because of their comfortable seats and minimal risk of injury.


From the above, we can conclude that both elliptical and recumbent bikes are good for fitness and burning fat. Moreover, while recumbent bikes are more comfortable than elliptical bikes for cardio workouts, elliptical bikes give you a better cardio workout while working both your upper and lower body.