Recumbent Bike VS Elliptical

Once you are shifting from a lousy couch routine to a healthy fitness program, you find it hard to choose an exercise plan that is easy and can develop your muscles gradually.

Considering your query about the indecision between an Elliptical trainer and a Recumbent bike let me draw a brief comparison for you in this article.

Both gym equipment is indoor fitness machines, you can place them at home to avoid daily gym visits. Let’s look at the head-to-head comparison of their fitness results, weight loss effect, muscle building, and body strengthening potential.

Recumbent Bike VS Elliptical

The Elliptical and Recumbent bikes are both categorized as ‘’Cardio Exercise Machines’’ and in many aspects, they provide much similar fitness and health benefits. Not to mention there are various visible differences one can note before jumping to conclusions.

What is a Recumbent Bike?

Recumbent bikes are the advanced and most comfortable form of indoor bikes. The recumbent bikes are famous for a large cushioned seat with a backrest and large size pedals installed in the front. With the adjustments in seats, the particular features make it suitable for all kinds of users.

Irrespective of height, weight, and age the various shape and size models keep you relaxed and encourage you to carry the long-term exercise session.

The bikes are designed to be quiet and durable so you can enjoy watching TV or listening to your music without any disturbance.

The bike has been designed smartly to keep you in a reclined posture and keep it stable during intense exercise.

The sidebar handles are installed for your assistance so you can grab on to them whenever you feel like it or during the high intensity of workout for balancing.

What is an Elliptical Trainer?

An elliptical trainer is a superb gym or home exercise equipment to tone your body without worrying about the risk of injury. The trainer is designed for a low-impact cardio workout as running, jogging, or walking can put a lot of pressure on your knees.

Ellipticals are available in different shapes and sizes, comforting users of various heights and weights. Once you hop on the elliptical you need to hold the tall moving handles for balancing while paddling for your exercise.

The elliptical offers a smooth and comfortable stride great for beginners but to enhance your fitness you can choose the resistance level and training modes to challenge your body. The trainer provides you a complete body workout engaging your arms and legs at the same time.

What is the Difference Between the Two Bikes?

When deriving the difference between the Recumbent bike vs an Elliptical Trainer it is important to mention the usage and purpose of these machines.

In a Recumbent bike, you will be sitting in a recline position with multiple seat adjustment options stretching your legs towards the front pedal with no such need of holding the handlebars for balancing.

While with the Elliptical trainer you will be in a standing position contracting all the upper and lower body muscles and you will be holding handles for the complete session.

In terms of exercise, the recumbent bike offers an alternative experience to outdoor cycling with no concern for traffic and weather. Pedaling has no negative effect on the knees and it is a great therapy for seniors with bad knee problems.

Talking about the Elliptical trainer it’s a low-impact exercise machine suitable for maintaining fitness after injury or burning body fat without putting stress on your joints.

Common Benefits

There are a few similar benefits you can achieve with both the equipment:

  • Cardiovascular Exercise: Both machines are a great source of cardiovascular workout, the body movements with adjusted resistance can push your cardiovascular system and lower the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and cardiac diseases.
  • Shaping the Body: The machines are designed to tone your body and not double your muscles. The workout sessions can shape legs, buttocks, thigh muscles, hamstrings, calves, and gluteal.
  • Lose Weight: The recumbent bike contracts the lower body whereas the elliptical trainer engages both the upper and lower body strength during exercise. If you can keep your workout for a long time with intensity and an increase in resistance level you will burn more calories to lose weight.
  • Safe for Joints: One more reason to love these machines is the improvement in your endurance without hurting the knees or boosting the heart rate. Bike riding or elliptical training has a low impact on your knees thus more doctors are recommending machines than running for knee or ankle patients.
  • Injury Risk: The reason people agree to indoor gym equipment is a risk-free exercise environment. Although both cardio machines bear the full workout pressure and weight on their structure, being in a fixed place there is a very low risk of any kind of injury.
  • Comfort: The Recumbent bikes are far and away from the most comfortable due to their seat adjustments, backrest, and leg stretching features. Though the ellipticals are available in various sizes and shapes, they are always applauded for their comfortable pedals and motions.
  • Maintenance: Generally not all the machines are the same, with variations in operating systems needing different kinds of maintenance. Having said that you will find it easy and low-price to maintain them.

Also Read: Recumbent Bike and Elliptical Combo

Benefits of Recumbent Bike

Few contrasting benefits linked with the Recumbent bikes give it an edge over the elliptical trainer. The bike is suitable for people with knee and spinal injuries, the cushioned seat and back support helps them to live a healthy life without increasing the pain or risking their injuries.

The bike is comfortable inspires you to carry a long hour daily exercise session, without being bored or involving hands every time. You can read, text your friend, or play games while paddling and strengthening your lower body muscles.

Drawbacks of Recumbent Bike

Few reservations of users are:

  • Few bike designs are not suitable for disabled people.
  • Lacks the involvement of shoulder and arm muscles.
  • May burn fewer calories.

Benefits of Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical machines are unique for their cross-training; they allow you to move your legs in a motion while engaging your arms and shoulders with moveable handles making a scenario to get a full-body workout.

By adjusting resistance levels, you can challenge your body to burn more calories. This is a weight-bearing exercise machine designed to be pushed by your muscles and bones to build them stronger.

The standing posture helps in better circulation of blood pumping oxygen to all parts of the body. The machine’s workout programs have a great effect on burning away belly fat or extra fat from the hips and thighs.

Drawbacks of Elliptical Trainer

The disadvantages of an Elliptical Trainer are:

  • Some people find it harder to adopt trainer motion than running or walking.
  • Many feedbacks have complained about the size of an elliptical trainer.


Q1: Which machine is better for weight loss? Elliptical or Recumbent Bike?

The process of losing weight depends upon the intensity of the workout and the calories burned. The elliptical trainer engages upper and lower body parts mainly the abdomen, back, shoulders, neck, arms, and legs whereas the recumbent bike only contracts the legs, thighs, calves, and glutes. The effect is relevant to time spent and intensity.

Q2: Is an Elliptical trainer bad for knees?

A low-impact activity, such as the Elliptical machine, usually leads to a lower risk of injury if used correctly.

Q3: Is a recumbent bike good for seniors?

Yes, the recumbent bike is good for seniors. The bicycles are designed to ensure comfort sitting and pedaling without pressurizing your knees. Riding a recumbent bike is a healthy and safe cardiovascular activity for seniors as well.

Steven Mark Recumbent Guide Author

About Author

Steven Mark is a data analytic and content creator. He has worked extensively with large data sets to glean insights for both public and private sector clients. He has used this knowledge to create compelling content for brands across the internet.

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