Exercise Machine Showdown: Recumbent Bikes vs. Upright Bikes

Has winter restricted you to indoor training at a gym? If so, you’re probably thinking about which exercise machine will best keep your body well-tuned for the sunny return of spring and summer. Since there are differences between machines, it’s important to keep in mind what will work best for your fitness goals. This is especially true if you’re a cyclist or are looking for an effective cardio workout, and you’re deciding between an upright exercise bike and a recumbent one.

A recumbent exercise bike has you sitting in a low-slung, seated position, with your spine supported and your legs stretched out. This is a great option if you have balance problems—it’s very difficult to topple over—or back problems that make cycling on an upright exercise bike uncomfortable. And you still get a good workout—research shows recumbent exercise bikes give your hamstrings more of a workout than upright exercise bikes. But there are a few drawbacks. Because you are so supported in the recumbent position, you don’t work nearly as many muscles as you do on an upright exercise bike, which engages your glutes, abdomen, lower back, shoulders, neck, and arms. In addition, if you’re a cyclist training for the upcoming riding season, an upright exercise bike will be much closer to the real thing. Bottom line? Recumbent bikes are a good choice if you have physical restrictions—otherwise, go upright.

Source: New York Times

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