Exercise Bike Vs Elliptical Trainer

exercise bike vs elliptical

The exercise bike has been a staple in health clubs and gyms for decades. The elliptical trainer on the other hand is relatively new, but it has quickly become a favourite of exercisers of all ages. At my gym, there is usually a waiting list to use the elliptical trainers.

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Both the elliptical trainer and the exercise bike give you a terrific cardiovascular workout. Let’s review the elliptical trainer versus the exercise bike to see how it compares!

The elliptical trainer and the exercise bike both provide a low impact workout

If you have ever tried an elliptical trainer at your gym, you may have been impressed by the smooth gliding action of the machine. The elliptical (oval shaped) motion lets you experience a full range of motion, but the smooth action keeps your joints supple.

The exercise bike is also a low impact exercise. Riding an exercise bike allows even people with back pain to exercise because it does not jar the spine like some other forms of exercise. In fact, rehabilitation specialists will often recommend the exercise bike to people who have joint issues or who are rehabilitating after surgery.

Both machines minimize the force on your knees, ankles and feet.

Both the elliptical trainer and exercise bike are great for beginners

If you’re just starting out exercising, you won’t find an easier exercise to get used to than the exercise bike. It mimics the action of riding a bike, so even beginners feel comfortable within a few minutes of getting on the machine. Resistance levels can be adjusted, so that you can choose a very low level of resistance when just starting out.

Nevertheless, the elliptical trainer is also terrific for beginners because it mimics the same movement you use in walking, so you will find it easy to learn and use. The resistance level on the elliptical is also easy to adjust and change. Experiment a little bit to find the level that’s right for you.

The elliptical trainer with handlebars provides a great cross training work out versus the exercise bike

Probably one of the biggest advantages of the elliptical trainer versus the exercise bike is its ability to give you a cross training workout. The handlebars give you the ability to work out many of the muscles of your upper body at the same time that you are working your legs.

Many people choose the elliptical trainer over most other types of cardio equipment because you can get the best overall workout for your time.

The elliptical trainer and the exercise bike both allow you to reverse direction

Don’t just get stuck in fast forward when you’re exercising. A great benefit of both the exercise bike and elliptical trainer is your ability to move your legs in a backward motion on the elliptical and to pedal backwards on the exercise bike.

You may not realize that reversing the motion actually engages different muscles in your legs, thereby giving your legs a better all around workout.

The elliptical trainer provides a weight bearing workout versus the exercise bike, which does not

Another benefit of the elliptical trainer is its ability to provide you with a weight bearing workout. Weight bearing exercise is important for protecting against muscle and bone loss, particularly as you age.

Many fitness experts agree that weight bearing exercises are the best way for you to also improve your conditioning, strengthen your muscles and burn more calories efficiently.

The exercise bike is much smaller and less expenses versus the elliptical trainer

If you are considering which piece of equipment to purchase for your home gym, space is typically a consideration. Exercise bikes take up less space than elliptical trainers do, so it may be a better choice if you have limited space.

In addition, you can usually get a decent exercise bike for a few hundred dollars less than a good quality elliptical machine. Remember to shop around to get the best price!

The exercise bike can help you build up your leg muscles

If you are training for a specific purpose or sport, exercise bikes can be used to help you build up your quadriceps and calves. To achieve muscle building on the bike, you need to progressively increase your resistance on a regular basis.

However, you are probably better off using the exercise bike for your cardiovascular benefits and using weight training for your muscle building.

Which is best?

The best way for you to evaluate which machine is right for you is to try them out. Of course, if you have a health club membership you can use a different machine for each of your workouts.

However, if you’re planning a home based gym, you need to try each machine to see which works best for you. Hopefully, some of the differences pointed out in this article will assist you in your decision!

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As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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