Elliptical vs. Recumbent Bike

Welcome to the world of fitness and wellness, where the quest for a healthier you often begins with a simple question: “Which exercise equipment is right for me?” If you’ve found your way here, you’re likely contemplating two fantastic options that promise to kickstart your fitness journey – the elliptical and the recumbent bike.

In a world brimming with exercise possibilities, the choice between an elliptical and a recumbent bike isn’t just about what’s popular; it’s about what works best for you. Whether you’re aiming to shed those extra pounds, seeking a quieter workout solution, or simply curious about which machine burns more calories or works more muscles, this guide is your roadmap to making that decision.

So, fasten your seatbelts, or in this case, your exercise straps, as we embark on a journey of comparison and discovery, pitting the elliptical against the recumbent bike. By the end of this journey, you’ll have a clearer perspective on which machine is your ideal companion in the pursuit of fitness. Let’s dive into the elliptical vs. recumbent bike debate and find the perfect fitness partner for you. Let’s get started!

What’s better for weight loss? Recumbent Exercise Bike vs. Elliptical Trainer

What Exercise Bike? Recumbent vs. Upright vs. Elliptical & More…

Are you on a quest to shed those extra pounds, to reclaim your health and fitness? If so, you’ve probably wondered which exercise machine will be your trusty sidekick in this weight loss adventure – the elliptical or the recumbent bike?

Weight loss is a common goal for many of us, and choosing the right exercise equipment can make all the difference. In this section, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of both the elliptical and the recumbent bike in the context of weight loss, so you can make an informed decision.

Elliptical Trainer for Weight Loss

The elliptical trainer has earned its reputation as a potent calorie-burning machine. It engages various muscle groups, from your legs to your arms, offering a full-body workout that can be highly effective for weight loss. The elliptical’s smooth, gliding motion is easy on the joints, making it accessible to everyone, including those with joint issues.

The elliptical’s potential for weight loss comes from its ability to elevate your heart rate, a crucial factor in burning calories. The intensity of your workout can be adjusted to suit your fitness level and goals. High-intensity intervals can significantly boost calorie expenditure during a session.

However, it’s important to note that weight loss also depends on your overall diet and lifestyle. The elliptical can be a valuable tool, but you should complement your workouts with a balanced diet and other healthy habits.

Recumbent Bike for Weight Loss

The recumbent bike provides a comfortable, seated position for your workouts. This comfort can be especially appealing to those who may find traditional upright bikes uncomfortable or have back issues. It allows you to exercise without straining your back and joints, making it an ideal choice for those looking to lose weight with minimal impact.

The calorie-burning potential of the recumbent bike is also notable, especially when used with consistency and in conjunction with a healthy diet. While it may not engage as many muscle groups as the elliptical, it still provides an effective cardiovascular workout, helping you burn calories and improve your overall fitness.


Both the elliptical and the recumbent bike can be valuable tools in your weight loss journey. The elliptical offers a full-body workout with low-impact benefits, making it accessible to a wide audience. The recumbent bike, on the other hand, provides a comfortable and supportive exercise experience, making it a viable option for those who may have physical limitations.

Ultimately, the “better” choice for weight loss depends on your individual preferences, needs, and goals. It’s crucial to choose the machine that aligns with your fitness level, comfort, and lifestyle.

Our Top Picks For Elliptical Machines 

Recommended Elliptical: NordicTrack AirGlide 14i

NordicTrack AirGlide 14i
  • Bring Home Interactive Personal Training powered by iFit; 12-month iFit family membership included; create up to 5 individual exercise profiles; Access live, studio, and global workouts ($396 value)
  • Immersive 14-inch interactive HD touchscreen streams live & on-demand iFit workouts directly to your equipment; SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance for near-silent home exercise
  • 26 Digital Levels of Resistance; Automatic Trainer Control allows your iFit Trainer to auto-adjust your resistance in real-time; Enjoy hands-free exercise that matches global terrain in your home

Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When it comes to choosing an elliptical that excels in performance, features, and user experience, the NordicTrack AirGlide 14i stands out as a top choice. This elliptical offers a perfect blend of innovation and comfort, making it an ideal companion for your fitness journey.

The NordicTrack AirGlide 14i features a sleek design and robust construction, ensuring durability and stability during your workouts. Its silent magnetic resistance system allows for quiet and smooth striding, making it a great choice for home use, even in shared living spaces.

One of the standout features of the NordicTrack AirGlide 14i is its impressive 14-inch touchscreen display, providing access to a wide range of interactive workout programs, instructor-led classes, and scenic routes that simulate outdoor training. This immersive technology keeps you engaged and motivated throughout your exercise routine.

Recommended Elliptical: Horizon Fitness EX-59

Horizon Fitness EX-59
  • BEST-SELLING & MOST-RELIABLE: Horizon’s most-awarded treadmill with simple, reliable controls and durable components. Get started with an exercise routine or train for your next event in the comfort of your home.
  • BLUETOOTH CONNECTION: Sync your phone or device to integrated speakers to stream media with crisp stereo sound. A built-in device holder keeps your screen in view for entertainment or classes. Includes rapid-charge USB port to keep you powered.
  • IDEAL FOR HOME WORKOUTS: Max user weight is 300 pounds. Compact, portable, and ideal for low ceilings, apartments, and small spaces. Assembled dimensions of 74″ x 25″ x 64.5″.

Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For those seeking a reliable and affordable elliptical machine that delivers a solid workout experience, the Horizon Fitness EX-59 is a top contender. This elliptical offers a no-nonsense approach to fitness, focusing on functionality, comfort, and value for your investment.

The Horizon Fitness EX-59 boasts a sturdy and compact design, making it suitable for various living spaces. Its quiet magnetic resistance system ensures that you can exercise without creating disturbances in your surroundings, making it an excellent choice for home use.

This elliptical features a user-friendly console with a clear LCD screen, providing essential workout data at a glance. While it may not have the bells and whistles of more high-end models, it offers a straightforward and efficient workout experience.

Our Top Picks For Recumbent Bike

Recommended Recumbent Bike: Schwinn 290 Recumbent Bike

Schwinn 290 Recumbent Bike
  • Try our JRNY Mobile-Only Membership for 2 months, free
  • Workout at home or on the go with inspiring trainers, and just-for-you adaptive workouts, from your phone or tablet
  • Travel through 200 plus virtual courses at your own speed or experience them alongside your adaptive workouts

Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When it comes to recumbent bikes that deliver comfort, quality, and a solid workout experience, the Schwinn 290 Recumbent Bike is a top pick. This recumbent bike combines ergonomic design with user-friendly features, making it an excellent choice for individuals seeking a low-impact, seated exercise option.

The Schwinn 290 Recumbent Bike is built to last, featuring a robust and durable construction that ensures stability during your workouts. Its quiet magnetic resistance system allows for a smooth and virtually noiseless pedaling experience, making it an ideal choice for home use without disturbing your living space.

Recommended Recumbent Bike: NordicTrack Commercial R35 Recumbent Bike

NordicTrack Commercial R35 Recumbent Bike
  • [30-day iFIT trial included] – Follow expert iFIT Trainers in 10,000+ outdoor workouts around the world. Internet and WIFI required. iFIT Membership auto-renews for $39/mo plus tax unless canceled in advance. Cancel at any time.
  • [Protected by Warranty] – Work out at ease with a 10-year frame, 2-year parts, and 1-year labor warranty.
  • [350 lb. user capacity] – Built on a strong frame to accommodate a variety of users.

Last update on 2024-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For those who demand top-notch performance, advanced features, and a luxurious exercise experience, the NordicTrack Commercial R35 Recumbent Bike is an outstanding choice. This recumbent bike sets the bar high in terms of innovation, comfort, and training possibilities.

The NordicTrack Commercial R35 showcases a robust and premium design that ensures durability and stability during your workouts. Its silent magnetic resistance system guarantees a whisper-quiet pedaling experience, allowing you to exercise in a serene environment even in shared living spaces.

What’s More Quiet? Elliptical vs. Recumbent Bike

Silence, they say, is golden. Especially when it comes to working out at home or in shared living spaces, the noise level of your exercise equipment can make all the difference in your choice. Let’s compare the elliptical and the recumbent bike in terms of how loud they are during workouts.

Elliptical Trainer: A Quiet Companion

The elliptical trainer is often considered one of the quieter exercise machines. Its silent magnetic resistance system ensures that the sound produced during use is minimal. As you stride, the elliptical’s smooth, gliding motion generates a soft, rhythmic hum, which is unlikely to disturb others in your home.

The low impact nature of elliptical workouts also contributes to their noiselessness. The absence of footfall impact, like that of a treadmill, further reduces the auditory impact. This feature makes the elliptical a particularly attractive option for individuals who want to exercise without causing disturbances in their living environment, especially in apartments or shared spaces.

So, whether you prefer an early morning workout or a late-night exercise session, you can glide on the elliptical with the assurance that you won’t wake the whole house.

Recumbent Bike: A Silent Pedaler

Much like the elliptical, recumbent bikes are also known for their quiet operation. Their magnetic resistance systems offer a smooth and virtually noiseless pedaling experience. As you pedal away in the seated and reclined position, the sound generated is similar to a gentle, rhythmic buzz rather than a disruptive noise.

This noise level is unlikely to disturb your neighbors, housemates, or family members, making the recumbent bike a suitable choice for those seeking a peaceful workout atmosphere. If you have mobility concerns and prefer a comfortable, low-impact exercise option without creating a ruckus, the recumbent bike is a great companion.


In summary, both machines offer a quiet and unobtrusive workout experience. However, the recumbent bike’s seated design and minimal impact make it an excellent choice for those who prioritize a serene exercise environment.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your individual preferences and specific circumstances. Whether you opt for the elliptical or the recumbent bike, you can enjoy a peaceful workout without the worry of disturbing others. So, pick your machine, gear up, and pedal or stride your way to fitness in tranquility.

Exercise Bike vs. Elliptical: Which Burns More Calories?

Exercise Bike vs. Elliptical: Which Burns More Calories?

The pursuit of a healthier, more vibrant you often goes hand in hand with the quest for efficient calorie burning. Whether you’re driven by weight loss goals or simply want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, understanding how effectively your exercise machine torches those calories is essential. In this section, we’ll examine the calorie-burning potential of the recumbent bike and the elliptical, helping you decide which one aligns with your fitness objectives.

Elliptical Trainer:

The elliptical trainer is renowned for its ability to burn many calories in a relatively short period. What makes it a efficient is the full-body workout it offers. As you stride and grasp the handles, multiple muscle groups are engaged, resulting in a higher calorie burn.

The elliptical’s calorie-burning potential is influenced by various factors, including the duration of your workout, the intensity, and your body weight. For a person weighing around 155 pounds, a 30-minute elliptical workout can burn approximately 335 calories at moderate intensity. If you increase the intensity or workout duration, you can further increase the calorie burn.

Recumbent Bike: A Steady Burner

The recumbent bike, while offering a comfortable and low-impact exercise experience, also contributes to calorie burning, although at a somewhat lower rate compared to the elliptical. Its seated position and primarily lower body engagement may result in a slightly lower calorie burn per minute.

On average, a 30-minute session on a recumbent bike can burn around 200-250 calories for a person weighing about 155 pounds, depending on factors like resistance level and pedaling speed. The recumbent bike’s appeal lies in its steadiness; it allows you to maintain a consistent pace for extended periods, making it a great option for longer, calorie-burning workouts.

It’s important to note that individual results may vary. Your calorie burn is influenced by factors such as your weight, age, fitness level, and the effort you put into your workouts. To maximize the calorie-burning potential of both the elliptical and the recumbent bike, consider incorporating interval training, adjusting resistance levels, and maintaining a consistent exercise routine.


In the end, the choice between the elliptical and the recumbent bike in terms of calorie burn depends on your fitness goals, preferences, and how effectively you can maintain a consistent exercise routine. If you’re looking for a machine that can incinerate calories at a faster rate and you enjoy a full-body workout, the elliptical might be your top pick. However, if you prefer a comfortable, steady burner, the recumbent bike is a strong contender.

What works more muscles? Recumbent Exercise Bike vs. Elliptical Trainer

What works more muscles? Recumbent Exercise Bike vs. Elliptical Trainer

In your fitness journey, the key to an effective workout often lies in engaging as many muscle groups as possible. Not only does this help you build strength and endurance, but it also contributes to a higher calorie burn. If you’re curious about which machine, the recumbent bike or the elliptical, works more muscles, then you’ve come to the right place. In this section, we’ll explore how these two exercise giants fare when it comes to engaging various muscle groups.

Elliptical Trainer: A Full-Body Trainer

The elliptical trainer is often referred to as the “total body trainer” for a reason. It engages a lot of muscle groups, providing a comprehensive workout experience. Here’s a breakdown of the muscle groups involved in your elliptical session:

  • Legs: The elliptical primarily targets your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. As you push and pull the foot pedals, these muscle groups come into play, helping you build strength and tone in your lower body.
  • Glutes: The gluteus maximus, or your glutes, also get a good workout while using the elliptical. This contributes to a firmer and shapelier rear end.
  • Core: To maintain your balance and stability on the elliptical, your core muscles, including your abdominal muscles and lower back, are actively engaged.
  • Arms: The elliptical’s moving handlebars allow you to work your upper body as well. Your biceps, triceps, and shoulder muscles are recruited, adding an extra layer of muscle engagement to your workout.
  • Back: Your upper and lower back muscles also play a role in maintaining posture while striding on the elliptical.

The elliptical trainer’s ability to provide a full-body workout makes it an excellent choice for those seeking an all-encompassing fitness experience.

Recumbent Bike: Focused on the Lower Body

The recumbent bike, with its comfortable seated position, primarily targets the muscles of the lower body. Here’s a glimpse of the muscle groups involved:

  • Legs: The recumbent bike primarily works the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves as you pedal. This can help tone and strengthen your lower body.
  • Glutes: Similar to the elliptical, the recumbent bike also engages your glutes, contributing to a firmer posterior.

While the recumbent bike provides an effective lower body workout, it doesn’t engage the upper body muscles to the same extent as the elliptical.


In summary, if you’re aiming for a full-body workout that engages a wide range of muscle groups, the elliptical trainer is your go-to option. It’s designed to offer a symphony of muscle engagement, helping you build strength and endurance throughout your body. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a primarily lower body-focused workout with the advantage of a comfortable seated position, the recumbent bike is a worthy contender. Ultimately, your choice should align with your fitness goals and preferences.

Elliptical vs. Exercise Bike: Enjoyment

Recumbent Bike vs. Upright Bike: The Things You Need To Consider

Engaging in regular exercise is not just about physical fitness; it’s also about the mental and emotional aspects of your journey. How much you enjoy your workout can significantly impact your commitment and consistency. In this section, we’ll explore the enjoyment factor when it comes to using the elliptical and the recumbent bike.

Elliptical Trainer: A Varied Workout Experience

One of the elliptical trainer’s strengths is its versatility and variety. You can simulate activities like walking, running, or climbing stairs, all while enjoying a low-impact, fluid motion. Many elliptical machines also come with customizable features, such as adjustable incline levels and resistance settings. These options allow you to switch up your routine, keeping your workouts interesting and preventing boredom.

Additionally, most ellipticals have built-in workout programs that can challenge you with different goals, from interval training to hill climbing. These programs can help add an element of excitement to your workouts, making each session feel fresh and engaging.

Moreover, if you prefer watching TV, listening to music, or catching up on your favorite podcast during your workout, the elliptical’s smooth and rhythmic movement makes it easy to multitask without sacrificing your exercise quality. This added entertainment can make your exercise routine more enjoyable.

Recumbent Bike: A Comfortable Ride

The recumbent bike offers a comfortable and relaxed exercise experience. Sitting in a supportive, reclined position can be inviting and less strenuous on your body. If you’re someone who enjoys a leisurely ride while reading a book, watching TV, or even working on your laptop, the recumbent bike provides an ideal setup for these activities.

However, it’s important to note that the recumbent bike’s seated position and lower intensity may not appeal to those seeking high-intensity workouts or a more challenging fitness experience. If you’re looking for an exhilarating, heart-pounding workout, the recumbent bike may not be as satisfying as the elliptical.


The choice between the elliptical and the recumbent bike often comes down to personal preferences. Some individuals relish the versatility and variety offered by the elliptical, while others appreciate the comfort and ease of the recumbent bike. Consider what you find most enjoyable in a workout, and let that guide your decision.

The key to long-term fitness success is finding a form of exercise that you look forward to. Whether you prefer the dynamic experience of the elliptical or the relaxed comfort of the recumbent bike, staying consistent with your workouts is the ultimate goal.

Recumbent  Bike vs. Elliptical: The Final Verdict

Elliptical vs Exercise Bike - Which Is Best for You? –

In conclusion, choosing between the recumbent bike and the elliptical depends on your goals and what feels comfy. The elliptical is good for losing weight and working many muscles. The recumbent bike is quiet and cozy. Just pick what suits you best, be consistent, and stay healthy!

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An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!