Exercise Bike Vs Treadmill

Deciding on what form of exercise equipment to use to lose weight, get in better shape and feel more fit can be a difficult decision.

Whenever you think of exercising, it’s either the exercise bike or treadmill.


Well, what we’re going to be looking at here is the great Exercise bike Vs Treadmill debate and see just how beneficial each of them are and ultimately what is better for you.

Now, I remember when I first started exercising over 15 years ago I was constantly trying to figure out which fitness machine is going to allow me to lose weight the fastest and make me fitter.

Whoa! Time flies!

I dabbled using both every now and again but what I took from it is simply using the machine that is more enjoyable to use.

For me, it was the exercise bike – more specifically the indoor cycling bike!

But enough about me, what we want to look at here is a comparison between the two so you decide what is best for you and your fitness goals.

BH Fitness I Spada Spin Bike

Exercise Bike Key Features

Treadmill Key Features

How Many Calories Could You Burn?

An exercise bike and treadmill are only as good as how you use them.

What I mean by that exactly is what you’re actually doing on them that makes the difference in burning a very low amount of calories or very high amount.

So, your workout routine is one factor – the other two are your current weight and just how long your actually working out for.

For example;

The Exercise Bike

  • If you weigh around 170 lbs (77kgs) and workout for 45 minutes you’ll burn around 428 calories.
  • However, if you weigh 200 lbs (91 kgs) and cycle for the same time at the same intensity you’ll burn around 504 calories.

The Treadmill

  • If you weigh 170lbs (77 kgs) and workout for 45 minutes you’ll burn around 500 calories.
  • If you weigh 200lbs (91kgs) and workout for the same time and intensity you’ll burn around 600 calories.

You’ll probably notice the difference in calories between the two weight classes.

This is down to the fact that for a person with more weight has to work harder with greater energy output and therefore a greater increase in calories burned.

Now, one of the main factors that’s being missed out here is your level of intensity

This is important!

This makes the difference in extra calories being burned or less.

2 ways to exercise is either through HIIT (High Interval Intensity Training) or LISS (Low Intensity Steady State).

HIIT cardio is where you give it all you got for short bursts of around 30 seconds or so and then bring the intensity down for 15-20 seconds then back up again.

The aim is to get your maximum heart rate between 70-90% then down to 60-65% for the rest periods.

You could generally knock out a HIIT cardio session in around 15 minutes or so.

LISS is where you perform your workout over a longer period of time say for around 60 minutes.

You’ll be able to cycle or run for longer so isn’t too taxing on the body.

Here, you’ll be aiming to get your maximum heart rate in the 45-60% region.

This form of cardio may be better for you if your suffer from heart problems.

Both forms of cardio are excellent at burning calories but if you really want a quick, effective workout that will torch those calories then HIIT is what you’re after.

What Muscles Are At Work Here?

The Exercise Bike

The exercise bike is a total lower body workout.

However, you may be surprised to here that your core is also at work here!

The constant rocking side-to-side motion and simple act of balancing to stay upright on the bike is really going to activate your abdominal muscles.


Now, the main muscles being targeted here is your Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Hip Flexors and Shin muscles.

These are your powerhouse – these muscles are what is allowing to cycle through each rotation by pushing and pulling.

Main muscle activation is done through your Quadriceps through each push of the pedals whilst your Hamstrings are being activated by the pulling back of the pedals.

The Treadmill

The treadmill basically uses your entire body as you are running in a forward direction.

However, once again it’s your legs muscle groups that are at work the most here!

You’ll be using your Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes, Shin Muscles, Hip Flexors and a good proportion of your Abdominals.

With every step you take, each muscle will be activated just at the right time to ensure you stay balanced, moving in a forward direction and being able to handle the weight of your body on each foot.

Who The Exercise Bike Is Suited To

Anyone really, I wouldn’t say there is any particular person who wouldn’t benefit from the exercise bike in some way.

Easy to setup and easy to use.

Not only is it a great form of cardio that can shred fat quickly and effectively but it’s awesome for muscle tone and definition of the quads, hamstrings and calves!

However, it’s the type of exercise bike that may have the difference for some people.

For example, someone with poor mobility, bad knees or has lower back problems I would recommend the recumbent bike.

Simply down to the supported backrest and pressure taken off the lower back and legs.

Whereas someone who is more athletic and flexible could really benefit more from the indoor cycling bike or an air bike.

Knock out a quick and awesome HIIT session 

Mix it with some high resistance, low resistance and seating and standing intervals and you’ll be gasping for your next drink of water!

This will help promote maximum output and really the main aim here is to push yourself as hard as you can go to torch those calories and improve your overall endurance

Who The Treadmill Is Suited To

I would say most people here.

As the treadmill is used as a constant standing motion with very little support I wouldn’t recommend it for people with poor mobility.

As I said, the recumbent exercise bike would be best suited here.

In saying that, if you feel comfortable standing for certain periods of time then the treadmill can be used for walking or gentle jogging.

You could even walk on an incline and activate those legs muscles helping to burn calories quicker.

If you are more athletic though, you can really get a heart-pumping workout here.

Crank up the speed and incline and perform a quick HIIT session – get your towel ready!

The treadmill is a great form of cardio though that almost anyone can benefit from whether it be walking, jogging or sprinting.

So, Which Is Ultimately Better?

At the end of the day, both the exercise bike and treadmill are aiming towards one goal

To melt fat and to improve overall fitness.

Both are excellent at burning those calories and providing a full, effective cardio workout.

Now, 2 points that I feel makes the difference though:

Impact on your legs

Like I said, the exercise bike as a low impact on your legs and joints whereas the treadmill has a moderate to high impact.

This means later on in life, with constant running you may experience problems with your knee or hips.


Whenever you’re on the exercise bike you can simply turn the crank (on an indoor cycling bike) or touch a button and resistance is added instantaneously.

However, with a treadmill whenever you increase resistance at the touch of a button – it takes time for the speed of the belt to increase or the height of the incline to rise.

I just feel that training using HIIT – an exercise bike will be able to perform this much better and effectively.

So there you have it, the exercise bike vs the treadmill.

Choose what you feel is best for you and your workout goals.

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