Recumbent Exercise Bike Vs Upright Exercise Bike

If you’re looking for a new exercise bike for your home or to add to an already epic garage gym, one question you may be asking, ‘Is a Recumbent exercise bike or an upright exercise bike better?’


As you may well know, both essentially perform the task but there are a few key differences between them that are designed for different needs.


So let’s find out more about them now

What is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

A Recumbent bike is basically where you are cycling almost from a horizontal angle. Your back is raised and fully supported with a seat. This makes it a great bike to use if you have back or hip problems.


You will find that this bike is aimed more at the older generation, people going through rehabilitation or even people who feel they need to work up to build upon their fitness and cardio.

Recumbent Exercise Bike

What is an Upright Exercise Bike?

An Upright bike is a bike that you can sit on where your back is ‘upright’ as the name suggests. Your body is more aligned at a 90 degree angle or less. The indoor cycling bike would be categorised as an upright bike.


With this position, not only does it work the legs but also involves the core making it a very good overall workout.


You can cycle seated or standing on this bike and it has many handheld positions for a more comfortable cycle.

Upright Exercise Bike

Benefits & Drawbacks of a Recumbent Exercise Bike

Benefits & Drawbacks of an Upright Exercise Bike

Choosing The Right Bike for You

So choosing the right bike for you depends on exactly what you want out of it. Both bikes will certainly meet your exercising needs, it just comes down to what your own fitness goals are.


If you are new to cycling, exercise in general or even had any recent enough surgery and in recovery phase, I would advise starting off with the recumbent bike.


Get a feel for it and increase the intensity level as you go to build up your stamina and endurance. If you then feel you want to push yourself further and really melt fat, then try out the upright bike.


As described above, if you suffer from any back or hip problems I would advise exercising on the recumbent bike. It still offers an incredible workout that will surely have you sweating in no time.


If you want more out of your workout and really want to push through your limits, then you’ll want the upright bike. Whether this be a standard upright bike or indoor cycling bike, you can crank up the resistance to really dig deep, push through the pain and benefit from an incredible cardio workout.


The other benefit to using an upright bike is that it will certainly help to improve toning and strengthening of your legs and core. Whether your Interval Training or training steady state, your core and legs are constantly engaged creating resistance, making your muscles more developed.

Rehabilitation After An Injury

If you were involved in an unfortunate accident or received a sports injury, these bikes will certainly help you get back to full fitness and health.


The good thing about these bikes is that they are low impact so won’t add any additional stress or strain on your legs compared to the likes of jogging or running.


When developing your strength again, it would be advised to exercise on the recumbent bike firstly and overtime slowly integrate the upright bike into your workout routine.


You don’t want to rush into your recovery, you need to take it slow and develop upon it day by day.


So as you can see there are obviously a lot of similarities between the recumbent and upright bike.


  • Both are great for cardio
  • Both are great at building endurance
  • Both are great for warming up and cooling down
  • Both are very low impact exercise machines

However, they do have their differences and it basically comes down to intensity level and your mobility. You want to make sure that you are able to train at your own pace but also have the ability to push yourself just beyond your limits.


If your after a leg and core building cardio workout then the upright bike is what you want.


If you are new to exercising, rehabilitating after an injury or simply want a steadier pace of cycling, then the recumbent bike is the one for you.


I hope this sheds some light on what you were looking for. If you have any questions, please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

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