Recumbent vs. upright bikes: what’s the difference?
The issue of recumbent versus upright bikes is probably an issue that probably concerns anyone considering indoor cycling for exercise; after all, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many of us to exercise at home. If you’ve spent any time researching this topic, you’ll find it to be an often confusing area, filled with different types of stationary bikes, many of which promise to do different things.
Two of the main types of exercise bikes that you will find are recumbent bikes and upright bikes. To help you figure out the differences between recumbent and upright bikes, we’ve broken down exactly what each one is, how they work, which muscles they train, and who each bike would be best suited for. This will then help you determine the type of bike that is best suited to your life situation, level of fitness, and training needs.
Recumbent bikes vs stationary bikes: what are they?
There are a number of different shapes and sizes of exercise bikes for indoor workouts, but it’s crucial to look at the differences between recumbent bikes and stationary bikes. A stationary bike is a bike you sit on and cycle on like a regular bike, but the important difference, of course, is that it doesn’t move forward – there’s no collision with the walls here.
An upright stationary bicycle is designed to mimic an ordinary bicycle in terms of the riding position, and therefore the crank is positioned vertically under the saddle. They work by using one of two types of resistance – magnetic or a belt – to slow down the steering wheel (which can be in the front or rear), which you feed through the pedals. Belts are more basic and are often found in bikes used in spinning lessons. Magnetic resistance bikes require a connection to the mains, and when you increase the resistance through the electrical panel on the handlebars, the amount of electricity passing through the magnet increases, increasing the resistance applied to the flywheel, which makes pedaling harder, which means you need to increase your effort and burn more calories.
Recumbent exercise bikes, on the other hand, are designed for users to pedal in a more reclined rather than upright position – the word recumbent is defined as lying down or leaning back so that you are almost lying down. Most recumbent bikes feature a more traditional “seat” rather than a saddle, with a wide base and backrest. You stretch your legs out in front of you to reach the pedals, as the crank is usually horizontally aligned with the seat. Recumbent bikes can provide a quieter workout with less impact on the lower body, and many users can read or watch TV while using the bike.
Recumbent vs Stationary Bikes: Which Muscles Do They Work?
Both of these styles of exercise bikes provide a low impact form of fitness as cycling does not put pressure on your hips, knees and ankles, especially compared to higher impact sports such as running.
Cycling works the gluteal muscles, rectus femoris, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius and soleus muscles in the lower leg. On top of that, the upright bike in particular works the abdominal muscles as you work to keep your body upright, and the back muscles to maintain a stable posture while riding.
a International Journal of Sports Physiotherapy A study of electromyography while pedaling on upright and recumbent bikes found that during moderate exercise, the recumbent bike worked two harder muscles – the semi-tendon in the hamstrings and the tibialis anterior, located along the tibia, while the femoral rectus muscle (which is part of the quadriceps group) was put to a greater workload on the upright bike.
And while low-impact exercise is considered positive, it should be borne in mind that a study conducted in the BMJ Open Sports and exercise medicine found that professional cyclists have lower bone mineral density (which may indicate a higher risk of developing osteoporosis) than those who exercise regularly but do not cycle. This suggests that you should not only be cycling exclusively, but rather participating in other forms of exercise in order to strengthen your bones.
Recumbent bikes vs stationary bikes: who are these bikes suitable for?
When it comes to recumbent versus stationary bikes, both types of bikes, if used regularly, build mobility and muscle strength, strengthen bones, increase cardiovascular fitness, lung capacity, and burn calories. . It may also be beneficial for mental health – in this 2009 to study in neuropsychobiology, researchers have found that exercise keeps the brain functioning properly by affecting the release of neurotransmitters and altering cerebral blood flow.
Upright stationary bikes are suitable for almost anyone looking to get in shape or improve their fitness, whether they are new to cycling or are a regular two-wheeler. There is such a variety of exercise bikes that no matter what level you are in and what type of workout you’re looking for, you’ll find something to suit your needs.
Avid cyclists will find premium upright bikes that aim to replicate the feeling of riding a bike on the road by designing their ergonomics to mimic road bikes and higher resistance levels that can easily be increased or decreased as you ride. train indoors.
Recumbent bikes, on the other hand, put less strain on joints and muscles than upright bikes due to the fact that you’re in a reclined position, making them ideal for anyone recovering from a lower limb injury. or suffering from back problems. They are also perfect for wheelchair users and those who have mobility issues due to the seat’s proximity to the floor, making it easy to get in and out of the machine. Recumbent bikes are also popular with older people looking to stay mobile and exercise regularly rather than burning a ton of calories. It should be borne in mind that although recumbent bikes work your lower body, they have no effect on your upper body because your core is supported by the chair.