Sunday, 24 September 2023
Health Sports

Which Burns More Calories Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike?

Training should be a part of everyone’s routine, if not daily, at least weekly. Whenever you have some spare time, you should try to exercise as much as you can because this will not only keep you in good shape but will also help you stay healthier and improve the quality of your living. Riding a bike is a common form of exercise, and many people enjoy a bike ride in the park, but what if you don’t know how to ride a bike or you don’t have the time for that? This is where the physical training bikes come into play and you have two main types to pick from.

Both types are stationary bikes and they are divided into two sections. A very popular choice that resembles traditional bike riding very well is the upright bike, and the second one that is more similar to rowing is the recumbent bike. Before spending your money on a model, you should analyze some upright and recumbent bike reviews and learn more about their construction, the workout possibilities they offer, and the top deals on the market. In what concerns their welfares and training results, we will tell you more in the following lines.

Upright cycling and its health benefits

If you choose this model, you will obtain very consistent training that is comparable to outdoor cycling. Your body will stay in an upright position, you will get a grip on the handles while slightly hunching over the front, and you will use the legs to rotate the pedals, so the workout will be complete. It requires higher force and the level of exertion will be increased since it provides an intense cardio workout that shows excellent improvements in the circulatory system.

To sustain you in an upright position, these bikes involve the abdominal muscles to support the entire weight. Hence, you will manage to burn some visceral fat and obtain that perfect six-pack you were dreaming about.

The upright posture also burdens the arm muscles that need to be fortified and you will manage to work all your arm muscles, including the shoulders, in only one set of exercises.

Recumbent cycling and its welfares

With this type, you will enjoy a more relaxed exercise. Since you will be sitting in a comfy chair, the pressure on the inferior back area and the neck will be significantly reduced. The spinel posture is improved as you won’t have to hunch over to reach the handles.

As for the muscles it involves, know that this type is more appropriate for working on the inferior body area. The pedaling will engage your hamstrings, glutes, calves, quads, and tibialis anterior and posterior muscles.

If you want to recover after a trauma or you suffer from a medical condition that doesn’t allow you to overexert your body, this is the type to go for. It’s the optimal alternative for people with neurological illnesses who have limited mobility and should obtain low-effort body training.

People who experience articulation pain and suffer from arthritis are also more advantaged by this type of gym gear. The reclined posture and the limited amount of strength required have a beneficial impact on the joints and bones.

What makes them different?

Since both models are bikes, they involve rotating the pedals using your legs, thus, the most engaged body area will be the lower area. Still, they are very different in what involves the muscles involved in the motions and the results brought by the exercise.

  • With the recumbent model, the body sits in a wide chair, with a generous backrest that takes out most of the stress while pedaling. The upright model has a narrow seat and you must maintain the core upright by using your upper area muscles, so the effort is significantly greater.
  • When pedaling a reclining bike, your arms are maintained relaxed beside your body, whereas the upright requires you to sit hunched over, with the neck and back slightly bent. Therefore, you might experience more soreness and tiredness after riding an upright type.
  • The pedals’ position is also different in the two models. The recumbent ones have the pedals located at the front, so your legs will face forward while exercising. The upright has the pedals located underneath the saddle, just like a regular bike.

The risk of injury

While it’s good to know how you can take advantage of certain gym gear, it’s also important to know which one can pose a risk to your health and safety. A bike that could cause an injury can do more harm than good, and it’s best to avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation.

With the upright model, the main concern is related to muscle soreness caused by the narrow saddle and the hunched back. The whole body weight will come down on the tailbones, so your back and posture are more prone to suffer. The recumbent model, on the other hand, offers a hefty chair with a wide and soft rest that enables you to transfer the weight and to adjust your center of gravity so that you won’t put so much pressure on the lower back muscles. Therefore, the risk of back pain and injury is much smaller with the recumbent type.

Repeated riding sessions could lead to continuous back pain that could lead to more serious health problems, so you might want to alternate the upright riding with other types of workouts that protect your back muscles.

Another serious concern is related to the knees and ankles joints since these two are the ones involved in spinning the pedals. The reclining bike is gentler on the articulations because the force required and the tension involved are reduced. With the standing bike, you will practically stand up on the pedals, so the compression on your ankles and knees is considerably increased. Also, the quad muscles are more challenged in the movement, so you will be at risk of seriously injuring your knee cap.

In case you have suffered an injury in the past, it’s best to opt for a bike that can help you not only avoid further injury but also recover from a past one. In posttraumatic training, the recumbent bike is more recommended as it involves gentler movements. People with mobility impairments or who are recovering after an accident will feel more at ease riding a recumbent bike.

The number of calories consumed

Although the health welfares are highly significant, the main purpose of a training session is to lose weight and burn some unwanted calories. As with any gym equipment, these bikes also bring their contribution to eliminating fat and increasing muscle mass, which results in losing weight and maintaining a pleasant figure.

Both models provide pre-set programs with specific resistance levels, which refers to the amount of strength required to move the pedals. It’s said that the upper the resistance level, the more intense the exercise, which results in more calories consumed.

Pedaling a standing bike is more challenging and involves a higher physical effort, so the result will be more calories consumed. The more intense the exertion, the more muscles involved, and the faster the calories burning process. People who want to train hard will overlook the certain discomfort of this bike and will include it in their workout sessions. Getting tired, intense sweating, and eventually, muscle soreness, are signs that you have reached your purpose and you have burned a significant quantity of calories during your workout.

While you will be tempted to state that the upright bike is more challenging so the exertion of the workout will be increased, we will have to argue with that. Overexertion and fatigue lead to shorter workout sessions, so the overall impact on the calories burned will be lower. The more comfortable you feel on a bike, the more time you will spend riding it, thus, the more calories you will burn. This is why many people prefer the recumbent type when they want to increase the number of calories consumed while training. The feeling of comfort pushes them forward so they extend the training sessions to obtain maximum weight loss results.


In terms of calorie burn, we could say that both types provide similar results. You can opt for either one of the two bikes and you will benefit from its efficiency in losing some pounds or staying fit. The difference will be noticeable after several training hours, as you will manage to create a routine.

Whether you opt for the more exerting upright bike that provides intense workouts or you will choose the more comfortable recumbent bike that is milder in use, the result will rest on the amount of time you spend pedaling and the strength of the program.