Biking is always considered a first choice for many fitness enthusiasts. While there is a lot of debate about whether to go indoor or outdoor biking, another dilemma would be to choose from the three exercise bikes: upright, recumbent or spin bike, should you choose an indoor setup.
All three are great for fitness which is why you need to trim down your choice and understand the exercise bike pros and cons.
A 2019 study was made by Manuel Chavarrias, Jorge Carlos-Vivas, Daniel Collado-Mateo, and Jorge Pérez-Gómez from the University of Extremadura and the Catholic University of Murcia.
They found out that 3 months of indoor cycling is effective in improving aerobic capacity, blood pressure was improved in 6 months, and combined with the right diet, increased HDL and reduced LDL, triglyceride and total cholesterol.
Read more and let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of each bike.
Upright vs Recumbent vs Spin Comparison Table
|Ease of Use
|Back, Calves, Core, Erector spinae, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads
|Calves, Core, Glutes, Hamstrings, Quads, Shins
|Biceps, Calves, Core, Forearms, Glutes, Hamstrings, Hips, Quads, Shoulders, Thighs, Triceps
1. Utilise less space in your home gym.
Compared to a treadmill or recumbent bike, upright bikes just take up a small space in any corner of your home yet, they carry several features such as a comfortable seat, heart rate monitoring and a comfortable seat. Thus you can save space and work out efficiently at the same time.
2. They take up the lowest footprint.
Typically, upright bikes have a footprint of 100-127cm (40-50 inches) in length and 50-63 cm (20-25 inches) in width. The footprint is the amount of space an object takes up on the floor. This makes them a good option for fitness buffs who have limited space in their homes.
3. Positions the body like that of cycling with an outdoor bike.
Upright bikes position the body in a similar way to that of cycling with an outdoor bike. The rider sits upright with their back supported by the seat, and their arms are extended in front of them on the handlebars.
This position allows for a more natural and comfortable ride, and it also helps to engage the core muscles more than other types of exercise bikes.
4. Increase muscle engagement in your core and upper body.
Upright bikes increase muscle engagement in your core and upper body because of the way they position your body. When you sit upright on an upright bike, your core muscles have to work harder to stabilise your body.
Moreover, the handlebars on an upright bike are typically higher than those on a recumbent bike, which means you have to use your upper body muscles more to pedal. As a result, upright bikes can be a great way to tone your core and upper body muscles.
5. More cushioned seat than a classic cycle bike.
Upright bikes have more cushioned seats than classic cycle bikes because they are designed for comfort. The seats on upright bikes are typically wider and have more padding than the seats on classic cycle bikes.
This makes them more comfortable to sit on for long periods. Furthermore, the handlebars on upright bikes are typically higher than those on classic cycle bikes, which puts less weight on your wrists and hands.
6. The handlebars are higher and closer to the user so you don’t need to lean forward to reach the handlebars.
Upright bikes are higher and closer to the user than classic cycle bikes, which means you don’t need to lean forward to reach the handlebars.
This makes them more comfortable to ride for long periods, as you don’t have to put as much weight on your wrists and hands. Hence, the upright position is more natural in position which enables the user, improved posture.
7. More ideal for high-intensity workouts.
Upright bikes are ideal for high-intensity workouts because they allow you to generate more power than other kinds of exercise bikes. This is because the upright position allows you to use your core muscles more effectively.
Typically, upright bikes have a wider range of resistance levels, which allows you to customise your workout according to your fitness level.
1. Electric variants can be expensive.
Electric variants of upright bikes can be expensive because they have some features that make them more complex and costly to manufacture than traditional upright bikes.
These features include a motor, battery and electronic components such as a controller display. Electric upright bikes can be a great way to get a workout, but they are not always the most affordable option.
2. Lacks versatility.
Upright bikes lack versatility because they are designed for a specific type of workout. They are not as adjustable as other types of exercise bikes, such as recumbent bikes or spin bikes.
This means that they may not be suitable for everyone. For example, upright bikes may not be suitable for people with back pain or limited mobility. They may also not suit people who opt for a variety of workouts, such as interval training or HIIT.
3. Heavy in terms of weight.
Upright bikes are heavy because they are made with sturdy materials that can withstand the force of a person pedalling. They also have some components that add to their weight, such as a flywheel, a resistance mechanism, and a console.
4. Not aerodynamic.
Upright bikes are not aerodynamic because of their design. The upright position exposes more of the body to the wind, which creates more drag. Also, the handlebars and the seat are not in a streamlined position, which also creates more drag.
The lack of aerodynamics can make it more difficult to ride an upright bike at high speeds. It can also make it more difficult to maintain a consistent speed, as the user has to work harder to overcome the drag.
An upright bike is a good choice for an exercise bike if you are focused on basic cycling like biking outdoors. The upright position allows to you maneuver a bit of movements that will strengthen your core region.
It may not be as versatile as other exercise bikes but affordability is sure if budget is a main concern. An upright bike is a good option if you are a fitness beginner. Visit our list of the best exercise bikes in Australia to pick one for yourself.
1. Facilitates low-impact cardiovascular workout.
Recumbent bikes are a great way to get a low-impact cardiovascular workout. They are easy on the joints, making them a good option for people with arthritis or other joint pain. This is because you are seated while working out.
Your upper body weight is placed on your hips, not on your knees and ankles. Recumbent bikes are a great way to burn calories and further improve cardiovascular health.
2. Wide, cushioned seat for comfort.
A recumbent bike features a wide cushioned seat for comfort. This is because the rider is in a reclined position, which takes the pressure off the back and neck.
The wide seat also helps to distribute weight evenly, preventing pain and discomfort. The width also makes it easier to ride for longer periods without pain.
The cushioning on the seat can be made of a variety of materials, such as foam or gel, to provide additional comfort.
3. Easy on the lower back.
Recumbent bikes are easier on the lower back than upright bikes because they allow for a more relaxed posture. The seat is larger and reclined, which takes the pressure off the spine and allows for better circulation.
The backrest also provides support, which can be helpful for people with back pain. Recumbent bikes are also lower to the ground, which makes it easier to get on and off.
4. Reclined position makes it easy on the hips.
Recumbent bikes are designed with a reclined seat position that takes the pressure off the hips and lower back. This is because the rider’s weight is distributed more evenly over the body, and there is less stress on the joints.
The reclined position allows for a more natural range of motion in the hips, which can help to prevent pain. For people with hip pain, a recumbent bike can be a great way to get exercise without putting too much stress on the joints.
1. Relatively more expensive than a regular bike.
Recumbent bikes come at a premium due to the numerous components and materials used to manufacture them. The seats are designed for comfort with soft and thick cushioning and an adjustable backrest.
2. Heavier in weight than regular bikes.
Recumbent bikes are huge machines. Their size and all the extra components amount to considerable heft. Bigger, more advanced displays, sound systems and added support to keep the equipment in place as you work out translate to heavyweight.
3. May not fully engage the core muscles.
Recumbent bikes are a great way to get a cardio workout, but they may not fully engage the core muscles. This is because the backrest on a recumbent bike provides support, so you don’t have to use your core muscles to hold yourself upright.
4. Allows only one specific position.
Recumbent bikes are designed to be ridden in a reclined position, with the rider’s back supported by a padded backrest.
However, the reclined position also means that recumbent bikes only allow for one specific riding position. This can be a drawback for some riders, who may prefer to be able to change their position while riding.
Recumbent bikes are a great option for people who want to get a good workout without placing too much strain on their joints. They provide good support while working out.
They’re also more comfortable than upright bikes, making them a good choice for people with back pain or a limited range of motion.
1. Closest/Similar to outdoor cycling.
The spin bike is the exercise bike that is closest to outdoor cycling, especially one with a heavy flywheel. The flywheel provides resistance that simulates the feeling of riding a bike against the wind or up a hill.
Spin bikes with heavy flywheels also tend to be more durable and stable, which is important for high-intensity workouts. If you are looking for an exercise bike that will give you an intense workout which is similar to outdoor cycling, then a bike with a heavy flywheel is a good option.
2. Allows upper body exercise.
Spin bikes can be a great way to get a full-body workout, including your upper body. If you’re looking for a challenging and effective way to tone your upper body, here are some of the ways:
- Using the handlebars: When you’re riding a spin bike, you can use the handlebars to support your upper body weight and engage your upper body muscles. This can help to strengthen your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
- Using resistance bands: Some spin bikes come with resistance bands that you can attach to the handlebars. These bands can be used to add resistance to your upper body exercises, making them more challenging.
- Doing upper body exercises during rest periods: When you’re taking a rest period during a spin class, you can use this time to do some upper body exercises. This is a great way to get a full-body workout in a short amount of time.
3. Full-body workout experience.
Spin bikes are a great way to get a full-body workout. They work your legs, glutes, core, and arms. The resistance on the bike can be adjusted to make the workout more or less challenging.
Spin bikes can help you burn a significant number of calories, which can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. They can help you build muscle in your legs, glutes, core, and arms.
These fitness machines can also help improve your cardiovascular health by increasing your heart rate and endurance. They can also help reduce stress by releasing endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects.
4. Versatile to any skill level from beginner to advance, skinny to overweight, out of shape.
Spin bikes are great for any type of user because they provide a full-body workout that is low-impact and easy on the joints. They are also a great way to burn calories and improve cardiovascular health.
They can be used by people of all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced athletes. And it doesn’t matter if you’re overweight, skinny or simply haven’t been working out lately. Spin bikes are also a great option for people who want to work out at home or the gym.
1. Improper form can lead to injury.
It is important to make sure that your bike is properly adjusted and that you are using good form. Here are some tips for good form:
- Sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed.
- Keep your core engaged throughout the workout.
- Don’t grip the handlebars too tightly.
- Keep your wrists in a neutral position.
Here are some of the injuries that can be caused by improper form on a spin bike:
- Knee pain: This is the most common injury associated with spin biking. It can be caused by riding with the knees too far forward or back, or by not engaging the core muscles.
- Back pain: This can be caused by poor posture, such as slouching or leaning too far forward.
- Shoulder pain: This can be caused by gripping the handlebars too tightly or by not keeping the shoulders relaxed.
- Wrist pain: This can be caused by gripping the handlebars too tightly or by not keeping the wrists in a neutral position.
If you experience any pain while spin biking, stop immediately and consult with a doctor or physical therapist.
Spin bikes are a great option for those who want a full-body workout. They allow for a variety of body positions, which helps to work the core and upper body as well as the legs. This makes them a more versatile option than other exercise bikes.
In addition to the cardiovascular benefits of cycling, spin bikes can also help to improve strength, flexibility, and coordination. They are a great way to burn calories and lose weight, and they can also help to improve overall fitness.
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