Are you considering spicing up your workout, or simply diversifying the sessions with a different exercise?
Why not try a heavy duty recumbent bike then?
I know, you’ve probably tried an upright bike and there’s a good chance you didn’t love it. So you’re not convinced a recumbent bike is any better or will bring the slightest bit of difference into your workout.
I have used this workout equipment, and I can tell you, it’s worth the time and effort.
Seriously, are recumbent bikes good? Trust me, you have to try one to believe it, you just need to use it right, be ready to work hard, and don’t expect results overnight.
In this post, I have shared all you need to get started on the right foot and answered those questions that might have been haunting you.
Let’s get it on!
Recumbent bikes vs. Upright bikes
For most beginners, a recumbent bike is just as good as an upright one, and vice versa. After all, both are bikes and should target the same muscles. Before diving any deeper into recumbent bikes, let me set things straight here.
Think of a recumbent bike as a more laid-back version of the upright style of exercise bike. It is essentially just an exercise bike with a supporting back pad. This back support is designed to help you exercise in a more comfortable relaxed seating position.
Sure, there are several similarities between the two. First, they both work the same muscle groups. Secondly, they have less impact on your joints compared to other cardio equipment such as treadmills.
That said, there’s also a fair share of differences that distinguish the two;
- The sitting position is one of the prominent differences; an upright bike is just that, you sit upright with no back support whatsoever. A recumbent bike, on the other hand, comes with back support, allowing you to enjoy a comfortable reclined sitting position. Take a look the recumbent bikes listed in this article. These are all recumbent exercise bikes.
- Pedal position is the other easily noticeable disparity, with the upright bike having pedals under the seat, while a recumbent one has the pedals further to the front of your bike.
- The cardio exercise on each sets these two apart, with the upright bikes offering more of a whole-body exercise, while recumbent bikes focus more on the lower body.
- Seat size also differs, as recumbent bikes feature a larger seat than upright bikes. And while at it, it’s worth mentioning that a recumbent bike offers full back support (which an upright bike lacks) with less tension and fatigue on muscles.
Are recumbent exercise bikes good for weight loss?
The answer is a resounding yes! However, keep in mind that you have to be ready to put in the work and push hard.
Let’s face it, in any workout, the calorie burn depends on the intensity of your sessions and the duration of each workout.
So whether you go with a recumbent style, an upright one, or any even a heavy duty spin bike workout, it’s what you put into it that determines how effective your calorie burn efforts can turn out to be.
Can you get a good workout with a recumbent bike?
Recumbent bikes are pretty much everything an upright bike is, with the few differences we’ve highlighted above.
As aforementioned, you work the same muscles groups with both bikes.
Now, that’s the similarity. The difference is, you will be working these muscles differently, making recumbent bikes easier on your joints and body. Granted, the workout isn’t going to be effortless, but a recumbent gives you a smooth exercise while still giving you the results you need.
Besides, with the comfort offered by recumbent bikes, you can pedal away for longer, with great health benefits both physically and mentally.
Are recumbent bikes effective?
Riding a recumbent bike might sound like an easy, playful excuse for a workout. Well, to be honest with you, it’s anything but.
Taken seriously, a recumbent bike will give you one heck of a serious cardio workout, enough to break a sweat. With intense recumbent bike sessions, you can achieve the following among other benefits.
If you go hard enough on your sessions, you will achieve a great aerobic workout. Studies have shown this to lead to a healthier heart, better lung capacity, and reduced high blood pressure in the long run. you could also easily relieve stress and lighten up your mood.
Better range of motion
Recumbent bikes are also an excellent way to improve your flexibility, which enables you to move around freely and comes in very handy at other workouts as well.
A study has shown that the use of a stationary bike proved great at improving individuals’ range of motion overheat packs or even whirlpool treatments.
How do recumbent bikes do this? It’s quite simple really, these bikes increase blood circulation, leading to more body tissue elasticity for easy stretching of your body.
What muscles do recumbent bikes work?
Besides the cardio and range of motion, a recumbent bike workout will also help you work different muscles in your body for a stronger, built stature. These include the following;
- Shin’s muscle
- Calf muscles
Using a bike for about 8 weeks has been shown to improve muscle strength in older women, as well as enhancing their power and functional abilities.
Recumbent bike benefits
From comfort to safety, ease of use, and a whole lot more, recumbent bikes offer you a laundry list of awesome benefits that you won’t want to miss once you get rolling.
Thanks to their fullback support and the laid-back sitting position, recumbent bikes allow you to multitask as you pedal away. you could do some light upper body exercises if you want to.
But the cool thing about this design is that it makes it possible to stay on your bike for longer and make the most of your session.
Also worth mentioning is the larger seat design, which is comfier and keeps “saddle soreness” (which happens often when using bikes with smaller seats) at a minimum.
Lower center of gravity
These bikes are closer to the ground, thus lowering the COG, which is hands down a great plus for users who may have stability or balance issues. This allows users to enjoy longer, worry-free workouts on their bikes.
The recline position
This one’s overkill when it comes to comfort, with the reclined position easing the strain on your back, hips, and knees. This makes recumbent bikes easier to use, allowing you to pedal for longer periods without getting worn out or experiencing soreness thereafter.
Comfort and performance aren’t all there is to these bikes, you also get other extras as customizable features like resistance and speed. The ability to set the intensity of your workout as needed goes a long way to give you the workout you need out of your bike.
Great for beginners
The fact that recumbent bikes are easy on the joints makes them ideal for beginners and individuals making their way back to exercising after an injury. Besides, the reclined design makes it perfect for users with back injuries. It could work great for those with some cardiac challenges too.
Best Recumbent Bikes
A good recumbent bike is worth its weight in gold, but unfortunately, there’s a fair number of cheap knock-offs out there that could easily spoil the fun for you. Here are some of the best picks available for you right now on the market.
Best Overall But More Expensive: SCHWINN 270 Recumbent Bike
This carbon steel SCHWINN machine might cost you slightly more than most options in its tier, but trust me, it’s worth every single cent.
With its stout frame and robust construction, it can support up to 136 kilos, making it strong enough even for slightly overweight users.
Its friction resistance mechanism doesn’t disappoint, especially considering that you have up to 25 resistance levels to customize to match your exercise needs.
What’s more, the high inertia drive system with a weighted flywheel offers easy start-up and a smooth consistent workout.
It also boasts awesome Bluetooth connectivity, which allows it to sync nicely with the Schwinn Trainer App where you can track your workout progress.
It works great with up to 29 programs and further syncs with a free RideSocial App, where you can ride in a virtual world alongside others.
You can power it easily by simply plugging it into any standard electrical outlet with 110V-120V.
Other great features include the DualTrack LCD, in-console speakers, an MP3 input port, as well as a USB media charging function for your devices. Above all, you also have an adjustable fan for a cooling breeze as you pedal away.
What’s not so cool
It can be a tad hefty at up to 86.6 pounds
Cheaper alternative: Nautilus Recumbent Bike Series
If you want a great recumbent bike that comes slightly on the cheap, then go with this Nautilus bike. The price might be lighter, but the construction isn’t.
That becomes clear with the first glance at this bike’s 300-pound capacity, which makes it a great choice for every member of the family.
Then there’s the wide range of resistance levels, with up to 25 of them to go on, you can count on this bike to give you the workout you need whether you are just starting or a seasoned fitness maestro.
Connectivity shouldn’t a problem, thanks to the Bluetooth function in this bike that allows you to set, track or monitor your progress using an app.
The display is also top-notch, with a DualTrack blue backlit LCD that you can use with up to 29 customizable programs for an over-the-bar workout experience.
Its padded seat and a sliding seat rail go the distance to offer the much-needed comfort during your workout, allowing you to stay on the bike for longer, fun workout sessions.
What’s not so cool
It’s a bit bulky at 66” x 27” by 13” and weighing in at a whopping 105 pounds
Best Bang For The Buck Bike: Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike
I own this bike, and I can tell you for real, for the price, it’s a complete steal. It might not have all the exaggerated bells and whistles you’ll find with most options out there, but if you want a basic recumbent bike that stands out, then this is it.
The magnetic resistance mechanism is flat out awesome as far as performance goes, not to mention how whisper-quiet it is when in use. And although it has only 8 resistance levels, it still gives me a solid workout to break a sweat.
I’m betting the 14-gauge steel tubing construction with a powder-coated finish will last me through endless workout sessions. It also sports a step-through design that makes mobility super easy for me during use, and with the height at just 37.5”, it’s a snap to mount and dismount for me.
An easy-to-read ultra-functional display delivers a crisp-clear display for tracking my workout stats like distance, speed, time, calories burned, and much more.
As far as comfort goes, you can’t miss the comfy padded seat featuring an ergonomic saddle with high-density foam for the perfect butt support. Also on board are contoured foam-covered handles, which offer my arms an extra bit of support so I can maintain a proper form when working out.
I love the counterbalanced pedals, thanks to their maximal foot support and outstanding control. But the coolest part is the adjustable foot straps that I find very helpful when I need that snug fit for my feet (especially after my girlfriend has had a go on the bike and jumbled things up a smidge).
What’s not so cool
The only thing Marcy could have done better is to have more resistance levels on this great bike
The recap; Is a recumbent bike worth it?
Absolutely! With all honesty, go right ahead and get yourself a recumbent and you will be glad you did. It took me almost 3 months to try one out, and I can’t believe I waited so long.
If you are considering changing things up a bit in your gym, recovering from an injury, in a cramped apartment with little space to go on, or you just want a workout that is easy on your body, then get yourself a recumbent bike.