When it comes to purchasing a stationary bike for your home gym, you’re going to find that there are actually two main bike styles. One is the upright exercise bike and the other is the recumbent bike. Believe it or not, each bike has its own set of advantages.
What’s the Difference?
The main differences between an upright bike and a recumbent bike occur in the way the user is seated on the bike. An upright cyclist sits above the main frame of the bike, while a recumbent rider is positioned lower into the frame. An upright bike more closely mimics a road bike, with a high center of gravity, an upright position, and the rider leaning slightly forward in order to ride.
On a recumbent bike, the rider has a lower center of gravity, which makes the entire experience feel more stable. The rider leans back slightly and can allow his arms to naturally hang at his sides, which reduces stress on the joints and muscles in the arms, wrists, and hands. Riders with neck and shoulder injuries like the recumbent bike because the reclined position avoids forcing them to hold their head up or let it fall forward – either of which can be very uncomfortable. Those with lower back issues tend to like the added support as well.
The Benefits of the Recumbent Bike
If you’re not a road cyclist and never need to train for that type of body positioning and endurance, you’ll very likely find the recumbent bike to be a better fit for your home. The structure of the bike allows you to maintain a more natural and ergonomic position, giving you the chance to work into a cardiovascular zone with less stress on your body and with a reduced level of general fatigue.
For those with joint injuries, especially those recovering from knee injuries or surgeries, using a recumbent bike will allow for a comfortable experience while rehabbing and improving the range of motion of the joint.
Unlike the experience on the upright bike, those on a recumbent bike also get to work out and strengthen their gluteal muscles more effectively.
There are a lot of people who believe an upright bike offers a more intense overall workout. At the end of the day, you can theoretically built up the same stamina, rehab an injury, or work to an increased level of intensity on either type of bike. It’s really up to you to decide how you’ll use it. But in terms of function and comfort? The recumbent bike is definitely a winner!