Recumbent Vs Upright Exercise Bikes – Which One Is Better For Workout

If you are planning to buy a home workout equipment, you might be torn between a recumbent exercise bike and an upright exercise bike. Since you have some goals to achieve, you need to ask yourself some questions like which bike is easy on your joints, which one will help you achieve your goals faster among others.

Both bikes are great in your fitness journey. It is essential to know the similarities and the differences between these bikes so that you can choose the best option for you. This guide will help you learn more about these two bikes in details.

What Is A Recumbent Exercise Bike?

This is a type of bike that puts you in a laid-back reclining position when exercising. This bike is common among many fitness enthusiasts because it has an ergonomic design. It also distributes your weight perfectly over a large area to enhance comfort.

The bike features a chair-like seat that gives you great support on your back. A recumbent exercise bike keeps your hands free, and the pedals are located in front of the seat to give you a reclining position. Here are some benefits of using a recumbent exercise bike.

  • They are easier on your lumbar spine
  • The bikes are gentle on your joints
  • Have a larger seat for comfort
  • They are safe because you don't have to stand on pedals
  • Low impact bikes and great for people suffering from neurological conditions

What Is An Upright Exercise Bike?

These are bikes that resemble normal road bikes. Therefore, you need to sit in an upright position holding the handlebars when exercising. In that position, it is easy to vary your workouts for the muscles and legs.

As compared to a recumbent exercise bike, an upright exercise bike takes less space, and they are also less expensive. The following are the benefits of using an upright exercise bike.

  • They provide more consistent workouts
  • The bikes work your abdominal muscles
  • Great for upper body arm workouts
  • Have a small footprint, so they don't occupy too much space

Comparison Between Recumbent And Upright Exercise Bike

Recumbent exercise bikes and upright exercise bikes are similar in various aspects. First, they are all stationary bikes that are ideal for indoor use. Both bikes also provide low impact cardio workouts, but the results and intensity vary. On top of that, the two machines engage the lower core muscles because they rely on your legs energy.

The two bikes also vary in various aspects. Recumbent exercise bikes provide a reclined body workout position while upright exercise bikes give you a straight body workout position. Recumbent exercise bikes also have a larger seat, and the pedals are in front of your bike. In upright exercise bikes, the seat is smaller, and the pedals are under your body.

Lastly, recumbent exercise bikes are stable, large, comfortable and expensive. For upright exercise bikes, they are less stable, space-saving, less forgiving and come at an affordable price.

Which Muscle Groups Do They Work Out?

The two bikes majorly focus on your lower body. They are great for glutes, quads, hamstrings and flexors.

Upper Muscles- Upright exercise bikes do not support your torso, which can lead to pain, but they engage the upper body muscles. They promote a stiff posture, abs toning, and strengthening core muscles and boost lower back. Upright exercise bikes are great as compared to recumbent exercise bikes they that are flexible, and you can stand on the pedals.

Glutes and hamstrings- Recumbent exercise bikes target the lower body, and they engage hamstrings as compared to upright exercise bikes. They allow you to stretch the legs horizontally as compared to vertically in upright exercise bikes.

Weight Loss:

Recumbent exercise bikes burn less calories as compared to upright exercise bikes. So, if you want to achieve weight loss goals, choose an upright exercise bike. But if you want to work out longer and comfortable, a recumbent exercise bike is a great choice.


Upright exercise bikes are compact and small as compared to upright exercise bikes. So, they are great if you want a space-saving bike. Upright exercise bikes are also foldable more as compared to recumbent exercise bikes. When it comes to weight, recumbent exercise bikes are heavier, sturdy and can support a higher weight.

Back Pain And Joint Pain:

Upright exercise bike has pedals located below the body. Therefore, your muscles work against the gravity, and this exerts pressure on your joints. In recumbent exercise bikes, the pedals are in front, so your legs are in a parallel dimension with the gravity. So, you can work out without causing too much stress on your joints.

When it comes to back pain, recumbent exercise bikes have a comfy seat and features a backrest. Some models also feature padding and more cushioning on the back for comfort. In upright exercise bikes, you lean forward, and this puts more pressure on the spinal cord.

Ease Of Use:

When it comes to ease of use, recumbent exercise bikes are easy to use as compared to upright exercise bikes. They are great for starters because assembling and disassembling the bike is easy. Recumbent exercise bikes are also safe to use since there are no chances of tripping. Additionally, they are stable and easier to multitask as compared to upright exercise bikes.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Q: Which is better upright exercise bike or recumbent exercise bike?

A: A recumbent exercise bike is gentle on your lower back because of the ergonomic seating position. On the other hand, an upright exercise bike gives you a better spinal posture.

Q: Which burns more calories recumbent exercise bike or upright exercise bike?

A: Upright exercise bikes are more engaging as compared to recumbent exercise bikes. The bikes engage more muscles, and they provide full-body workouts. Therefore, you can burn more calories on an upright exercise bike as compared to a recumbent exercise bike.

Q: What is the basic difference between an upright exercise bike and a recumbent exercise bike?

A: An upright exercise bike features pedals that are below your center of gravity. You also lean over the handlebars in an upright exercise bike. Recumbent exercise bikes give you a natural seating position, and the pedals are in front, which gives you a comfortable workout position. 

Q: Are recumbent exercise bikes as good as upright exercise bikes?

A: Yes, they are. Many people love recumbent exercise bikes because they offer effective workouts to people of all ability levels. They also provide low impact and safe body workouts.


Choosing between a recumbent exercise bike and an upright exercise bike comes down to your personal preference. If you want to enjoy comfortable workouts, a recumbent exercise bike can be great because it is easy on your lower back. An upright exercise bike is great if you want to a better spinal posture. However, they have a small seat which can be uncomfortable as compared to a recumbent exercise bike. I hope after checking the above similarities and differences, it will be easy to choose the right bike that is better for your workouts.

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