Elliptical vs. Stationary Bikes: Which Is the Better Cardio Workout Machines?

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The elliptical and stationary bikes are popular fitness equipment at home and commercial gyms. Whether you want to choose a suitable cardio machine at the gym or place a piece of new equipment in your home gym, you can always consider these options.

Both elliptical and stationary bikes help you achieve your desired fitness goal in many ways. Trainer Taylor Rae Almonte, CPT, and the founder of the anti-racist program (called ACTIV-ISM), specify that both stationary bikes and ellipticals are beneficial for cardio as you get to decide the cadence and speed.

Also, these workout machines adapt to your comfort level, unlike treadmills, where you adapt to the factors like speed and rhythm.

Additionally, the best part of such cardio machines is that you can go ahead to adjust the resistance on stationary bikes and the elliptical to amp up your obstacle course.

However, the elliptical and stationary bikes do not offer the same fitness benefits, so you need to make your pick quite wisely.

Your choice also hugely depends on your preferences and fitness goals as well. So, if you plan to cardio train, there are a few tips and some information on elliptical and stationary bikes that you need to know.

Benefits of Using Elliptical Machines

Working out on the elliptical machine combines stair climbing and cross country skiing. Hence, if you love any of them, then this can be a fun workout that you can try.

Additionally, Almonte explains that these machine workouts are low impact as your feet don’t leave the pedals.

They are considered to be less stressful on your joints. Besides, if you focus your core and pump your arms while moving the handles, the elliptical machine can provide you with a full-body workout, she further adds.

The most impact you will feel are your muscles, then quads, glutes, hamstrings, deltoids, and triceps, which are part of your shoulder and the top of your arms. Do you want to know the result of a full-body workout?

Then, according to Harvard Medical School Estimates, you can easily burn between 270 to 400 calories in just 30 minutes of your elliptical workout.

These figures were concluded after calculating the average burn for a 125-pound, 155 pounds, and 185-pound person.

Disadvantages of Using Elliptical Machine

Though elliptical machine workouts may look fun and exciting, the movement pattern is not similar to hardcore exercises. Also, the elliptical machine isn’t considered real-world equipment, which is why they aren’t suitable for training of any kind, specifies Almonte.

Since elliptical machines do not have a regular pattern, you won’t be a good runner or improve your ability to run or jog for longer periods. If you wish to become a good runner, the treadmill is more than ideal for your needs.

One of the most important reasons Almonte does not recommend the elliptical for cardio is that people especially find it very simple to zone out on them.

If you are seriously looking to notch your fitness levels or improve your health, elliptical machines aren’t the perfect choice. However, if you wish to simply get a break and try something new, you can go ahead with the same.

Stationary Bike Pros

Similar to elliptical machines, stationary bikes are less stressful on your joints and are low-impact exercise for cardio, according to Almonte.

This equipment majorly works on your lower body and comprises glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quad. However, you can also work your upper body if you engage your core.

As per the Harvard Medical School, just 30 minutes of workout on the bike will cause a 185-pound person to lose 311 calories, and a 125-pound person will lose 210 calories.

Boosting your intensity will also cause a boost in the burning of extra calories. If you enhance your intensity, you will thus lose 315 and 466 calories, respectively, on a stationary bike.

Stationary Bike Cons

The stationary bike, just like the elliptical machine, is straightforward to zone out on. However, many people find it difficult to adjust to the bike, especially the seat.

Almonte explains how she finds it bizarre to sit on a bike for an hour before turning into a spin instructor. She says that most of her first-time clients find the stationary bike seat extremely uncomfortable.

Want a solution for the same? Then, try using padded seats for an additional cushion effect. However, two things have been known to improve the comfort factor: good form and time.

Elliptical Or Stationary Bike: Which Is Better?

Choosing between them can be a tough task when it comes to workout equipment. Which machine brings what benefits and the differences between them make the selection all the more confusing. If you aim to lose weight, then will elliptical bikes be preferable?

Which is the ideal equipment to stay fit and healthy? Which machine will give you toned muscles?

To solve this problem, we have listed below a few pointers to make your choice clearer. Being aware of the facts and benefits will go a long way in helping you choose the right equipment to achieve your fitness goals.

1. Which Is Best to Stay Fit? Elliptical vs. Stationary Bike

Both the elliptical and stationary bikes offer amazing benefits, which we shall discuss below. These cardio exercise machines are designed to target different body muscles, explained here.

  • Cardio machines are known to improve your blood circulation by working your heart and other blood vessels. Studies prove that they lower the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and more.
  • They boost your endurance levels and allow your body to sustain workouts for a longer time.
  • These machines are considered to be safe for individuals with joint pains. Also, they are low impact and cause less stress on your muscles and joints. Besides, they are better than running outdoors and prevent injuries, inflammation, or accidents.

Thus, the elliptical and stationary bikes are ideal for staying fit and active. There can be no comparison between them as they are not the same.

The stationary bike majorly focuses on your lower body as far as targeting the body is concerned. You are always sitting while you exercise on it. On the other hand, the elliptical ensures your entire body gets a good workout.

The stationary bikes are more suitable for elderly people who are willing to stay active and fit. Since many older people have knee and joint issues, the elliptical machine may not be the ideal choice.

However, it is best to take an opinion from your doctor on the same. For others, the main factors comprise your aims its goals for your body.

2. Elliptical vs. Stationary Bike: Which Is Best for Toning Muscle?

The elliptical and stationary bikes are not strength-building machines but are specifically cardio machines. The main purpose of these machines is not to help you build mass.

But, they will surely help you toning your body parts like buttocks and legs. If bodybuilding is what you are looking for, then these machines are not made for it.

– First, we shall look into what the stationary bike has to offer. This machine is designed to work on your calves and thighs particularly.

To avoid any back pain, you also maintain a neat posture which helps to work out your triceps and biceps as well. If you want the stationary bike to work on your upper body, like the abs, then make sure you tighten your grip on the handle.

Then,  you need to contract the stomach muscles while exercising. Additionally, if you want to work out your glutes, all you need to do is increase the resistance of your stationary bike.

– Secondly, we shall talk about the elliptical machine. As discussed before, this machine is known to give your entire body a good workout.

The bottom muscles targeted using the elliptical machine are the legs, thigh muscles, and buttocks. At the same time, the upper body muscles that are worked out are the arms, stomach, and chest.

The elliptical machine has handles in front where you hold and work out. This causes the elimination of movement in the upper body and focuses more on the lower part like the buttocks, thighs, calves, and legs. However, it is recommended that you work out all body muscles every once in a while.

So overall, if you wish to focus solely on the lower section of your body, you can consider using both the elliptical and stationary bike. On the other hand, to work out your arms and upper body, the elliptical is preferable.

3. Elliptical vs. Stationary Bike: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Losing weight can be achieved by both the elliptical and stationary bike. The number of calories that you will burn on both of these machines solely depends on two factors. The first is the duration of your workout, and the second is the intensity of your workout.

Compared to the stationary bike, the elliptical machine causes 15% extra burn in calories. This is because the elliptical offers a full-body workout, unlike the stationary machine where you are comfortably sitting on the bike.

However, the only difference between the values of the burning calories depends on the intensity of the workout. This simply means that you are proven to lose extra calories while performing a high-intensity workout on a stationary bike than working out comfortably on an elliptical machine.

Besides, you can amp up your stationary bike workout by getting up and working out. It is called a danseuse and is known to burn an amazing amount of calories than an elliptical machine.

The most important thing that you should take care of is the resistance level which will aid in effective weight loss and calorie burning. At the same time, you can tone your buttocks and thighs with a high level of resistance.

Finally, if we consider the number of calories burned, then without any doubt, the elliptical machine is the winner. But do remember that there isn’t a vast difference in the numbers. You will effectively lose weight and burn calories if you practice a strict routine and work out intensely.

To lose weight, you need to put in that hard work and intensity for results to actually show up. That is the only way you can start seeing differences in your body. Push your intensity levels high up, and no one can stop you from achieving your goals.

4. Other Criteria and Conclusion

After looking at the benefits of both the elliptical and stationary bike, you now know they are both quite similar in many aspects. Both of these machines allow you to lose weight, build your endurance, tone your muscles and maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle.

All this is possible without causing any kind of muscle strain or joint issues, thus finally strengthening your muscles. However, when it comes to the affordability and place factor, no doubt the winner is the stationary bike.

As a stationary bike is smaller in dimensions than an elliptical, you can place it anywhere for your workouts. Also, if you consider the price aspect, the stationary bike is less expensive and affordable compared to an elliptical machine. A stationary bike costs about $400 to $700, and an elliptical machine costs up to $600 to $1000.

Hence, when considering multiple factors while choosing the right workout equipment, you must also evaluate these aspects. This will give you a clear perspective on the best suitable cardio workout machine to help you achieve your dream body and stay fit.

An End To The Elliptical & Stationary Bike Debate

As long as you are willing to put a good amount of effort into elliptical and stationary bikes, you will be able to tone your muscles and build your cardiovascular endurance, says Almonte.

The elliptical bike has a slight upper hand in working your upper body, which should not be the reason to break away from stationary bikes

. Elliptical workouts do not focus on your upper body since most of the work is done by the machine itself, clarifies Almonte.

On the other hand, the stationary bike is known to work out your upper body if you focus on right it. However, be aware that it will never be a full potential upper body workout.

At the end of everything, it all depends on how much you put in effort for the same despite the equipment you choose.

Benefits like weight loss, calorie-burning, or improving cardio fitness levels solely depend on the effort you put into the elliptical or stationary bike. Your results are also determined by resistance or incline.

Overall, the most crucial factor is your preference. As Almonte further adds that she loves working out on the stationary bike more as she finds it exciting. At the same time, she puts more effort into the same as compared to the elliptical.

As we all know that we shall reap more from the workout that we enjoy doing. Though workouts are meant to improve fitness, they should also aim to bring an element of fun into the same. This is why it is best to invest in the cardio that you love doing!

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