Stationary Exercise Bikes – Which Kind Is Best For You?
Thinking about a stationary exercise bike? While doing your research you’ll notice that there are many different kinds of bikes out there. It can get confusing: upright, recumbent, spinning, dual action, fan bike, indoor cycling. Which kind do you choose?
Don’t worry – this article will lay out the main types of stationary exercise bikes with the advantages of each so you can choose the one that fits your needs best.
Types of Exercise Bikes:
1) Upright – These are very similar in design to outdoor bikes. You sit on a bicycle seat and your legs hang down to the pedals. This kind of bike is less restricted as you can sit or stand up on the bike. Some models have handlebars that let you cycle in a seated position or more competitive racing style.
Upright bikes have been around the longest and are the classic “stationary bike” as we think of them. Upright bikes tend to be more compact than other types of bikes and some even fold up to save you space.
Upright bike exercise focuses mainly on your quadriceps. If you’re an outdoor cyclist you might prefer an upright bike to a recumbent as it can give you more efficient training, especially in the winter months.
One of the main disadvantages of upright bikes is that the seats tend to get very uncomfortable – especially over time which can limit the length of your workouts.
2) Recumbent – These are a newer type of design that’s taken the market by storm over the past few years. In a recumbent bike, you sit in comfortable chair-like or bucket seats.
Your body is placed in a semi reclining position and your legs angle out in front of you to reach the pedals instead of hanging down as they do on an upright bike.
One of the main advantages to these bikes is that they’re much more comfortable than upright bikes for most people. So you can use them for longer periods of time. They’re also generally safer to use, provide excellent back support and are lower to the ground, which makes them great for watching TV while you workout. Whereas upright bikes tend to work your quadricepts, recumbent bikes focus more on your glutes and hamstrings.
Because of the high comfort factor, recumbent bikes are ideal for older exercisers or those who aren’t used to frequent exercise (i.e. those just starting out on an exercise program).
3) Dual Action – These bikes are a type of upright bike. But there are 2 main differences. The first is that there are upper body arm bars on the bike (similar to those you find on elliptical trainers). Hence the term ‘dual action’. You can pedal while working your arms at the same time. This can give you a more total body workout and help you get faster results.
Another main difference is that these bikes tend to use air resistance instead of magnetic resistance. This ‘fan type’ of air resistance gives you a nice fan effect to keep you cool during your workout. It also means that resistance is virtually unlimited. The harder you pedal, the more resistance you get.
One drawback of these bikes is that they tend to be noisier than the magnetic resistance recumbent and upright bikes. Also, some people find that coordinating their arms and legs can be a bit confusing. Also, the consoles on these bikes tend to be simpler than the other 2 types of bikes above with less ‘bells and whistles’ to keep you entertained.
In addition to these 3 types of stationary exercise bikes there’s also spinning bikes which are similar to those you see used at the gym for spinning classes. They are upright bikes with heavy flywheels – and would really be more suitable to the hard core athlete or cyclist. They also tend to cost more than a standard stationary exercise bike.
So there you have it – the main advantages and disadvantages of different stationary exercise bikes. Remember to take your time before deciding on a bike that’s right for you. Choose one that ultimately gets you excited about using it!