When making comparisons of the elliptical vs. bike training, there are a few points to consider. Things like comfort are important, but so is effectiveness if your goal is weight loss or weight maintenance. Ultimately, it comes down to preference, but for a moment, let’s compare the pros and cons of these two pieces of fitness equipment.
One of the first issues in the elliptical versus stationary bike argument is the amount of space needed in the home. Generally, ellipticals are larger and heavier than bikes, and require more room to set up. However, there are fold-up ellipticals on the market that eliminate that problem.
As far as the elliptical versus recumbent bike argument, it is hardly a fair comparison. First of all, the recumbent is the favorite of very overweight individuals who would have trouble on an elliptical in terms of balance and exertion, plus putting stress on their joints by bearing their own bodyweight while exercising. Second, the recumbent bike has a clear advantage for people with back pain since it provides back support throughout the exercise.
Let’s face it, there is one big advantage to a bike, and that is that you get to sit down during the exercise. It’s easier and you won’t be as tired. On the other hand, will you work out longer, will you exercise as hard as you should? Will you get bored easily?
Both the bike and elliptical target the large leg muscles effectively so there’s an equality there, and a recumbent bike equipped with hand pedals has the advantage of exercising the arms as well.
There are a couple of other pros to a stationary bike vs. the elliptical, and that is price and size. Bikes are less expensive and they take up far less room. And depending on the model, they are likely to weight much less, making them easier to move around for storage.
Ease of use might also be an advantage since many people rode bikes as kids. Riding a stationary bike is familiar – just get on and start pedaling. However, ease of use also describes an elliptical – you can just press START and begin pedaling!
In comparison to a bike, where you sit down often for the entire duration of the workout, riding an elliptical is a weight-bearing exercise, which is important for strengthening the bones to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, as well as working the muscles. And while it takes a lot of effort to get winded on a bike vs. the elliptical, the crosstrainer’s incline and resistance can be set higher to get a maximum oxygen and cardio workout.
Nevertheless, the elliptical vs. bike comparison shows the largest difference in the completeness in the overall body conditioning. For that, the elliptical workout is second to none. Now that crosstrainers also offer the option of moving arms, the arms and shoulders are worked out along with the lower body.
Disregarding considerations such as price tag, equipment size, and maintenance costs, if individuals had to choose only one piece of cardio equipment from among the treadmill, stationary bike, recumbent bike, rower, stepper, or elliptical, you will like find that most would choose the elliptical.
This single piece of cardio equipment shows that it provides the biggest fitness bang for the buck. That’s why, for the money and all other considerations, hands down, the elliptical vs. bike debate goes to the crosstrainer.
UPDATE: New Year's Elliptical Sales are still on!
Here is your chance to rant or rave about the elliptical you use at home or at the fitness center.