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Elliptical vs Stationary Bike - Which One is Better?

Both elliptical trainer and stationary bike are two very popular cardio exercise machines, commonly used at homes and in the gyms for warmups, burning extra calories, increasing overall strength and stamina, etc.

Many people wonder which of these two exercise machines is better and why and what can be done to improve their use even further...

Updated: September 30, 2021.

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Elliptical Trainer Features and Benefits

Elliptical trainers are very gentle on the joints since feet never leave the pedals and the foot's motion is elliptical (hence the name of the exercise machine) without sudden changes in direction or amount of force.

Also, ellipticals also feature two sets of handlebars, one pair is fixed, while the second is mobile.

Thanks to the pair of mobile handlebars, elliptical offers true full-body workout sessions - they provide a direct workout for legs, core, back, chest, shoulders, and arms, increasing the intensity and allowing the user to burn large amounts of calories in any given time.

Ellipticals with magnetic resistance systems are very quiet, which is a welcome feature for home units.

Additional features include the stride length, number of programs, type of display, fans, multimedia options, heart rate monitors, wireless connectivity, etc.

However, ellipticals also have some drawbacks. Some users, especially elderly people may find issues with getting On and Off the ellipticals.

Also, legs' and arms' motions on the ellipticals are not the most natural ones - ellipticals cannot be used for direct training for a certain athletic event like running, cycling and similar.

Due to their construction, ellipticals are not foldable exercise machines and require full storage space when not in use - ellipticals come with transport wheels and when not in use, they can be moved to the storage area easily.

But, since they are very gentle on the joints and provide full-body exercise that can burn a ton of calories, ellipticals are one of the most popular cardio exercise machines.

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The price of ellipticals depends on many things, including the maximum user weight, resistance system, heart rate monitors, and other features that one unit may have.

Stationary Bikes Features and Benefits

Two main types of stationary bikes are upright bikes and recumbent bikes, with both types having their own pros and cons.

Typically, stationary bikes provide an excellent workout for lower body parts (legs) and somewhat to the core and upper body, with the minimum impact on the arms.

Just like ellipticals, stationary bikes are very gentle on the joints since their motion is circular with no sudden changes in direction of applied force.

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Additional features of the stationary bikes that may influence their price a lot are resistance type (again, magnetic brake system being very quiet), wireless connectivity, real-time workouts, heart sensors, display type, etc.

Also, stationary bikes, especially high-end models with Google Maps and real-time workouts, allow the users to train for a certain athletic event - a cycling race, for example.

However, many users have issues with using their upright stationary bikes for longer periods of time due to the uncomfortable seats - it takes a really comfortable seat for beginners to be able to sit more than 25-30 minutes. But, such seats may limit the leg's range of motion and while solving one problem, they can create other problems.

Also, some people may have issues with stepping On and Off the upright exercise bikes.

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Recumbent stationary bikes on the other hand are often designed as 'step-through' units, allowing the users to easily sit down and stand up from their seats which are wider and more heavily padded than the seats of the upright stationary bikes.

As such, recumbent bikes allow even elderly people and people with various issues to easily get On and Off the bike and to workout.

Long Story Short: Which one is better, elliptical trainer or stationary bike? Unless You use your bike to help you prepare for a certain cycling event, an elliptical trainer offers somewhat more benefits, including a full-body workout.

Both ellipticals and stationary bikes are gentle on the joints and allow the users to burn plenty of additional calories.

Elderly people and people with disabilities should consider recumbent bikes since they are much more comfortable for use for longer periods of time and are much easier to sit On and Off.

Personally, if You can use both ellipticals and stationary bikes for your cardio sessions - they actually complement each other very nicely...

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