What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

We all know how cardio workouts can be a drag, especially if you’re going at it without any help. There are always a large number of options for equipment in the market, from treadmills to stationary bikes, and a ton more. Often you’ll need to find that balance between comfort and fitness, and what can certainly hit the mark for a cyclist is the recumbent exercise bike.

What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

Essentially, a recumbent exercise bike is for those who prefer seated workouts. They offer a comfortable, reclined position, and are perfect for those who are still starting their exercise journey. While your upper body muscles relax, more focus is placed on your cardiovascular system and lower body.

Usually, recumbent bikes have a screen where you can watch TV or even read as you bike. This helps keep your boredom at bay, which is just as much a challenge as using the stationary exercise equipment itself.

Marcy Unisex's ME-1019R Recumbent Bike

Recumbent bikes are also great in that they allow you to work out from home and keep biking regularly, without having to step a foot outside. There’s actually a ton of recumbent exercise bikes to pick from, even ones that have actual wheels!

What Muscles Do Recumbent Exercise Bikes Work On?

  • The Heart – by reducing blood pressure and strengthening it over time.
  • Gluteus Maximus – located in the buttocks.
  • Tibialis Anterior – located along the front of the shin.
  • Vastus Lateralis – located on the side of the upper thigh.
  • Rectus Femoris – responsible for flexing the hip.
  • Semitendinosus – located at the back of the thigh (also called the hamstring).
  • Medial gastrocnemius – one of the calf muscles responsible for flexing the leg at the knee joint.
  • Vastus medialis – located in the front of the thigh.
  • Biceps femoris – a two-part muscle that is part of the hamstring.

muscles worked on by recumbent bikes

Needless to say, you’re working out a lot of muscles. Remember that when you pedal fast, your heart pumps faster. However, when you increase your bike’s resistance, your leg muscles will rapidly heat up and start to fatigue.

What Is the Difference Between a Recumbent Bike and an Upright Stationary Bike?

Unlike treadmills, for example, both types of bikes apply less pressure on your joints. However, there are a few differences to take note of depending on your preferred comfort level. Let’s take you through them:

recumbent bikes vs upright bikes

Now while recumbent bikes seem a lot easier to ride than upright bikes, they’ve been proven to be just as effective. The best-case scenario would be if you can alternate between both for maximum impact, although that would certainly be an expensive option.


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    So, How Do You Make the Best out of Your Recumbent Biking Experience?

    We’ve put together a quick guide on how to go about riding a recumbent bike so you can make the right exercise decisions.

    1. First, as with all exercise equipment, you need to wear the right shoes to avoid hurting yourself, while also maintaining comfort. Check out this list of the best cycling shoes up for grabs, but bear in mind that any training or running shoes are also fine.
    2. Naturally, this leads to wearing the right fitted clothing as well, so you don’t get your loose clothes caught up in the machinery.
    3. Make sure to wipe off the machine with a towel once you’re done with your exercise. Let’s face it – you’ll probably sweat loads and it’s always best to keep moisture off the bike to increase its lifetime.
    4. Adjust your seat – it takes only a few seconds and will make a world of a difference both in comfort and exercise effectiveness.
    5. Treat your workout like any other and make sure to stretch both before and afterward. It warms up your muscles beforehand and releases the lactic acid from your body afterward – don’t skip the stretching!
    6. Even after stretching, make sure you warm up on the bike before getting into a full-on workout. Start at a slow and steady pace for at least five minutes.
    7. You need to maintain a proper position and form throughout the workout. Most importantly, avoid leaning forward and keep your back aligned with that of the seat. Not only will this help you burn more calories, but it’ll also ensure you don’t get injured.
    8. Know the right resistance for you. At first, adjusting resistance can be confusing, but through trial and error, you’ll get there. People often select a resistance level that is way too high for them, so ease into the workout and make sure it’s adjusted to your capabilities.
    9. Make sure you’re entertained as you bike. The great thing about recumbent bikes is the ability for you to watch or read something. This will eliminate the chances of you getting bored and getting off the bike sooner.
    10. Finally, select the right duration for your exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes daily, and if you can’t, then 50 to 60 minutes five times a week will give optimum weight loss effort and cardio workout.


    Overall, recumbent bikes offer extra comfort to your cardio exercises and great training to your lower back and legs. Since they avoid back pain, a wider audience can enjoy the extra back support that comes from its reclining nature.

    So there you have it! We’re sure after reading this, you’re probably excited about buying a recumbent exercise bike. Before you do though, we recommend you go to the nearest gym and try it out first. No point spending a ton of money if you don’t think it will give you the type of exercise you need.

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    What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike? — Bike Hacks