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Is a Recumbent Bike Good for Exercise?

Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Jeff

Is a Recumbent Bike Good Exercise?

It’s true that stationary recumbent bikes are popular workout machines. 

But what about the stationary reclining bike? Recumbent bikes are as popular as treadmills and upright bikes. Who wouldn’t want some back support while pedaling? 

This article looks at the effectiveness of a recumbent bike. Does it offer a good workout? Can you get into shape with it? What are the benefits?

Continue reading for answers to these questions and more. 

Why is a Recumbent Bike Good to Use for Exercise?

A recumbent bike is a reclining indoor bike used for fitness and recreation. Unlike upright bikes, recumbent bikes have a larger seat and the pedals are in front of the body. 

The larger seat and the back support offer a more comfortable position. This is especially helpful for those who can’t use an upright bike for certain health reasons. 

This bike reduces upper body tension, muscle fatigue and is less strenuous on joints.

Can You Get a Good Workout From a Recumbent Bike?

Is a Recumbent Bike Good Exercise

You can get a good workout from a recumbent bicycle, but it all depends on you. Like all fitness activities, you need to put in the effort. 

This bike makes it easy to go easy.

If you want to feel the burn and make progress then you can’t lose your intensity. You will need to cycle for longer than you would on an upright bike.

It’s a good thing then, that you can adjust the incline settings on the bike. This will increase (or decrease) resistance as desired. It will be like cycling up or down a hill. Pedaling backward is another way to vary your workout. 

Are Recumbent Bikes Effective?

If you pedal too slowly you likely won’t see any result at all. You can’t hope to burn calories if you aren’t raising your heart rate and working up a sweat. 

The effectiveness of recumbent bikes depends on this.

The comfortable seat and reclining position make it easy to do the bare minimum. But that won’t work with this machine. You need to get your heart pumping and your blood racing. Without that, your metabolism won’t kick in effectively and it would be a wasted effort. 

But used correctly, they are effective.


If you’re wondering if a recumbent bike is good for cardio, then yes. It does provide a good cardiovascular workout. Not as great as a treadmill, but you can always increase the intensity of your workout. 

Regular exercise on it to build up your stamina will give you a great cardio workout. The great thing about this bicycle is that it puts less stress on the joints than other cardio equipment. 

Cardio exercises have impressive health benefits. It’s great for the heart, lungs, and blood pressure. Endorphins released during cardio exercises reduce stress and improve your mood. 

Weight Loss and Calories Burned

Now, the question you’re probably impatient for. Is a recumbent bike good for weight loss?

The short answer is yes, but not sustainably. You will lose some weight in the beginning. But for it to be sustainable you would need to increase the resistance and intensity. 

The calories burned on a recumbent bike vs an upright bike are not much. It burns fewer calories than an upright bike does. It focuses on the lower body only, while an upright bike offers a full-body workout. This means if you are looking to get yourself a recumbent bike to tone your abs, it’s better to go with an upright bike.  

You will burn calories since it is a cardio workout. But you’ll need to cycle for longer and with greater resistance. 

Can You Get in Shape With a Recumbent Bike?

If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that a recumbent bike will tone legs. 

When cycling on a stationary bike, different muscles are used. As a reclining bike, it focuses on the lower body and the muscles in the legs. 

A recumbent bike builds muscles. Specifically, the recumbent bike works the glutes, calf, shins, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It has the same effect as resistance training. In other words, muscle functionality, strength, and power will improve. 

Recumbent Stationary Bike Benefits

There are a number of recumbent bike advantages and disadvantages

The health benefits of a recumbent bike are subtle to those who don’t suffer from back or joint pain. Of course, those aren’t the only reasons why using a recumbent bike might be an ideal choice. 

 A recumbent bike can help sciatica pain. To those who have experienced or are experiencing this, you know how crippling it can be. Because of its reclined position, the bicycle puts less strain on the nerves and spine. 

Other Benefits of a Recumbent Bike? 

  • Cycling in a reclined position increases circulation in the hips. This improves flexibility and range of motion.
  • It puts less stress on the joints and the lumbar spine (lower back).
  • It relieves pressure by distributing the weight more evenly.
  • The wider seat is not just comfortable, it also prevents falling.
  • Provides cardio and strengthens lower body muscles. 

Who is a recumbent bike best suited for?

  • Those with ailments like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Those with cerebral palsy.
  • Those suffering from lower back pain like sciatica.
  • Those with cardiac limitations. 
  • Those who have back injuries or surgeries. 
  • Anyone who has balance problems that would make using an upright bike impossible. 

Can you get a good workout from a recumbent bike

Final Note

Some fitness specialists view recumbent bikes as a lazy fitness tool. And maybe it is when used incorrectly. 

Not everyone is able to use upright cardio equipment. There are people with balance problems, back pain, or who have had an injury or surgery. All these examples make the reclining bike suited to their needs.

The elderly would benefit from this less strenuous workout as well. It’s easy on the joints and increases flexibility in the hips. We’re sure having a greater range of motion is preferable over intense workout sessions.

Even if you don’t suffer from these issues, you can still make good use of a recumbent bike. Just make sure to adjust the settings to suit your needs.