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Recumbent Exercise Bike: Calories Burned

Last Updated on October 29, 2021 by Jeff

Weight loss is an area that most people struggle with immensely. So it is no doubt that one of the most frequently asked questions is “How can I lose weight quickly and efficiently?” 

Weight loss boils down to consistently burning more calories than you take in.

If this is the case, you may be wondering “Why use a recumbent bike for weight loss?”.

In this article, we will be elaborating on the benefits of using a recumbent bike for exercise, as well as what any downfalls might be.

So if you’re wanting to shed a few extra kgs, or looking for different ways to spice up your exercise regime and add to your caloric burn, read on to see if the recumbent bike would be a wise choice for you.

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Larger Muscle Groups Worked On A Recumbent Bike

The muscles worked on a recumbent bike are mostly lower body muscles.

A recumbent bike mostly works the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. 

These muscle groups are fairly large, which means they burn more calories as opposed to if they were smaller muscle groups. 

This means that not only can a recumbent bike help tone your legs, but a recumbent bike is also beneficial for weight loss, as it creates a higher calorie burn.

A recumbent bike also works the abs, which is also a fairly large muscle group. This will increase the number of calories burned compared to if it was only the legs that were working.

One downfall, however, is that the recumbent bike doesn’t use one’s arm muscles. If it was a full-body workout and used the arms too, it would have been a much more calorie-efficient tool.

Incorporate The Arms Into Your Recumbent Bike Training To Burn More Calories

recumbent exercise bike calories burned

One benefit of a recumbent bike is that even though it doesn’t generally incorporate the arms in the workout, the fact that there is a backrest and you don’t have to use your arms to balance as you would with a normal upright bike, means you can add your own.

Incorporating exercises like biceps curls, lateral raises, and other various upper body exercises while you’re cycling increases the number of muscles that are being worked, and burns more calories. 

Those With Injuries May Benefit From Using A Recumbent Bike to Burn Calories

Although it may not be ideal in burning a large number of calories for a top athlete, a recumbent bike is a good exercise for someone who is injured.

For example, a recumbent bike is good for sciatica because it targets your glutes so well and uses a backrest to elicit good spinal posture.

For someone like that, who is very limited in what movement they can do, a recumbent bike is ideal for them to burn calories as they can exercise in a comfortable position, something that wouldn’t be possible normally.

So although it might not be the most intense calorie burner, it is still getting people who struggle with movement to get some sort of exercise in and burn some calories.

The Influence Genetics and Body Composition Has On Burning Calories 

Male vs Female

calories burned on a recumbent bike

Men normally have a higher percentage of lean muscle mass than women do.

Since muscle burns a higher amount of calories than fat does, it is more likely that if you are a male, you will burn more calories on a recumbent bike than a female would.

Body Composition

Unfortunately for some, your body composition also plays a role in how many calories you burn.

For example, if you have heavier body weight, be it from lean muscle mass or fat, you are likely to burn more calories on a recumbent bike than someone who weighs less.


Someone younger is likely to put in more effort and burn more calories on a recumbent bike than someone older.

Ways To Increase Calories Burned On A Recumbent Bike

Up The Intensity

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is known to burn more calories than slow steady cardio exercise. By turning your cycle into a HIIT interval you will likely burn way more calories than just constant pedaling.

Another way you can up the intensity and calories burned is if you increase the resistance you are pedaling at.

By doing this, you make it harder and more effort is needed to complete the workload.

Increase The Duration 

By increasing how long you cycle for you will be increasing the number of calories you burn. 

A tip is that you can read a book or reply to emails as you’re pedaling, and this will help you to pedal for a longer time without even realizing it. 

You Control Your Calories Burned

There are advantages and disadvantages to using a recumbent bike for helping you up your calories to lose weight.

But as is true for everything, what you put in is what you’ll get out. 

If you put your all in and exercise as hard as you can on the recumbent bike, you are guaranteed to lose calories. However, it is up to what you put in that will determine how many calories you end up burning.