1. Home
  2. /
  3. What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?

Last Updated on November 4, 2021 by Jeff

What Is a Recumbent Exercise Bike?


Recumbent exercise bikes, such as the Schwinn Recumbent Bike, the Nautilus Recumbent Bike R616, the Exerpeutic 900XL Manual, and the Nordic Track Recumbent, offer comfortable, low-impact workouts, ideal if you want cardio machines that’ll let you take your fitness at an easygoing level. 

The main feature of these bikes is the reclined seated position with back support, ideal for those who need back and buttocks support. Continue reading to find out if recumbent bikes are for you. Consider the advantages and disadvantages to weigh them along with your circumstances.

Pros of Recumbent Bikes


You’re positioned closer to the ground on a recumbent bike, which is ideal for those with balance issues. Recumbents have an ergonomic design, meaning that you can balance your weight evenly and comfortably over the large seat.

The small saddle characteristic of classic upright bikes can make you feel less stable, whereas recumbents can give a sense of security to get a workout in with peace of mind.

The design of recumbents major in their larger-than-average seat, which positions your body to be neither tilting upright nor forward, but a perfect reclined position that fully relaxes the back and places minor strain on it. As a result, your hips and knees have less pressure on them as they’re in equilibrium. 

Also, because you aren’t standing, there’s less risk of getting hurt on this exercise equipment, unlike many other cardio machines that require balancing the entire body and, therefore, causing the risk of falling or slipping.

Longer Workout Periods  recumbent exercise bike vs spin bike

As opposed to regular workout bikes where the saddle isn’t comfortable enough to stay on for half an hour, let alone all day, recumbent bikes being comfortable means that you can stay on the machine for more extended periods or even while doing other activities, such as reading. 

Pedaling for hours on a recumbent bike can give you noticeable results, and the comfortable reclined position can make legs work harder than in an upright position. As a result, your legs exert more energy, thereby improving your overall fitness level.  

Cardiovascular Benefits

The relaxed position may leave you wondering whether it’s possible to get a good cardio workout on a recumbent. Unlike classic upright exercise bikes, recumbent bikes require less effort balancing, which means you can put more effort into pedaling faster, thereby burning calories. 

At the same time, you’re raising your heartbeat and pumping increased amounts of oxygen to all your vital organs. Increased blood flow and input of fresh oxygen into the bloodstream encourage cardiovascular health improvement and decrease the chances of heart disease, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

Multiple Muscle Groups  spin bike vs recumbent

Many believe that only upright bikes work muscles, but that’s not true. A recumbent bike allows you to build, strengthen, and tone your muscles, namely your calves, glutes, and quads. It feels different from an upright bike because you’re performing moderate controlled pushes, which give improved definition to your legs. 

Along with this, the flexibility of using high to low speeds with intervals can invigorate the bloodstream to pass blood to the vital leg muscle groups. Your positioning on the reclined seat may make you think they aren’t being toned, but that’s because little stress is being placed on your joints. 

Many recumbents come with variable workout programs that allow you to challenge and push yourself to work your muscles to their maximum. Adding in various resistance levels and inclines can induce muscles to exert more energy to get stronger. 

Comfort  stationary bike recumbent vs spin

Many recumbent bikes come with added benefits such as comfortable foam cushions, which provide luxurious padding for your back, and ergonomic seats designed to keep you on the machine for as long as possible. 

They also come with cup holders and tables, which is perfect if you’re looking to do other things while exercising, such as browsing your laptop or reading a book. 

A vital advantage of a recumbent bike is that anybody can use it. So it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are. Whether you’re short, tall, lean, or muscular, a recumbent bike can work for you thanks to the ample adjustability it provides. You can adjust the seat to move forward if you’re short or backward if you’re tall because of the metal sliding railings on the side.


Recumbents are ideal if you’ve never worked out before or have a particular health condition, like arthritis or asthma, which makes regular cardio machines challenging to adapt to. Also, if you’re recovering from an injury, recumbents provide a great therapy towards recovery, gently easing your muscles into activity again.

Cons of Recumbent Bikes

Dormant Muscles

Not all muscles will be fully engaged when using a recumbent. For instance, the core and upper body remain dormant during workouts. 

Can Be Boring

Though they’re easy to use, recumbents can feel boring as a specific position is repeatedly used. An elliptical or treadmill, in contrast, gives more flexibility to target various muscle groups and change your workout positions. 

Storage  stationary bike recumbent vs spin

Many upright bikes easily fold away, so they’re great for small spaces. Recumbents, in contrast, don’t tend to have this ability, so if you’re short for space, you may need to rearrange furniture to accommodate a recumbent bike.


Recumbents generally are more expensive than upright bikes, so they may not be an option for everyone. 

Tips for Usage

Follow the suggestions below to get the most out of your recumbent.

Seat Adjustment

Adjusting your machine’s seat takes a few minutes, but it’ll make a massive difference to your comfort for hours on end. The more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to stay on the machine for extended periods, increasing your workouts’ effectiveness.

Warm-Up  recumbent vs spin bike calories burned

As with any exercise, a warm-up is essential before using your recumbent. Stretching out your calves and overall leg muscles will improve your performance on the machine. 


Higher resistance levels give you better strength training for your body, but the key is to have enough capacity to pedal as well in order to maintain an increased heart rate. 

It may be a good idea to switch between a few minutes of more strenuous resistance and easier resistance, which will give your muscles periods of recovery. 


Though your recumbent gives you back support, it’s still essential to maintain a good posture on your machine. Avoid slouching and leaning forward, so keep your back stuck to the back of the chair so that you stay aligned with the machine. This is crucial during intense periods of workouts. 


Recumbent bikes have multiple advantages and disadvantages and offer something for everyone. They have scope for cardio, muscle building, and lower body exercises while also allowing you to adapt them to workout plans. 

Their fully supportive and comfortable approach to exercise gives opportunities to those who may not consider themselves able to use cardio machinery. 

Follow the essential suggestions to get the most out of your recumbent exercise bike so that you can improve your health and wellness.