10 Best Recumbent Bike for Seniors (5 with Arm Workout)

best recumbent bikes featured

Includes 5 Great Picks with Arm Exerciser

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Utilizing exercise bikes for a low-impact workout is excellent for all levels of fitness and age demographics. They provide comfort, convenience, and, most importantly, – great training!

A recumbent bike is a stationary bike of sorts that provides an ergonomic, laid-back seating position with a highly-desired backrest. The chair can slide forward and back, accommodating for different length legs, and provides handles on either side for the user to hold on to. This set up makes the recumbent bike more comfortable to use while still providing all the benefits of the standard upright bike.

The options are wide-spread, and many of them come equipped with moveable arm handles. That’s precisely what we’re going to be discussing! If you’re looking for the best recumbent bike with or without arm attachments, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s get into it.

Best with Arms

Top Pick
Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical (LT1)

Best All-in-One Recumbent Elliptical

With its ergonomic design, this model is more similar to an elliptical than a typical stationary bike. The Teeter stands out from the crowd without question.

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Best Value
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike (SF-RB4631)

Best Overall Magnetic Recumbent Bike

A versatile option that comes equipped with arm exercisers for optimal calorie expenditure. Most user reviews mention the bikes' quality, comfort and efficiency. 

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Best without Arms

Top Pick
Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

Most Comfortable Recumbent Bike

A premium bike with outstanding quality & one of the most comfortable recumbent bikes to use.

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Best Value
Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike

Best Budget Recumbent Bike

An excellent bike with magnetic resistance and maybe one of the best recumbent bikes for budgets < $250.

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Recumbent Bike with Arms vs. Regular Recumbent Bike

Sure, a standard stationary recumbent bike is an excellent method of exercise. However, for those looking for a full-body, higher intensity workout, a recumbent bike with arm exercisers are likely the better option.

Below is a list of pros:

Benefits of the Recumbent Bike with Arm Exercisers

  • An increase in intensity
  • Greater calorie expenditure/burn
  • Involves more muscular effort (upper AND lower body)
  • Improved mobility 
  • Arguably more engaging of an exercise 
  • Greater neuromuscular connection

For these reasons and more, a recumbent bike with moveable arm handles might be the better choice for you!

Now, we will analyze every different model with details plus advantages and disadvantages. You can read, also, our buying guide and the comparison between Upright and Recumbent bikes.

We will start with the 5 best recumbent bikes with arm exerciser and then we will see 5 great choices without arm workout.

5 Best Recumbent Bikes with Arm Exerciser

Below is a list of the top 5 recumbent bikes with moveable arms:

  1. Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical
  2. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike (SF-RB4631)
  3. Sunny Health & Fitness Cross-Training Recumbent Bike (SF-RB4708)
  4. Stamina Recumbent Exercise Bike with Upper Body Exerciser
  5. Slim Cycle Folding Indoor Exercise Bike with Arm Resistance Bands

Let’s now jump into a more detailed approach of every model, the pros and cons of each, concluding with a custom buyers guide for your indulgence.

1
Top Pick

Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical (LT1)

Best All-in-One Recumbent Elliptical

With its ergonomic design, this model is more similar to an elliptical than a typical stationary bike. The Teeter stands out from the crowd without question.

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Pros

  • Full Body Exercise
  • Zero to NO Impact
  • Non-Slip Bottom Surface
  • Quiet
  • Quality – Heavy Duty Parts

Cons

  • Cost
  • Size & Design
  • Poor Setup for Intensity

Detailed Review

Introducing the Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Bike. Although this piece of exercise equipment is categorized as a stationary bike of sorts, it is much more than that! With its ergonomic design, this model is more similar to an elliptical than a typical stationary bike. Users of this product come from all walks of life. Goals span from weight-loss and strength-building to rehabilitation and recovery.

The most outstanding aspect of this model is that the handles are designed for a total body blast. The design innovation is primarily aimed at increasing mobility, relieving joint stress while improving one’s overall physical health in an accessible manner. It certainly accomplishes that!

The Teeter stands out from the crowd without question. Apart from its innovative design, its implementation is just as flawless. The only downside? The price…


2
Best Value

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Exercise Bike (SF-RB4631)

Best Overall Magnetic Recumbent Bike

A versatile option that comes equipped with arm exercisers for optimal calorie expenditure. Most user reviews mention the bikes' quality, comfort and efficiency. 

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Pros

  • Magnetic Resistance System
  • Adjustable Straps
  • Weight Capacity
  • Sensors for Data Feedback

Cons

  • Lack of Design
  • Poor Design for Intensity 
  • Customer Reviews Inconsistent

Detailed Review

Sunny Health & Fitness is one of the largest fitness equipment manufacturers, and for a good reason. The plethora of their offerings, coupled with the quality and standards that they provide, is undeniable.

The SF-RB4631 model, Sunny’s magnetic recumbent bike, is a versatile option that comes equipped with arm exercisers for optimal calorie expenditure. It’s comfort level, and accessibility make it the ideal choice for all fitness levels and all age demographics!

After trying this model out for size, most users attest to the bikes’ quality, comfort, efficiency, and dependability. So, if you’re looking for a great piece of home workout equipment, this one might just be for you.


3
Editor's Pick

Sunny Health & Fitness Cross-Training Recumbent Bike (SF-RB4708)

Best Recumbent Cross Trainer

Much like Teeter's model, this one has moveable, ergonomic handlebars for a full upper-body blast of a workout.

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Pros

  • Multi-functionality
  • Quiet
  • Cost
  • Sturdy, Heavy-duty assembly

Cons

  • Adjustable intensity is poor
  • Moveable Arm Handles NOT Adjustable
  • Robust Assembly

Detailed Review

An option that has received a lot of attention in a positive direction has been Sunny Health & Fitness’ Recumbent Cross Trainer. Much like Teeter’s model, this one has moveable, ergonomic handlebars for a full upper-body blast of a workout.

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-RB4708 Cross-Trainer is a fantastic option for both beginners and intermediates alike. It boasts all of the characteristics one would look for in a quality exercise machine: sturdy, durable, efficient, comfortable, and cost-efficient. The one downside? Assembly…

While this bike does come equipped with everything a fitness enthusiast would want in a machine, the assembly has been reported to be quite daunting at times. If done even slightly incorrect, reviews state that pedals and other mechanisms are likely to fall off and become an irritable issue. If you can ensure proper assembly, this bike is an all-around winner.


4

Stamina Recumbent Exercise Bike with Upper Body Exerciser

Best Recumbent Trainer for Beginners

It provides comfort, portability, and decent quality that you may expect from a recumbent bike. Not made for those looking for intense workouts.

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Pros

  • Easily Accessible & Foldable
  • Magnetic Resistance
  • Tension for Intensity
  • Comfort
  • Ergonomic fit

Cons

  • Difficult Assembly
  • May be Noisy

Detailed Review

So, you’re looking for a simplistic, at-home exercise bike…the Stamina Recumbent bike may be the option for you. This model, however, is unarguably the lowest of quality on this list. Will it provide a fantastic at-home workout? Sure. Does it boast all that which a recumbent bike should offer at baseline? Yes. However, the quality at which it has been manufactured is not for the motivated minded.

In other words, this bike is meant for those looking for a leisure method to exercise. Easy access, no-frills, retractable piece of equipment. If that’s you, this bike is the one. However, if you’re looking to chase intensity, look the other way.

Overall, this bike is a good product. It provides comfort, portability, and all the standard features we’ve come to expect from a recumbent bike. It’s just not made for those looking for intense workouts and durability.


5

Slim Cycle Folding Indoor Exercise Bike with Arm Resistance Bands

Best Overall for Portability & Home Workouts

A folding, stationary recumbent bike with resistance bands and a heart monitor for those interested in tracking fitness metrics.


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Pros

  • Multiple Positions (Recumbent vs Upright)
  • 2-in-1 (Upper vs. Lower)
  • Pricing
  • Data Tracking

Cons

  • Comfort
  • Adjustability
  • Poor Choice for Those over Height & Weight

Detailed Review

The Slim Cycle is as advertised! It’s a folding, stationary recumbent bike that comes equipped with resistance bands and a heart monitor for those interested in tracking fitness metrics. The unique aspect of this bike is, of course, the resistance bands for those looking to tackle the upper body while simultaneously exercising the lower.

It’s lightweight, portable, foldable, and, most of all, affordable! Reviews are widely positive, and users tend to be satisfied. However, the Slim Cycle isn’t all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to reviews…Let’s get into it:

While the vast majority of reviews are positive, the negative reviews tell a consistent tale. One, for those taller than average, this bike may be an issue. Two, Assembly and instruction on the assembly have proven to be difficult for many. If these two factors might inhibit your experience with this bike, I suggest looking elsewhere. Otherwise, the Slim Cycle is a great option!

Now we will see the best 5 regular recumbent bikes.

5 Best Regular Recumbent Bikes (Without Moving Arms)

1
Top Pick

Schwinn 270 Recumbent Bike

Most Comfortable Recumbent Bike

A premium bike with outstanding quality & one of the most comfortable recumbent bikes to use.

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Pros

  • 25 magnetic resistance levels
  • Ventilated and contoured seat
  • Awesomely quiet, no matter the resistance level
  • DualTrack LCD display
  • Telemetry heart rate enabled and ergonomically placed
  • 29 workout programs

Cons

  • No padded seat

Detailed Review

Schwinn’s 270 Recumbent Bike is a premium – and a little expensive – bike but it seems to have an outstanding quality, based on our research. The bike is easy to set up and one of the most comfortable recumbent bikes to use.

The console of Schwinn’s 270 is dead-easy to set up depending on your fitness level (it comes with ready to use workout programs). Of course, it can be changed for each workout. Finally, it keeps track of your fitness workouts so you can track your progress as well.


2

Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike

Best Smart Recumbent Bike

The upgraded model of its popular 2014 model predecessor. It comes with Bluetooth syncing, so you can connect it with the RideSocial and Nautilus Trainer 2.

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Pros

  • Bluetooth syncing and connection with RideSocial and Nautilus Trainer 2 apps
  • 25 magnetic resistance levels
  • DualTrack blue backlit LCD console
  • MP3 player jack and built-in charging port
  • Easy assembly
  • Grip heart rate or telemetry enabled for chest strap
  • Whisper quiet when operating normally

Cons

  • A few people said that the seat is not so comfortable
  • Difficult to move

Detailed Review

Released in 2018, the R616 is one of the high-end models of Nautilus. It is the upgraded model of its popular 2014 model predecessor. The Nautilus R616 Recumbent Bike comes with Bluetooth syncing, so you can connect it with the RideSocial and Nautilus Trainer 2 Android or iOS App.

The bike has 29 workout programs,
25 resistance levels for a wide range of workout intensity options and a heart rate monitor. Based on user reviews it is a smooth, quiet, and pretty stable bike.


3

Vanswe Recumbent Exercise Bike

Best Value Smart Recumbent

It features Bluetooth Smart Technology with a free Fitness Data app available to help track your workouts (Android & iOS).

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Pros

  • The maximum weight capacity of this bike is 380lbs. 
  • It comes with transportation wheels, which allow users to move it around with ease. 
  • The seat is very comfortable. 

Cons

  • Some users have complained about problems in seat adjustability.

Detailed Review

The recumbent exercise bike by Vanswe has been manufactured to suit a variety of different workout intensities with its high degree of adjustability. It features a Magnetic Tension Control System that offers up to 16 different resistance levels. It weighs 53lbs, which makes it easy for users to move around without any difficulties. Moreover, it is equipped with transportation wheels that let a user move the bike around with the utmost convenience. Its dimensions are 45” ×20” ×40” with a maximum weight capacity of 380lbs. The machine is suitable for people as tall as 6’2”. It also features Bluetooth Smart Technology which is compatible with iOS and Android systems via a free Fitness Data app available to help track your workouts.

The recumbent exercise bike comes unassembled, but putting it together it not very difficult. The assembly instructions are easily understandable, and the hardware can be very quickly put together. The durable exercise bike comes with a three-year frame warranty and 90-day parts warranty. It is equipped with a wide LCD that displays time, speed, distance, calories burned, and RPM in a large font, which is easy-to-read and understand. The pedals come with straps that prevent the user’s feet from slipping.


4

MaxKare Recumbent Bike

Best Budget Comfortable Recumbent

The seat and the backrest are padded, which minimized the strain on a user’s back and joints. Even working out for long periods is comfortable with this exercise bike.

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Pros

  • It offers eight levels of resistance. 
  • It does not require a power source to function. 
  • The maximum weight capacity is 300lbs. 
  • It s ergonomically designed. 
  • The seat height can be adjusted.

Cons

  • The assembly instructions are not clear.

Detailed Review

Ergonomically designed, this recumbent exercise bike by MaxKare, one of the best fitness brands, is the best option for workout enthusiasts looking for personalized workout experience. It offers 8-level resistance while ensuring that generates minimum noise, letting users enjoy a smooth and quiet riding experience. It is made to provide a perfectly comfortable workout experience. It runs smoothly without requiring a power source with a magnetic resistance system. 

The seat and the backrest are padded, which minimized the strain on a user’s back and joints. Even working out for long periods is comfortable with this exercise bike. The seat’s height is also adjustable. The handles that are bolted on offer a firm and comfortable grip as they are padded. Users can additionally move the machine around as it comes equipped with transportation wheels. It weighs 65lbs and has a footprint of 45.7” (L)x 18.9” (W) x 41.7” (H). 


5
Best Value

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike

Best Budget Recumbent Bike

An excellent bike with magnetic resistance and maybe one of the best recumbent bikes for budgets < $250.

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Pros

  • 8 magnetic resistance levels
  • Comfort of seat (very high-density foam)
  • Easy-to-read LCD screen
  • Transport wheels for portability

Cons

  • It can be challenging for short people to adjust it so they can reach the pedals

Detailed Review

Marcy ME-709 is an excellent magnetic bike and maybe the best recumbent for budgets <200 $. It has everything that you need:

  • an 8-level Smooth magnetic resistance
  • adjustable seat and pedals
  • it can be moved pretty easy, as it features transport wheels for portability

How recumbent exercise bikes work?

The chair of the exercise bike allows the user to sit in a comfortable position while providing support for the back. This increased support is ideal for individuals who experience low back pain while using an upright bike, have difficulty getting into an upright back, or even for those looking for a more relaxed position while exercising.

Users of recumbent exercise bikes will also note that this implement does not require great amounts of core or upper body strength like an upright bike would. The chair provides all the necessary support, and the pedals are now in front of the body allowing the upper body to relax (compared to an upright bike where the pedals are underneath and the user must hold themselves upright from the handlebars, taxing the upper body).

While sitting in the chair, users can strap their feet on to the pedals and begin pedaling in the same manner as a standard bicycle. A small screen LCD display is provided above the pedals so users can control the amount of resistance the pedals provide, increasing and decreasing resistance levels as needed to match the level of workout you are trying to produce.

What muscles does a recumbent exercise bike work?

With the addition of the chair, the recumbent exercise bike is used to primarily work the muscles of the lower body. This includes

  • the quadriceps- vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris;
  • the hamstrings- biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus;
  • calves- gastrocnemius and soleus; and
  • muscles of the inner thighs- the adductors.

For this reason, the recumbent exercise bike is a great lower body workout, but it doesn’t end there. Since this is a cardio tool it also targets the heart and fine muscles that control the cardiovascular system. The work put in on an exercise bike can help elevate heart health metrics 1 such as increased blood flow, decreased build up in the arteries, plus strengthening the walls of the heart.

10 Best Recumbent Bike for Seniors (5 with Arm Workout) 2
Additional muscle groups worked by a recumbent exercise bike

Though the bike itself targets the lower body and cardiovascular system, the positioning of the chair allows the user to also include small hand weights for upper body exercises as shown in the picture above. For those comfortable using the recumbent exercise bike and are looking for an added challenge try incorporating small dumbbells or handheld weights for upper body movements like bicep curls, lateral raises or overhead presses.

To help maintain a healthy lifestyle it is suggested that you get at least 30 mins of cardiovascular training a day. This can be redefined as at least 30 minutes of movement that elevates your heart and breathing rate. If you are able to do both of those things you are training your cardiovascular system. The longer and more often you are able to engage in activities at this level, the greater the benefits.

Most people will choose to reach this daily requirement through running. If running is not your thing the next most common form of cardio training is cycling and/or swimming. We are going to focus on the cycle part of cardio training and in particular, cardio workout using a recumbent exercise bike.

What are the benefits of recumbent bikes?

The recumbent exercise bike shares many of the same benefits of the standard stationary bike, plus a few extra. Beginning with the extra, this bike is very user-friendly. The lower chair makes it easy to get into and out of while also provided added support for the back. This chair also mitigates the “saddle soreness” that is generally felt after sitting on a bicycle seat for extended periods of time. Lastly, the lack of support needed from the upper body also frees up the arms to perform small weighted movements for increased calorie burning and muscle toning.

Those are just the additional benefits a recumbent exercise bike can produce. Here are the standard benefits offered by these exercise bikes:

Increases Cardiovascular Fitness

This benefit was touched on earlier but let’s expand on why an increase in cardiovascular fitness is beneficial. Cardio workouts target the muscles that control the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Strengthening these increases your body’s ability to breathe in oxygen, exhale carbon dioxide, increase blood flow, and keeps these organs (the lungs and heart) functioning efficiently for extended health. 

All of these benefits are important to delay the process of aging. As we get older it becomes difficult to maintain muscle mass, keep off body fat, and our bodies become more susceptible to disease. Cardiovascular training mitigates each of these.

As the heart and lungs become stronger and more efficient, it is easier for the body to move oxygen from the heart and lungs to the muscles. This is very important because oxygen is utilized by the muscles to produce energy. If oxygen is being transported to the muscles at a higher rate, the muscles can be used at a higher intensity. This increase in intensity then helps us build and maintain sufficient strength and muscle mass.

The more muscle we have on our bodies the easier it is to keep body fat to a minimum. This is because muscle is a high energy tissue and when sufficient energy is not being provided the muscles turn to our body’s fat storage sites to provide what is needed. Yes, cardiovascular training increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the muscles, and thus the amount of energy they can produce, but this often isn’t enough. To make up the deficit, the body converts fat to energy so the muscles can continue to work.

The increased muscle mass decreased body fat, and overall increased efficiency of the cardiovascular system all aid in boosting the immune system. The cardiovascular system is responsible for moving immune cells throughout the body to sites that are currently being affected. Increasing blood flow decreases the time and energy needed to move these cells around. In addition to this, fat stores often create inflammation in the body which dampens the effectiveness of our immune system. Increasing muscle to further decrease fat eliminates this stress on the immune system, allowing it to focus on fighting illness and other stressors.

Beyond improving the body’s efficiency and composition, cardiovascular training on the recumbent bike can also lead to better mood, more energy and decreased stress throughout the day. Any time we exercise the body releases hormones in the form of dopamine, serotonin, and a few others. These first two target the pleasure centers of the brain leaving you with a euphoric feeling post-workout.

Reduced Stress on Joints

The recumbent exercise bike isn’t just good to boost your mood though, it is also used to help with joint pain.

A huge benefit of the recumbent bike is that this implement is very low impact. It does not require jumping, loading, or repetitive beating on the legs (as in running). Instead, the feet are strapped to the pedals and one cyclic movement is performed without interruption from an outside source, such as the ground. This greatly reduces the amount of force being placed on the joints.

Recumbent bikes are used in many therapy settings for this exact reason; little to no impact stress is produced which allows the joints to move through a healthy range of motion without stress. This benefit is particularly useful for individuals with arthritis or gout.

A joint faced with either arthritis or gout is often inflamed to the point of pain. It can become even more inflamed or painful when trying to exercise because of the impact forces present in most forms of training. Since the recumbent bike produces little to no force, this form of training can be used without increasing joint pain 2 . Furthermore, being able to produce movement can help clear inflammation in the joints, reducing pain for periods beyond the workout.

As the muscles surrounding an arthritic joint are activated, they increase the blood flow surrounding the area which helps clear inflammation and waste from both the muscles and the joint. Let’s take the knee for example, an individual with arthritic knees can use a recumbent bike to exercise the legs without placing impact on the knees which keeps pain to a minimum. Beyond that, as the quads, hamstrings, and calves begin to work through pedaling, the amount of blood flowing to the legs and past the knee increases. As blood gets pushed past the knee it can provide immune cells to help clear the inflammation within the joint as well as remove waste that could be causing the pain. This movement will decrease pain beyond the workout interval.  

The joints of the lower body aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the recumbent bike though. The seated position and additional support provided from the chair decreases the amount of stress placed on the low back as well. For those suffering from back pain, the recumbent bike is a great alternative so you are still able to perform cardio exercises and increase the amount of calories you burn on a daily basis.

Weight Loss

Any form of exercise will increase the amount of energy used by the body, the same is true when using a recumbent bike. As you engage in higher intensity or longer duration workouts on the recumbent bike, your body will burn through calories at an increased rate. This increase in calories burned can aid in weight loss.

A popular form of training for weight loss is high-intensity interval training, and this form of training can easily be performed on a recumbent bike to help you on your weight loss journey. The idea behind high-intensity interval training is to perform short 60-90s sprinting intervals, pedaling at max speed, followed by short 60-90s rest intervals. Repeat this 8-10 times for a great calorie-burning workout.

Toning of Legs

The last benefit we will discuss ties in everything from above, and that is the benefit of toned legs.

The recumbent exercise bike primarily uses the muscles of the lower body, and with the screen attachment, you can choose how much resistance is placed against the legs while pedaling. Increasing the resistance levels pushes the muscles to work at a higher level, while a decreased resistance will allow you to focus more on the cardiovascular benefits; either way, the muscles of the legs are being worked and built throughout the training session.

There’s no escaping the benefits a recumbent bike has to offer. This low impact, stress-reducing, muscle building, cardio workout machine is perfect for any user trying to improve their health and fitness.

Why is this type of workout so effective?

As we touched on earlier, the recumbent exercise bike taxes the cardiovascular system and our body’s ability to bring energy to the muscles. When performing high-intensity interval training you are pushing to the maximum intensity which means the muscles need a greatly increased amount of energy. We often cannot breathe in enough oxygen to keep up with this energy need so, as we pointed out earlier, the muscles turn to fat stores for the rest of their needs.

This is just the first part though. High-intensity interval training isn’t just about high-intensity intervals, it is also paramount to keep rest periods shorts for this taxes our energy system to the point of needing extended recovery. So much energy is needed to perform these workouts correctly that our bodies have to keep energy production elevated for hours after the workout in order to make up for the deficit created during the workout. This means your body is burning calories at a higher rate for longer post-workout. And all of this can be done while sitting in a chair using a recumbent bike.

Recumbent Bike with Arm Handles – Is It Right For You?

While this at-home exercise bike style can be an excellent choice for anyone, and it does mostly come down to preference, there are a couple of target demographics that a recumbent bike with arm exercisers are intended for.

  • Recovery and Rehabilitation

For those lacking mobility or for those coming back from an upper-body injury. Utilizing recumbent bikes with arm exercisers for low-impact movements can be a fantastic method for recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Full-body Intensity

For those in the market for a recumbent bike but want more. Investing in a model that comes equipped with arm exercisers, whether its resistance bands, handlebars, or elliptical handles, maybe your calling.

With all of that being said, a recumbent bike with arms can be for anyone and is a great way to stay fit and healthy. 

Benefits of Arm Exercisers 

Similar to the considerations of whether or not this type of bike is for you, the benefits of utilizing arm exercisers are much the same. While they simply provide an additional stimulus to a standard recumbent exercise bike, they also offer much more. As mentioned above, they offer an excellent means of recovery and rehabilitation. Besides, it also provides a means of greater intensity. Lastly, it allows the user to hit every muscle in the body – both upper and lower.

Here’s a quick recap of benefits:

  • Rehab & recovery
  • Full body
  • Intensity
  • New stimulus 

Types of Arm Handles

Since this article is focused on recumbent bikes with arm handles, it’s essential to understand each type.

  • Padded Hand Pedals

This upper-body handle style is excellent for those with a lack of mobility, ideal for those not looking to reach peak intensity. Think of these as bike pedals for your arms, rotating similarly as a standard bike pedal with minimal mobility, no adjustability, yet effective.

  • Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are a fantastic alternative to standard handlebars. The allowable range of motion from using bands far exceeds any other handlebar. Additionally, it provides tension both on the eccentric and concentric portions of the movement.

  • Elliptical-Style Handles

Are you looking for a full-body workout? These styles of handles are for you. These long, moveable handlebars are ideal for hitting full-body musculature. These handlebars allow your arms to reach a greater range of motion on the pulling and pushing portions of the movement.

Recumbent Bike vs Upright Bike

We already speak about Recumbent Bikes in our Guide. What about Upright Bikes?

Woman using the upright bike Marcy ME-702

Upright exercise bikes have been popular for many decades now. In fact, they are probably still more popular than recumbent bikes, or at the very least, they’re more readily available.

Upright stationary exercise bikes basically do what they say on the tin. We won’t get too technical when describing them because there’s not a great deal to say. These bikes have typically been designed to closely resemble standard road bikes. Basically, if you imagine a road bike, without the wheels, that’s what you get with an upright exercise bike.

So, which do you choose? Well, to help you get a better understanding, here’s a look at the key benefits.

Benefits of Upright and Recumbent Bikes

A. Upright bike benefits

  • More cycling options – One of the main benefits of upright exercise bikes is the fact that they offer more cycling options. You can either sit down and pedal, or stand up and pedal.
  • Affordable – Because they’re so readily available, upright exercise bikes tend to be more affordable than recumbent bikes. This means that, if you’re buying one to use at home and are on a budget, they’re ideal.
  • Great for the core – If you’re looking to target your core and work your abs, upright bikes are perfect. Because your body is upright as you pedal, more resistance is placed upon the abs, meaning that your core gets a great workout.
  • Builds muscle – As well as being great for cardio, upright bikes also work very well for building muscle. This is because, when upright, you engage your deltoids, biceps, and triceps. If you stand up and pedal, you’ll also work your glutes and quads.

B. Recumbent bike benefits

  • Comfort – One of the best things about using recumbent bikes is the fact that they’re so much more comfortable than upright bikes.
  • Better for the back – If you deal with back pain or discomfort, recumbent bikes are much better for the lumbar spine (lower back) because you are sat back, instead of being hunched forwards.
  • Great for the joints – Even though stationary bikes aren’t especially high-impact, they are generally harder on the joints than recumbent bikes. Recumbent bikes put no pressure on the joints, and the seat itself offers support for the back.
  • Great for hamstring muscles – A research 3 showed that novice cyclists activated their hamstrings with more force while pedaling a recumbent than a regular bicycle 4 .

Which bike to choose?

So, out of the two, which should you choose? Well, that all depends on your goals and personal circumstances. If comfort is a priority, a recumbent bike would be better. If you’re looking for a way of working your abs at the same time, perhaps an upright bike would be better?

Incorporating recumbent bikes into your routine

The recumbent bike does not require a high level of technique to use properly which makes it an easy tool that you can start incorporating into your training today. The recumbent bike can be used as part of your workout or for your entire workout, the choice is yours.

When incorporating the recumbent bike as a supplemental form of training, you can use it to warm up before your lifts, to get in some intervals after a strength session, or just for a long ride while watching your favorite talk show hosts. If, however, you prefer to use it for a full workout try some of the following:

Beginners Workout

Perfect for those trying the recumbent bike for the first time, or those who need a lower intensity workout for the day’s training

  1. Warm-up 5-10 minutes easy intensity
  2. Intervals (low resistance)
    • 5 minutes medium intensity
    • 2 minutes high intensity
    • 5 minutes medium intensity
    • 2 minutes high intensity
    • 5 minutes medium intensity
    • 2 minutes high intensity
  3. Cooldown 5-10 minutes easy intensity

Fat Loss Workout

This workout targets the benefits of high-intensity interval training so push the medium and hard intensities to maximize energy needs and calories burned

  1. Warm-up 5-10 minutes easy intensity
  2. Intervals (medium resistance)           
    • 60s easy intensity
    • 60s medium intensity
    • 30s hard intensity
    • 60s medium intensity
    • 30s hard intensity
  3. Repeat for 5 rounds (total of 20 minutes)
  4. Cooldown 5-10 minutes easy intensity, low resistance

Full Body Workout

The chair setup allows the arms to be free, grab some dumbbells and put those arms to work for a full-body workout on the recumbent bike.

  1. Warm-up 5-10 minutes easy intensity
  2. Intervals with hand weights
    • 2 min medium intensity, no lifting
    • 1 min easy intensity, add in bicep curls
    • 2 min medium intensity, no lifting
    • 1 min easy intensity, add in lateral raises
    • 2 min medium intensity, no lifting
    • 1 min easy intensity, add in overhead press
  3. Repeat for 3 rounds
  4. Cooldown 5-10 minutes easy intensity, low resistance

Conclusion

Using and incorporating the recumbent bike is quite easy to do. Throw in all the benefits this implement has to offer and you’ll understand why this should be incorporated as often as possible. Reap the benefits of recumbent cardio training today by trying out one of our workouts, or perhaps one of your own.


References:

  1. Indoor cycling for older adults, https://www.health.harvard.edu/
  2. Exercise on a Stationary Bike With Arthritis, https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/arthritis-friendly/stationary-bike.php
  3. Electromyography during pedaling on upright and recumbent ergometer, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24567858
  4. Ask Well: Recumbent Bike vs. Upright Bike vs. Elliptical Machine, https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/15/ask-well-recumbent-bike-vs-upright-bike-vs-elliptical-machine/
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The article has been researched & compiled by the Editorial IF-FIT Team, a group of experienced fitness & health writers.

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