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Elliptical Machine Vs. Exercise Bike - Which One is Better?

Between the two workout machines, the elliptical machine is found to be better as it puts all the muscles to work in comparison to an exercise bike that is essentially a lower body workout.
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Difference between elliptical machine and exercise bike
Workout Tip
Higher the intensity of the exercise, more will be the calories burnt. So, whichever exercise you choose, make sure it is done at a high intensity.

While exercising at the gym is just as important to lose weight, most experts agree that the type of machine you choose for your workout counts as well. The elliptical machine and exercise bike are the two commonly found workout machines at the gym. An elliptical trainer mimics the actions of stair climbing and running without the associated joint impact. On the other hand, the exercise bike simulates the action of driving a traditional bicycle. Elliptical training gives a more effective exercise session in comparison to the exercise bike, which is designed to build only lower body muscles.

Following are the factors that you should consider before choosing between the two fitness machines.

Workout
An elliptical trainer provides a full body workout―meaning both the lower and upper body are involved during exercise. You move your arms and legs to and fro, which gives a good workout to your biceps, triceps, pectorals, quadriceps, and calves. In addition, a hands-free elliptical training is a great way to exercise your deep core muscles. You engage all your core muscles when you do the elliptical workout without holding the handles. Thus, exercising on elliptical machines without grabbing the moving handles is like doing core strength training.

An exercise bike is useful to strengthen your lower body. It is designed to train your legs, and it helps build calves and quadriceps. In addition, the muscles in the buttocks and the lower abdomen also get a good deal of workout during the pedaling motion.

Calories Burnt
A vigorous elliptical training regimen replicates the action of running, which means overall muscle usage is more in comparison to an exercise bike that builds lower body strength. Being a whole body exercise, workout sessions on the elliptical machine tend to be more efficient and result in higher calorie burnout. So, one can say that elliptical training that provides full body workout blasts more calories than exercises done on a stationary bike.

The movement of arms during elliptical training is what contributes to excess calorie burn. Also, an elliptical trainer that has features that allow you take longer strides is better at burning more calories.

Joint-friendly Workout
Exercises done on both machines are easy on the joints. One can workout on both the fitness devices without experiencing an associated joint impact. It is a low-impact activity that puts very less strain on the joints. Hence, the elderly, especially those suffering from joint problems, would be comfortable in trying both these fitness equipment.

Intensity
Both fitness equipment are effective when it comes to losing weight. Although the elliptical trainer helps burn extra calories, what matters is the intensity at which the exercise is done. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) performed either on an exercise bike or elliptical training burns massive amount of calories, which works to reduce weight fast. HIIT involves switching between short periods of intense activity and long periods of low intensity exercise.

For instance, an HIIT elliptical workout involves repeated bouts of 30-second sprints interspersed with 2 minutes of low intensity exercise. An HIIT session usually lasts for not more than 15-20 minutes. Don't forget to warm up for 5 minutes before starting your interval training. So, whether you are on the elliptical machine or the exercise bike, make sure to follow the HIIT routine to maximize fat burning.

When you plan to exercise at a moderate intensity for 30-60 minutes, then opting for an elliptical machine is a better choice to lose weight. The elliptical machine is versatile and engages more muscles during an exercise session. As a result, elliptical training offers higher rate of calorie burning than the exercise bike.

Caution
HIIT is a strenuous exercise routine and should be done at the most thrice a week. It is advised that people with joint problems or impaired heart or lung problems should refrain from doing HIIT. Obese people may find it difficult to incorporate an HIIT session into their exercise routine. In such situations, it is advised to perform exercises at a stable intensity.

Cost
When comparing the cost of both fitness devices, it is observed that buying an elliptical trainer is certainly heavier on the pocket. In addition, elliptical training for even 10 minutes may seem difficult initially for beginners, whereas long duration workouts on an exercise bike can make your butt sore. Fitting seat cushions on the bike may help resolve this issue.

On the whole, people enjoy workouts done on both fitness machines. However, you may find one workout monotonous, while the other as lively. So, it is up to you to decide which workout routine you enjoy the most, and that can be followed without fail for years to come.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.
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Published: March 14, 2014
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