Both elliptical machines and stationary cycles may provide an excellent cardio exercise and are less taxing on your joints than, say, running outside. Still, the way they move your body and the benefits that result are different. Part of it is because you are standing on one and sitting on the other, but the muscle groups targeted also differ. But is one always “better” than the other? This article explains the differences between elliptical machines and stationary bikes and how they may both (or both) fit into your training program.
What Are Elliptical Machines?
Elliptical machines, also called elliptical cross trainers, are a type of exercise machine with a long, low-to-the-floor base with a crossbar that you stand on. The base is designed to move back and forth over a set path, allowing you to simulate running. As you move your legs, an arm located at the base of the machine moves back and forth, working your upper body in a way that mimics arm movement in running that can help strengthen the upper body.
The Benefits of Elliptical Machines
Elliptical machines are great for building up the glutes, quads, core, and lower back and making your entire lower body more robust. They also work a variety of smaller muscle groups in the upper body. This can help tighten up the midsection and prevent lower back pain by working the muscles around the hips and lower back.
Elliptical machines are also great for people with joint problems, as they allow you to maintain your range of motion and can be easier on your joints than other low-impact cardio options.
What are Stationary Bikes?
Stationary bikes, also known as exercise bikes, or upright bikes, are another type of cardio machine seated and can be a great alternative to running. Unlike elliptical machines, stationary bikes have no moving parts and require you to move your body up and down to create the movement. This is an excellent option for people who want to focus more on cardio but don’t want to get off their seats.
The Benefits of Stationary Bikes
Stationary bikes have different resistance levels, allowing you to build up your endurance safely. This is a good option for someone looking to build up their endurance before moving on to more challenging workouts or looking to build up their endurance quickly but with less of a focus on their strength.
Stationary bikes also allow you to put your arms at your sides and focus on your legs. This can be a good choice for those who don’t want to target their upper body or those with joint problems that make it challenging to use an elliptical.
Which is Better: Using an Elliptical Machine or Using a Stationary Bike?
To decide which is better for you, you need to consider a few things. When looking for a workout plan and choosing the equipment to do it on, consider your goals and which lower-body muscles you want to work.
Are you looking to build up your endurance and improve cardiovascular health? Stationary bikes are an excellent choice for that. Are you looking to build up strength, improve your balance, and strengthen your core? Then an elliptical machine is the way to go. You also need to consider how much you’ve been exercising and what type of workout you want to do. If you’re starting out and want to improve your endurance and cardiovascular health, you may want to start with a stationary bike until you’re ready for more of a challenge.
If you’re already used to exercising and want to focus more on your strength, you may want to consider an elliptical machine. Whether you choose an elliptical machine or a stationary bike, both provide benefits, and both can be part of a great exercise plan.
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