Using exercise equipment is a great way to improve and maintain your fitness. However, when choosing the right equipment option for you, the question may arise, "What is better to buy: a stationary bike or an elliptical?" Here is our advice.
Basic cardio equipment in a gym
As we mentioned at the beginning, an elliptical and a stationary bike are the most basic pieces of equipment available in a gym. By using them, you can perform intense cardio exercises. Also a treadmill will be appreciated. All these devices are also suitable for home use, due to their relatively small size. The equipment will allow you to work out at any time.
If you want to take care of your overall fitness, it is worth choosing all these devices. Each of them has a different purpose and helps to achieve a different training goal. However, in case you are just buying one, you should know the features of each machine. Treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical bikes can be equipped with a number of features to optimize the training process.
Characteristics of stationary bikes
Stationary bikes train the lower body muscles as well as the abdominal muscles. Thanks to the sitting position, the exercise can be very intense.
In terms of operating mechanism, we can distinguish three types of stationary bikes: mechanical, magnetic and electromagnetic. In terms of the type of construction, and therefore the position taken, we distinguish between vertical, horizontal and spinning bikes.
Regardless of the type of exercise bike, the exercise pattern remains the same. It is based on a simulation of riding a real bike (e.g. city bike or road bike). The user determines the intensity of the effort while pedaling by adjusting the resistance. Stationary bikes can have a built-in calorie consumption meter, pulsometer or other measuring tools.
Types of stationary bikes
We would now like to briefly introduce you to all types of stationary bikes. First of all, let's take a look at the mechanical bikes. This is the most popular variant of this type of equipment.
Mechanical bikes work on the principle of frictional resistance of the steering wheel. This means that this equipment is equipped with an element similar to a conventional bicycle brake, the operation of which can be adjusted by a button, thus determining the force with which we will pedal.
In the case of magnetic bikes, the resistance is generated by means of a magnetic brake. The user also has a wider range and greater precision in determining the intensity with which he will train. Due to the use of more modern technical solutions, magnetic bikes are more expensive than mechanical bikes.
The third group is the electromagnetic bikes. Their mechanism is based on an electromagnet that attracts the wheel. As the power of the electromagnet increases, the pedaling resistance increases. This type of equipment is the most advanced variant of stationary bikes. They are equipped with a number of sensors and features that enhance the workout.
Now let's move on to the second type of classification and analyze the training bikes in terms of design. In this regard, upright bikes are the most basic. Their use mirrors that of a conventional bicycle. They allow the user to assume an upright position - hence the name. Although these types of bikes are equipped with a spacious seat, they are not intended for people with spinal and circulatory system problems.
Horizontal stationary bikes are larger in size than upright bikes and are suitable for higher loads. Horizontal bikes have a saddle with a backrest. In addition, the position we adopt during training ensures safe exercise not only for the elderly, people with spinal injuries, cardiovascular disease or obesity.
The third type of stationary bikes are spinning bikes. Their design forces the user to adopt a very inclined body position. A special chain or band is used for the circular movement and the seat is very narrow. This type of equipment is usually chosen by more advanced and physically fit people who are ready for an intense workout.
What is an Elliptical?
What is an elliptical and how is it different from a stationary bike? Let's start with the fact that this equipment allows us to simulate a run. When you work out on an elliptical, you stand on the stationary pedals and hold the handlebars. Once you are in the right position on the equipment, all you have to do is move the levers you are holding and press the pedals with your feet.
Elliptical bikes, as well as stationary bikes, come in several types. In this case, the division is only due to the type of braking mechanism. The most basic versions of the equipment are equipped with a physical brake. Its resistance is adjusted manually with the help of a special button. This type of equipment is a proposal for people who are beginning to train, and their disadvantage is the noise they emit.
The second type are magnetic elliptical bikes. Their action is based on the resistance generated by the magnets. These machines are intended for slightly more advanced people, as they allow a greater range of resistance adjustment than in the case of mechanical versions. It should also be added that this type of endurance equipment is very quiet during training.
The third group is the electromagnetic elliptical bikes. As you can easily guess, electromagnets are responsible for charging this type of equipment. The intensity of the workout can be adjusted here from the level of the electronic control panel. Therefore, the change of drive intensity takes place here without the need to stop it.
When considering the choice - a stationary bike or an elliptical bike - it is also important to know that elliptical bikes, in addition to cardio exercise, also allow you to develop leg, abdominal and arm muscles. During the workout, you simulate a run.
Elliptical or stationary bike - main differences
Which to choose: an elliptical or a stationary bike? Everyone has to answer this question for themselves. The two machines work on completely different principles and therefore allow for a completely different type of workout. If your goal is more intense activity to simulate a bike ride, you should choose an exercise bike.
If, on the other hand, you want your workout to be as close to jogging as possible, it is worth choosing an elliptical. This equipment works the muscles in your legs, arms and buttocks very well. It also has a good effect on the spine. When choosing a bike, you should also consider your comfort level and your physical abilities.
Elliptical or stationary bike - conclusion
What to choose: an elliptical or a stationary bike. If possible, invest in both machines. Your workouts will be more varied and you will be able to work on other parts of your body.
When making your choice, consider the different types of stationary bikes and ellipticals. The mechanism and design of this training equipment can be of great importance not only for comfort and convenience, but also for your health.