Indoor Cycling Bike vs Elliptical Machine

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Have you ever found yourself in a gym trying to figure out if you should use the elliptical bike or spinning bike to elevate your heart rate? Or maybe you want to get one of these exercise equipment for your home gym, but you only have space for one machine, so you have to decide which equipment to go with. Both machines are great for cardio workouts, but they move the body differently and have different benefits. 

What is an Elliptical Machine?

Elliptical machines are designed for cardiovascular workouts. They simulate aerobic exercises like walking, running, or stair-climbing, using the upper and lower body. Elliptical machines get their names from the movement pattern created when on them. They have suspended pedals that are moved up and down or forward and backward. Since the motion is fluid, movement on the machine does not stress the spinal structures.

What is an Indoor Cycling Bike?

Indoor cycling bikes, commonly referred to as spin bikes, are indoor versions of bicycles and can be used throughout the year. They have average or racing bike seats designed to be adjustable.

Benefits of Using both Exercise Equipment

Puts less stress on your spine and joints. Running and other high-impact cardio exercises can affect your knees, hips, and other joints. When using an elliptical or indoor bike, your feet do not leave the pedals, providing a low-impact cardio workout. Using any of these will guarantee you a high-impact exercise without the usual spine and joint pain that comes with high-impact cardio exercises.

Boosts your cardio capacity. Aerobic exercises cause your heart and lungs to provide more oxygen and blood to your muscles. Elliptical machines and indoor cycling bikes provide you with good aerobic exercises to strengthen your heart and lungs and build your stamina.

Great lower body workout. Both types of equipment provide excellent lower body workouts. Elliptical machines with handles provide both upper and lower body workouts. They’re one of the few cardio machines that can do so. To maximize this benefit, it’s important to pump your arms as fast as you’re moving your legs. 

Burns a lot of calories. One way to burn plenty of calories in a short amount of time is by using elliptical machines and indoor cycling bikes. You can burn about 90 to 140 calories in 10 minutes, depending on your weight. 

Woman Exercising on Elliptical Cross Trainer

Comparing Both Exercise Equipment

Indoor cycling bikes and elliptical machines are excellent choices for burning calories and improving cardio health. But are they the same, or is one better than the other? Below, we compare both exercise equipment in a few crucial areas to assist you in choosing the best one for you.

Worked muscles

An indoor cycling bike engages your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, core, and calf muscles. Sitting on an indoor bike can help you if you have balance issues. If you do not have such issues, you may choose to stand on the bike pedals when increased resistance levels. Higher resistance levels will help you strengthen your legs as you push. 

The elliptical machine better exercises your glutes, quadriceps, and external hip muscles. Those with handles will help work your biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest. So, while a spin bike focuses on the legs and core, an elliptical bike helps you exercise the arms, legs, and core. 


A spin bike is designed to give you the feeling of riding a bike. The seat and handlebars are adjustable, and you can fit them to specific heights to achieve maximum benefits. One can alter the resistance level by turning a knob in the front. However, many spin bikes do not have full-featured consoles and lack spaces where you can put your phone or iPod.

An elliptical machine is designed to provide a low-impact version of walking and running. Those with handles allow you to use your arms while on the machine. You can alter the resistance level and speed to suit your needs. The machine gets its name from its elliptical pattern of movement. Some find this elliptical motion awkward but eventually become used to it. Others just can’t get used to it no matter how hard they try to. 

Space and storage

Spin bikes and elliptical machines usually come with transport wheels you can use to move them to and from storage. The latter usually weighs more than the former, but you can hardly tell the difference when they’re on transport wheels. Both machines are almost the same size and typically require about the same amount of space for storage. 

Final Thoughts

Elliptical machines and indoor cycling bikes will provide you with an excellent cardio workout while being easier on your bones and joints than other high-impact cardio exercises. They have some differences, but that doesn’t necessarily mean one is better than the other. While deciding which one to go with, you have to consider your goals and personal preference. Remember, nothing stops you from using both exercise equipment in your exercise routine.

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