elliptical vs treadmill vs bike

Treadmill vs Elliptical Trainer VS Exercise Bike |Which Machine is Best for Your Cardio Exercise! 

As there are several different stationary exercise equipment available in the market, it’s only natural that you might get confused about which one to buy and what would best fit your fitness requirements and needs.

To make your buying process much more comfortable, in this article, we have discussed the three most common pieces of stationary exercise equipment, such as - a treadmill, an exercise bike, and an elliptical trainer.

So that you know their various aspects and how they differ from each other so make your final call effortlessly.

But first, let’s compare and contrast between these stationary exercises tools to understand their similarities as well as their differences.

From this article, you'll learn lots of stuffs below

Now that we know the differences and similarities between these pieces of exercise equipment let’s discuss them in detail to find out more useful information.

Overview of Elliptical vs Treadmill vs Exercise Bike

ELLIPTICAL TRAINER

Schwinn Elliptical

Schwinn Elliptical

Muscles Worked: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and anterior tibialis

Calorie Burning: High

Joint Impact: Low

Workout Intensity: Low intensity


Variability: Variable

Tracking Workouts: Yes

Ease of use: Yes

Reliability: A low-impact, easy to use the equipment.

Budget Range: High

TREADMILL

NordicTrack Treadmill

NordicTrack Treadmill

Muscles Worked: Quadriceps and hamstrings, the calves and the glutes

Calorie Burning: High

Joint Impact: High

Workout Intensity: High-intensity


Variability: Less variable

Tracking Workouts: Yes

Ease of use: Yes

Reliability: A treadmill can be an excellent training tool.


Budget Range: High

EXERCISE BIKE

Yosuda Exercise Bike

Yosuda Exercise Bike

Muscles Worked: Calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps, core, back, and glutes

Calorie Burning: Moderate

Joint Impact: Moderate

Workout Intensity: Moderate intensity

Variability: Variable

Tracking Workouts: Yes

Ease of use: Yes

Reliability: Great tool if you have bad knees or are rehabbing from a lower-body injury.

Budget Range: Budget-friendly

Differences You Should Know : Treadmill vs Exercise Bike vs Elliptical Trainer

MUSCLES WORKED

One of the main reasons you work out is to build your muscles. But remember that as these exercises tools (treadmill, stationary recumbent bike, and elliptical) are cardio machines, they would tone and strengthen your muscles rather than doubling the muscle mass. If you are okay with this fact, then it would be wise for you to buy any of these machines.

Treadmill


To start with, a treadmill can simulate walking, jogging, running, or hiking, depending on the settings you choose.

And as it mimics such movements, a treadmill works excellent on the lower-body muscles like quadriceps, hamstrings and improves your cardiovascular system.


Along with burning calories from your entire body, this piece of exercise equipment strengthen them and make the tonner than before so that you can enjoy more active and fit legs than ever before.

Exercise Bike


Similar to a treadmill, a stationary bike also works on lower body muscles. However, along with the glutes and the calves, this piece of exercise equipment also targets the thighs, quads, hamstrings, and buttocks and works them so that all your lower-body muscles are strengthened and toned perfectly.

Elliptical Trainer

On the other hand, unlike the treadmill and exercise bike, the elliptical trainer works on all the muscles of your body.

From the glutes, back muscles, arms, chest, and stomach to the buttocks, thigh muscles, and hamstring, this exercise equipment will provide you a full-body workout and tone all your muscles; this not only saves time but also saves energy.

Verdict: If your only concern is your lower body, then you should pick a stationary recumbent or indoor cycling bike as it is more effective in targeting the quads and hamstrings than a treadmill. However, an elliptical would be the best choice as it offers a total body workout.

CALORIE BURNING

Most people buy a stationary exercise tool with the hope of burning calories and shed their body fat. But when they try to zero in a machine, this question always pops up in their mind- “which machine will help you to lose weight faster?”

Well, aside from the tool type, losing weight fast also depends on some other factors. Let’s find out.

Treadmill

If burning lots of calories is your main goal, then the treadmill is an excellent option for you. As it simulates numerous running and walking positions, you can always run your way to burn those extra fats from your body.

So exactly, how effective is this tool?

Well, 150 lbs Person would burn up to 668.2 calories in every hour they run. The same 150 lbs Person would burn around 340.9 calories per hour on an elliptical trainer.

Now, you decide how effective is this piece of exercise equipment in shedding your body weight?

Exercise Bike

A stationary exercise bike is not as effective in burning your body fat as a treadmill. That’s because, unlike a treadmill and an elliptical exercise trainer, you sit on the bike, which means that all those muscles in your core are not working as hard as you would want them to burn more calories at once. Instead, these muscles sit back and relax, making your calorie burning process slow down.

Elliptical Trainer

As an elliptical trainer works on both upper and lower body, it is the king of calorie burning and fat shedding.

This amazing piece of exercise equipment involves all your body muscles and, therefore, burns more calories than the other 2 tools.

Verdict: We would not suggest any particular exercise tool for burning fat effectively. This is because the fat burning process greatly depends on how comfortable you are on the exercise equipment.

The chances are that whichever tool you are most comfortable on would burn the most calories than the others.

When you don’t feel comfortable on an exercise tool, and it annoys your body in some way or the other, it’s most probable that you won’t enjoy using it, which, in turn, will affect the fat burning procedure.

Therefore, if your main aim is to shed weight and get fit, we would suggest you to favor a piece of exercise equipment you are most comfortable on.

Comparison of Treadmill, Exercise Bike & Elliptical Trainer

JOINT IMPACT

Everyone worries about the impact an exercise tool might impose on the joint. The high impact a tool has on the joints, the higher chances of causing injuries and strains on the joints; and similarly, a low impact machine puts fewer strains on your joints exposes them to less harm and injuries.

Let’s talk about which exercise equipment is the best for your joints and why.

Treadmill

A treadmill has the highest joint impact and is most probably to cause severe pain in your joints after the workout.

This is because, if you choose to run on this tool, you would for sure suffer from shin splints; knee pain, ankle pain, and low back pain; all these pains are a “must-have” after-effects and could cause a long-lasting impact in the future.

Exercise Bike

In comparison with the treadmill, a stationary exercise bike provides a moderate intensity workout session, and thus, it doesn’t cause an as severe joint impact as a treadmill.

Even though it provides a lesser impact exercise session, as your knees move from a very bent to straight position multiple times in each workout regimen, it still can be stressful on your joints to an extent.

Elliptical Trainer

On the other hand, an elliptical trainer is entirely opposite of a treadmill and an exercise bike; to not only reduce the joint impact but also to revive your joint injuries, there is nothing as useful as an elliptical trainer.

The elliptical trainer was specially designed to be easy on the joints of your body. As you even don’t need to step on the tool since your feet are always in the footpads, this piece of exercise equipment provides zero impact on your joints, making sure that you don’t suffer from pain after the workout.

Also, because this tool doesn’t put any strain and stress on your joints, people with injuries and joint pain would find this machine particularly helpful to get rid of the uncomfortable and workout for a more fit and active physique.

Verdict: If you want to avoid joint impact and enjoy a pain-free workout session, then choosing the right exercise tool is completely black and white, as an elliptical trainer has the least joint stress with a low impact workout, it would be the best choice to make.

Elliptical Trainer

WORKOUT INTENSITY

Intense workouts keep your body fit and active. But it doesn’t mean that if your body doesn’t agree, you still have to try out high-intensity exercises just for the sake of getting fit quickly.

Various stationary exercise tools come with different levels of workout intensities. Let’s find out which machine offers what type of intensity and what is best for your body.

Treadmill

Like joint impact, treadmills also provide high-intensity workouts, which means that it won’t be an excellent choice for beginners as well as people with joint pains or less mobility.

The reason this piece of exercise equipment is not suitable for everyone is that it put more stress on your body while working out.

If you don’t handle it precisely, high-intensity workout has the potential to cause injuries and pain and might throw you out of the training for several days.

Exercise Bike

Unlike a treadmill, a stationary exercise bike tends to offer a range of intensity levels so that you always have the opportunity to pick just the right one according to your needs and fitness level.

As most of these bikes come with a wide range of resistances, it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an expert or someone with limited mobility, you will always find just the right level of intensity to workout with effectively.

Elliptical Trainer

Similar to an exercise bike, an elliptical trainer also offers a wide range of workout intensities for the convenience of its riders.

Everyone with every type of body and fitness level would find an intensity level to exercise with and get fit and healthy like never before.

Verdict: If you are someone who likes it comfortable yet practical, then it’s for the best that you choose either an exercise bike or an elliptical trainer for your regular workout sessions as they provide a variety of intensity levels to choose from for versatile, efficient exercises.

VARIABILITY

What is variability? Why does the variability matters when it comes to exercise machines?

Well, in simple words, variability measures the ability of the tool to provide versatile workout sessions and to avoid boredom as well as keep one motivated to the regimen.

It matters because it determines how likely you are to hit a progress plateau. It also keeps into account how likely it is that you discontinue your workout regimen as you just don’t look forward to your end goals.

Treadmill

In a word, a treadmill doesn’t provide any variability is terms of versatile exercises. This tool indeed offers you with different running, walking, and jogging pace, but it cannot deliver any other types of variety.

Exercise Bike

Similar to the treadmill, an exercise bike also lacks in variability. Even though it allows you to try out different resistances for different intensity workouts and lets you pedal while watching TV or listening to music.

This piece of exercise equipment is just not enough to create an interesting workout regimen for you to keep you away from boredom.

Elliptical Trainer

The elliptical trainer also wins in this department. As this amazing exercise tool offers a variety of movements, it can be concluded that it provides variability like no other.

From a forward and a backward movement to steep or shallow incline and different levels of resistance, this piece of exercise equipment will never fail to provide you plenty of options to work with and reach your fitness goals faster.

Verdict: If you are someone who wants to practice versatile exercises in their regular workout regimen, then an elliptical trainer is a “must-buy” piece of exercise tool for you.

Along with different workout regimens, this machine also helps you to get healthy and fit quicker than the other two.


Wrapping Up

By now, as you know everything you need to know about a treadmill, an exercise bike, and an elliptical, and also have a great idea how they differ from one another. We can assume that buying the right tool for you would be much more comfortable than before.

All these exercise tools are phenomenal in their own rights and departments. They help you to perform cardio workouts, tone your muscles, and boost your endurance.

However, picking the right type of tool solely depends on your needs and fitness level, and that’s why it would be a great decision if you choose the “the one” by yourself rather than listening to our suggestions.

NordicTrack T Series Treadmill

NordicTrack T Series Treadmill

YOSUDA Exercise Bike

YOSUDA Exercise Bike

Schwinn Compact Elliptical

Schwinn Compact Elliptical


About the Author Zachary Anderson

Hi, I am Zach who is behind Bikefeatures.com I am a fitness geek. I love to ride bicycle regularly to be fit everyday. In winter when riding is impossible in cold then I love to workout at home using indoor exercise equipment. I also love to write in blog to share my knowledge in cycling & workout segment. I hope my articles will help you to be fit in any weather. Thanks!

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