The Difference Between Exercise Bike Vs. Treadmill Vs. Elliptical (Pros & Cons)

Exercise bikes, treadmills, and Elliptical are primarily meant for workouts.  These three famous cardio machines are ideal for exercising, but choosing which equipment to use for your routine training depends on individual users and the desired goals.

Which Is The Best For Workouts: The Bike, Elliptical Or Treadmill?

Choosing the best equipment from the three is down to individual goals and preferences. All three machines offer excellent workouts. The quantity of calories you wish to burn per hour is one factor that dictates the choice of equipment suitable for you. For instance, the elliptical offer you an opportunity to burn more calories compared to exercise bikes and treadmills. On the other hand, if you have joint problems or injuries, opt for an elliptical or exercise bike since they offer low-impact exercise. 

In this article, we have discussed the primary functions of each machine, done a deep analysis to understand the differences between them, and examined the pros and cons of each piece of equipment. If you desire to determine the best equipment to serve you better in your workout exercise, keep reading for a better understanding.

Comparison Between An Exercise Bike, Elliptical, & Treadmill

To better understand how the three machines compare, have a look at the chart below:

A Comparison Chart Between an Exercise Bike, Elliptical, and Treadmill

EquipmentCalories BurnJoint ImpactMuscle StrengthVariabilityEase of UseBoredom Factor
Exercise BikeModerateModerateModerateLowHighHigh

To get a grasp of the differences between the three workout equipment, let’s have an in-depth comparison of how they function:

Fat Burning

If your ultimate goal is to burn more calories, you better choose a machine that makes you comfortable while exercising. Burning more calories means pushing your body hard, and you can’t make the bodywork extra if you are uncomfortable with the machine you are using.

In terms of fat-burning potential, the elliptical edges the other two machines. It works with your upper and lower body, giving it an unrivaled edge when the goal is to burn calories.

The treadmill also burns more fats compared to the bike, but it comes second to the elliptical. The bike is inferior when burning fats because you exercise while seated, meaning your muscles don’t work extra hard, but they are relatively relaxed.

Joint Impact

The elliptical comes tops since it exhibits low joint impact. Its design makes it easy on joints, meaning it is suitable equipment if you want to avoid joint pains.

The cycle follows closely with moderate joint impact. Though the bike is kind on the joints, beware that your knee alternates its movement from a bent position to a straight one severally; thus, there are chances of grinding your joints.

The treadmill performs poorly as it has high joint impact; hence you might experience shin splints, ankle pain, low back pain & knee pain.

Muscle Strengthening

If your primary goal for the home workout is to develop muscles, avoid the treadmill. Treadmills offer minimal resistance insufficient for muscle building. 

The elliptical helps you build muscles in both your lower and upper body. This machine does wonders in strengthening your glutes when done on a complex elevation.

If your focus is to build lower body muscles such as quads and hamstrings, the exercise bike is your ultimate equipment for the purpose.

The Pros & Cons Of The Exercise Bike, Elliptical, & Treadmill

Elliptical Trainer Pros

1. Low Impact

An elliptical trainer offers a low-impact exercise that is suitable for people having joint problems.

2. Optimal Fat Burning

The elliptical trainer offers a full-body workout as long as you push yourself to burn those extra calories.

3. Easy To Use

The machine is easy to use, meaning even if you haven’t handled the device before, you can tackle it with relative ease.

4. Adjustable Resistance

The elliptical trainer allows for resistance adjustment, enabling you to adjust to a more challenging exercise or a less strenuous workout.

Elliptical Trainer Cons

1. Unnatural Movement

The elliptical has a movement pattern that can’t be replicated anywhere. Though the trainer can make you physically fit, it cannot train for any sporting event.

Treadmill Pros

1. Total Control

While working on the treadmill, you have sufficient control of your workout pattern. It is easy to alter the speed and the incline, making the treadmills ideal for punctuating high-intensity workouts with relaxed intervals.

2. Enhanced Leg Muscles

Treadmills are ideal for strengthening your leg muscles, hip flexors, and glutes.

3. Natural Movement

Treadmills simulate running and walking. Considering these are real-world events, you may horn your skills with the equipment and perform when readjusting to trail or road running.

Treadmill Cons

1. High Impact

Working out on a treadmill is a high-impact exercise that leads to knee injuries, shin splints, and other joint problems.

2. Restricted Workout

Treadmills are synonymous with working out only your lower body. Confining your workouts to the treadmill means that your upper body is deprived of sufficient exercise.

Exercise Bikes Pros

1. Low Impact

Exercise bikes provide low-impact workouts. The exercise is kinder on the joints, meaning people with underlying joint issues can train without repercussions.

2. Versatile

The design of the exercise bike focuses primarily on strengthening your leg muscles. However, you can modify the exercise routine and exercise your upper body by standing on the pedals to engage the core.

3. Adjustable Resistance

You are at liberty to adjust the bike’s resistance to align with your fitness level and set goals.

Exercise Bike Cons

1. Burning Minimal Calories

Exercise bikes burn fewer calories per hour compared to both elliptical and treadmills. The only way to burn more calories is by pushing yourself harder.

2. Uncomfortable Seats

If you opt to work out for an extended period, the seat can be uncomfortable, hence failure to fulfill your goals.

The Takeaway

Determining the best workout equipment from the exercise bike, treadmill, and elliptical isn’t a walk in the park. All three machines are exceptional, depending on your workout goals. Use the information given in this article to point out the differences among the three machines and choose the one aligning with your goals.

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