Cycling vs Treadmill – Which Training is More Holistic?

Physical training is a valuable part of our daily lives. The options of techniques and routines we can adopt are plenty with the incorporation of the internet. Areas of training such as the gym are great places to get all equipment you need to reach your fitness goals.

I love to stay fit, flexible and healthy. When I started off on my fitness journey four years ago, I had some idea of exercises that I was sure would be quick favorites. I’d always loved running in school and I believed it would be a breeze to replicate that in the gym. I quickly found out that running outside and running on the treadmill were ideally different and that I had a lot to learn.

After a few days, I had settled on my new favorite training exercise yet; cycling. Here’s my experienced opinion of how the two compare.

Cycling vs Treadmill Comparison Summary

Training Concern
Which technique wins?
Stronger Leg Muscles
VO2 Intake
Building Abs
Cardio Workout
Treadmill at 190 bpm
Strength Training
Calories Burned
Treadmill at 800 calories
Least risk and danger
Best for terminal Illness


Cycling vs Treadmill for Weight Loss

Working out for 3 to 5 days and about 30 minutes at high intensity on the stationary bike will help you lose 500 calories every session. The same intensity on a treadmill machine will have you burn anywhere between 600 and 800 calories which will give you a quicker weight loss result compared to cycling.

Weight loss has everything to do with managing and minimizing the number of calories in your body. The effectiveness of weight loss will be very much dependent on the individual’s diet, consistency, duration, and intensity of the workout.

Cycling is a great option for anyone suffering from chronic back pain or to a newbie who may need some time to familiarize themselves with more complex and high-risk equipment like the treadmill. Depending on the availability, there may be a choice between two stationary training bikes which are the upright bike or the recumbent bike.

As the name suggests, the upright bike resembles the normal bike with handles in front of you and the foot pedals below your center of gravity. It allows you to slightly lean forward as you pedal and to pedal while standing to make your workout more versatile in intensity and targeted muscles.

To make treadmill training effective for you, it is necessary to work out consistently for about 30 minutes on medium to high speeds on the treadmill. This will also depend on your overall weight and your diet of course.

Alternate between running on the flat laid running belt and having it inclined to an angle for an uphill kind of run. Mixing up your workout makes it more fun, helps you burn more calories, and increases impact on the target spots.

Cycling Vs Treadmill for Cardio

Cycling vs Treadmill

If you have to choose between cycling and treadmill training techniques to work up a sweat, both cycling and treadmill can satisfy that need. While you can get your heart rate up to 133 bpm while cycling, you can get up to 190 bpm while running. Meaning the treadmill is better for cardio.

Cardiovascular exercises are those that raise your heart rate and cause you to break a sweat and they are also referred to as aerobic exercises. These techniques will get your heart pumping blood hard which will supply more oxygen to your bodily organs like lungs, liver, kidney rejuvenating, and strengthening them.

While cycling, use the FITT technique of training which will focus on your Frequency, Intensity, Time, and Type of exercise. This technique helps you identify how much you can and should do on your bike for the best results.

As a beginner, the bike’s revolutions per minute should be set to 60RPM and if you are more experienced, and RPM around 70 would be great to work with. Remember to pace yourself on the bike by making sure you get a good warm-up to get your heart rate up and to loosen your joints and muscles.

Cycling for about 20 to 30 minutes for a beginner and up to 60 minutes for a more experienced individual at a medium to high-intensity level on the bike will get you sweating hard with a heart rate of about 133 BPM (beats per minute).

On a treadmill, the beginner should try the High-Intensity Interval Training technique or HIIT. This technique will encourage bursts of energy charged into about 30 seconds of running and 10 seconds of relaxation. This is done in repetition and with great consistency. It will take a lot of energy from you but will also give you the strength to work out for longer without getting tired.

Cycling Vs Treadmill – Muscles Worked

Both trainings work the leg joints and muscles but hamstrings on the treadmill are better impacted because of the intensity and frequency of foot movements while sprinting.

Both cycling and running require you to use your legs to get your body moving, raise the temperature, and increase the heart rate. While this is true, both these techniques work different muscles on your leg, calf, thigh, and core.

When cycling on a stationary upright bike, the forward peddling motion works out the muscles on the front of the thigh and leg. These are the four muscles included in the quadriceps and the tibialis anterior muscle that is located at the front of your shin.

Also, cycling while standing and at an inclined angle allows your hip and knee extensors to get a good work out. Gastrocnemius and biceps femoris muscles at the back of your legs are also exercised on either an upright or a recumbent bike.

Running on an incline also adds to the initial benefits to the hamstrings, quadriceps, and the biceps femoris muscles. Your glutes will get a much-deserved stretch and stimulation which not only strengthens them but also gives them a beautiful shape and tone.

Cycling Vs Treadmill for Toning Stomach Muscles

Toning stomach muscles is much better done at your Thursday’s spinning class as opposed to Monday’s leg-day session on the treadmill. This is because running wastes body mass and cycling builds and sculpts these muscles instead.

When fighting the fat around our belly, stomach, or waist, it is important to remember that it cannot be reduced by focusing or targeting exercises towards our abs. Yes, doing so increases the effectiveness and speed of visible changes but nothing much can be accomplished by spot training your abdominal muscles.

To gain a flat or more tone midsection, you have to give your body an overall good workout and do this on a consistent basis. More than that, your diet is extremely crucial in reference to your belly fat. You become what you eat and eating a high protein, vegetable, fruits with limited carbs, and tons of liquids will get your body overall leaner and more energetic.

A good way to target your core is to try cycling in an upright position and hands-free. This will have you focused and concentrating all your energy into your mid-riff muscles and joints which will struggle to keep peddling without your arms’ support. This is a bit difficult though and risky. Request help from your instructor.

Running, on the other hand, gets your body jumping and all your being rattled. It is a holistic form of exercise that’s quite effective at converting your fat into energy and muscle. This repetitive and quick up and doing movements shake all excess fat in your body and this is why you feel pain in the impacted parts of your body.

Coupling this with a vegetable and fruit-rich diet will guarantee anyone a lovely and healthy toned body and skin. It takes a few months to get into your ideal shape but once you do, managing it will be easy because you’ll have created a lifestyle of working out.

Cycling Vs Treadmill Injury Risk

Not much apparent risk is associated with working out on the stationary bikes, unlike the risks associated with running on treadmills.

Most exercise routines especially those that require equipment or props should be cautiously practiced making sure to follow any safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer. While we work with truly heavy objects at the gym, it is not hard at all to keep ourselves and others safe.

Keying in your bike settings could be a bit tricky sometimes and as a beginner, you may end up setting your bike on too high a revolution per minute (RPM) which will frustrate you. Ask for help.

On the treadmill, things are a bit riskier with the possibility of sliding off the belt and getting your face slammed on the floor. While it is a nice option for simply walking on or taking runs for the experienced guys, there must be some help close by to assist in the event of any incidents occurring.

While the plain treadmill level is quite exhausting, you could increase the incline to get more out of your workout. Doing so, however, increases your chances of developing back, knee, and ankle problems after time. Just like with the bike, if you are not sure how to set your ideal standards for the workout to ask for assistance.

While it is good and convenient to work out from home, if you plan on using big equipment such as a treadmill or a stationary bike at home, it is important that you know the ins and outs of the equipment to know how to get the most out of it and to get an idea of how to handle it. This will save you a lot of random and spontaneous fails that are possible with equipment and tools.

Cycling or Treadmill for Elders

Running is too high impact for the elderly bones and muscles. So, if you have an older friend or family who is trying to get a little bit of exercise, encourage them to hop on a recumbent bike.

Keeping healthy and fit does not necessarily mean maintaining a zero-fat body overall or being so thin that you have no flaps of excess fat on your body. It also does not mean that your body will be tone forever. As age catches up with you, so do the effects of gravity.

Working out as an elderly person, you may have the sole aim of retaining and improving your cardiovascular performance and to strengthen your core and maybe convert some lose fat into leaner muscle.

As an older person, the common health and physical issues that are likely to affect you are back pain, neck pain, leg or hip pain, and generally random joint pains. Knowing this, it is necessary then to find a safer and more comfortable workout alternative for the elderly.

Considering the risks and benefits associated with either biking or treadmill workouts, the best option for most elderly people above the age of 65 is the stationary bicycle. As mentioned before, they come in two types which are the upright and the recumbent bicycle.

Running on the treadmill is not only tricky for young and energetic people but also for professionals who may slip up from time to time. It has complex control gears in front of it and the double motion required to hold onto the handrails while trying to get off it could lead to serious injury for an elderly person.

Get them on a stationary bike instead and a recumbent one for that matter, will get the elderly moving their limbs effectively and comfortable which will boost their self-confidence and help them do more each new week.

The recumbent bike allows them to sit back into a comfortable and cushioned back support that allows them to relax their back and neck muscles as they work out their hamstrings in controlled breathing and with some measured resistance.

With the pedals out in front of them, the individual will exert as much pressure as they can on their hips and their hamstrings to push down the pedal. Be careful to put them on a low to the medium resistance level. The comfort of the position and the great feeling of euphoria that it provides could see them enjoy exercising with minimum to no risk of injury.


What is a good speed on a treadmill to lose weight?

Running at a speed between 5mph and 10mph for about 30 minutes daily as often as possible within the week will get anyone losing about half a pound of weight in a week.

To lose a pound of weight, you need to shed off about 3,500 calories. While this is not achievable in one go, you can keep a daily or weekly workout routine to help you achieve your weight goals. Losing weight also depends on your current weight, your intake of oxygen, and of course your DNA. All these plays to how fast or slow you can lose your weight.

Does Cycling Help to Build Abs?

Yes, cycling is a great core strengthener and toner and in reference to building abs, it does add to the effects. If you cycle outdoors, however, navigating tough terrain and sharp bends will call to your core strength for control though your leg muscles will do most of the work.

Working on the stationary bike allows your back and body more balance alleviating the need for more core control.

Cycling in the gym could be made a bit more challenging by putting the bike to an inclined angle simulating an uphill climb or the instructor could adjust your pedals’ resistance forcing you to push your muscles harder.

Is Running on a Treadmill Everyday Too Much?

Yes. Unless you are training for a match or Olympic game, there is need to break your daily sessions with a rest day at least every ten days.

According to the CDC, working out for adults should be kept at a regular of about 30 minutes a day for five days a week. You may have more time in your week to exercise every day of the week but if you have been doing it for a while and you have a good trainer, you should know that your muscles contract and develop better with breaks in between your workouts.

Is a Recumbent Bike Better Than a Regular Indoor Bike?

Yes, it is. Other than its ability to perform at the same capacity as a regular indoor bike, it adds to the comfort of a workout with the added backrest.

A regular upright stationary bike would be a great addition to your single apartment butif instead, you are buying workout equipment with family in mind, the best bike to get is the recumbent bike.

The convenient placement of the handles, pedals, and comfortable cushioned backrest will provide everyone a more stable angle from which to control their foot movements.

I Get Lower Back Pain. Is it Better to Cycle or Run on a Treadmill?

Cycling, and to be specific, on a recumbent bike is your best bet forindividuals who suffer from chronic back pain. With its comfortable back support, the recumbent bike will take the pressure off your back as you pedal.


Treadmill training is high impact and it will have your bones and muscles burning and in some pain. It will help you lose a lot of weight but you can only stand it for so long. Cycling is more comfortable and allows you to do it for longer which will get you the same results but over a longer period.