Stationary bikes and spin bikes look the same. It would be easy to assume they are also the same in terms of how much calories loss you can achieve from them. You can burn a lot more using one although it depends on how you choose to use it. In this spinning vs stationary bike comparison we tell you which one puts you on course to burn more and why.
I am a new Mum looking for an exercise bike for my home gym. There are lots of affordable stationary and spin bikes in the market. Which of these would be best to quickly and efficiently shed baby pounds?
Here is a spinning vs stationary bike comparison to shed light on the better option for users looking to burn calories fast.
Â What Are The Differences Between Spinning Bikes and Stationary Bikes In Relation To Calories?
Increase speed, resistance then stand ( potential to burn more calories)
Increase speed and resistance
Body sections worked
Lower body seated
Lower and upper body – standing ( gives a full body workout)
Lower body only (gives a partial body workout)
Numerous high impact programs to choose from (more fun and motivations)
Few programs to choose from (can get boring)
The progression model in both bikes is quite similar. On both bikes you start with a slow light cycle with low intensity and gradually increase speed and resistance as your body picks up.
The workout becomes more and more challenging and forces you to put in more effort. It increases demand on the heart and lungs. With a stationary bike, that is as much as you can do.
The difference lies in that in a spin bike you can progress further to standing on the pedals and cycle in an upright position to make it even more challenging.
This upright position burns more calories because there are more muscles involved than when you are in a seated position all through the session on a stationary bike.
Full Vs Lower Body Workout
One of the drawbacks of cycling exercises is that they do a great job of working the lower part of your body but almost totally ignore the upper part.
When you are seated on the seat of an exercise bike, these are the main muscle groups you are putting to work.
Quadriceps: These are located on the front of the thigh. They are largely used for spinning work and pedaling sequence in which you push the pedal down.
Glutes:These are the muscles in you buttocks. There are 3 separate muscles which are said to be the largest and strongest in the body. They are used in spinning and are usually the first to pain because they are subject to a lot of stress.
Hamstrings: These are the muscles at the back of the leg. They are responsible for stabilizing the knee and keeping them in position every time you bring your foot up after the downward motion of pealing.
Calves: These muscles are at the bottom of the leg. At the rear of the leg next to the ankle bone. They help to stabilize your leg as you pedal.
These are the four types of muscles you work on when you are seated on an exercise bike. Work on them is evident because it is these parts which are likely to ache when you have been at it for a while.
When you stand upright on the spin bike you now incorporate upper body muscles. You now start to work the mentioned lower body muscles to a larger extent as well as arm, shoulder back and core muscles. Quadriceps which support pedaling have to work harder because of the extra strain mimicking pedaling uphill.
The glutes are stretched because you are in a somewhat standing position and the calves responsible for leg stability have to work harder to support the weight of your body which was previously supported by the seat.
Standing on a spin bike therefore creates a full body workout comparable to a treadmill or rower. You would have had to use another machine to achieve upper body work. The effect is more calories burnt in a short period of spinning.
Variety of Programs
Spinning has become increasingly popular because of the availability of workout programs. Peloton for instance, a company which manufactures one of the most popular brands of spin bikes in the country takes indoor cycling exercise to a whole new level.
They have used technology to meet the needs of thousands of fitness enthusiasts who want to keep fit but have to deal with all sorts of time constraints. The company offers more than 10 spin class sessions a day (with professional instructors) which can be streamed live from their studio in the heart of New York. Also available are thousands of past workout sessions which users can choose from based on length of session, intensity and even preferred instructors.
Although these all come at a price, owning a spin bike opens you up to a whole other world of options. Cycling doesn’t have to be boring anymore. You enjoy working out so much sometimes you do it for the fun and burn calories in the process.
Spinning Vs Stationary Bike: A Comparison Overview
Spinning Bike Overview
Spin bikes are a somewhat new development in the world of fitness and exercise equipment. They were designed with professional cyclists in mind and allow users to enjoy the benefits of riding in the comfort of home.
These bikes are supposed to simulate the experience of riding on different types of outdoor terrains.Spin bikes are known for small, hard seats much like those in an outdoor bike.
The most outstanding feature of spin bikes is the flywheel. This is a sometimes large metallic wheel located on the front of the bike, where the front wheel of an outdoor bike would be. Although some manufacturers prefer to place the flywheels on their bikes in the rear (such as Keiser), they are there for the same reason. It serves to build momentum from the userâ€™s pedaling motion and create a smooth ride feel, much like that in an outdoor bike.
Flywheels vary in weight. The general consensus it that the heavier the flywheel is, the smoother the ride the user gets. Some manufacturers use perimeter weighted flywheels.
With these the bulk of the wheels weight is concentrated on its edges. This helps to create the same smooth ride feel created by a heavy flywheel even when it is not particularly heavy. This way, manufacturers can use lighter flywheels for an overall lighter bike without compromising on ride quality.
- Burns more calories
- Options to sit or stand
- Works a wide variety of muscles
- Good for intense workouts
- Burns more calories
- Posture may cause back pains
- Uncomfortable seat
- Moderate risk of injury
Stationary Bike Overview
The traditional stationary bike has been in use for more than a century and has always been a preferred option for people looking for good cardio exercise. It is more or less like a regular outdoor bike with a sturdy base in place of the wheels to keep it from moving from side to side.
Stationary bikes are generally more comfortable than spin bikes because they come with a larger padded seat. This does make it easier to work out for longer but many users say it also makes the workout boring so you are more inclined to get off and go do something else. At the end of the day, you burn less calories.
Another notable feature in stationary bikes is that you can stop instantaneously. Stationary bikes are designed such that it stops as soon as you stop pedaling thanks to an integrated flywheel system. The advantage of this feature is if you are recovering from an injury. As soon as you sense there is too much strain, you can stop immediately to prevent pain or further injury. The drawback in this feature is that you end up not pushing yourself as hard as you would to be able to burn those calories.
- Comfortable seat
- Low risk of injury
- Good for recovery from injury
- Upright position for a straight back
- Burns less calories
- No option to stand
- Can become boring
We all have different reasons for exercising. Some people are looking to gain good cardiovascular and lung health, others are looking to achieve general fitness and improved flexibility and mobility.
Although all these are benefits to be enjoyed whatever your goals are, a vast majority of people are looking to burn excess calories. Both spin bikes and stationary bikes are great for all of these.
Verdict: So Which Is Better? Spinning Bike or Stationary Bike?
If calorie loss is your primary goal then spin bike is the best option. A spin bike gives you the option to increase speed, resistance and also lets you stand. This position burns more calories and works both the lower and upper parts of the body, therefore giving you a full-body workout.
The flywheel in a spin bike is designed such that it keeps rotating even when you stop pedaling and this forces you to continue the pedaling motion for longer. This eventually makes you burn more calories.
Do I have to be relatively fit already to start using a spin bike?
You can start using a spin bike from any fitness level. You can move at your own pace by controlling sped and resistance as you make progress.
What pedaling speed is considered fast on a stationary bike?
It depends on the individual. Generally, speeds ranging between 65 and 70 RPMs is fast for non-professionals. Athletes would be looking at 75 RPMs and higher. Aim to outdo yourself. Your personal fastest speed is the highest speed at which you can pedal but cannot sustain it for more than 30 seconds.