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Peloton bikes can be expensive. You might hesitate to buy one, especially if you already have a recumbent bike.
On top of not wanting to buy redundant equipment, you might simply not have space for another bike. So, do you really have to sell your recumbent bike and buy a Peloton bike just to use the app?
You can use the Peloton App with a recumbent bike as long as you have a tablet or a smartphone. However, you can't participate in all bike classes with a recumbent bike as some require standing on the pedals, which isn't possible on a recumbent.
In this article, you will learn how a recumbent bike differs from a stationary bike and what you can do to work out the same areas and get the same results as a stationary bike owner with a peloton subscription. You will also discover whether you can lose weight with a recumbent bike and which muscles the bike impacts.
Most peloton-related information is derived from a primary analysis of the classes available on the app. We referenced 12 types of peloton bike classes against the recumbent bike's possibility sphere to come to our conclusions.
Recumbent Bike vs. Stationary Bike: The Peloton Perspective
Peloton bikes are standard stationary bikes with a fitted screen. If you get a regular stationary bike and put the app on a tablet, you would have the same access and exercise capacity as a premium peloton app user.
Recumbent bikes are different from stationary bikes in a few key ways.
- Better seating - A recumbent bike gives you better lumbar support with a back-rest compared to an upright stationary bike that mimics regular bicycle seating.
- More comfortable - There is also more room for your hips on a recumbent bike seat, making longer exercises more likely.
- Suspended riding is impossible - You cannot ride from the pedals (cycle with your hips in the air) on a recumbent bike, making it necessary to stay seated.
Do any of these points make the recumbent bike incompatible with peloton classes? No. Thousands of peloton bike-riding classes require you to remain seated. There is no need to engage in suspended riding or putting your weight on the pedals. That means you can follow along with peloton classes from the saddle of a recumbent bike.
Does the discomfort of an upright seat in a stationary bike serve any purpose in a peloton class? No. An assessment of over a hundred classes across the 12 types of available bike exercise categories shows that there is not a single positive mention surrounding the stationary bike's seat discomfort.
Can You Use a Recumbent Bike for All Bike Classes on Peloton?
You cannot use a recumbent bike for all bike classes on Peloton because climbing classes often require standing up on the pedals. For low impact and interval classes, the recumbent bike works as effectively as an upright stationary bike.
In many interval classes, you will notice that the shift from low-impact bike riding to high-impact entails standing up on the pedals. If you're on a recumbent bike, you'll just need to increase the bike's resistance levels. This will not get you the same workout but will have a similar impact on the calories you burn.
Standing on an upright bike can work out your core muscles (abs). This is very difficult on a recumbent bike. The following table covers the alternatives that don't require you to buy a stationary bike.
Because Peloton became famous for its bikes, many people erroneously assume that the app only has stationary bike classes. There are treadmill classes as well as no-equipment-needed classes alongside resistance band classes on the app. So you don't even need a recumbent bike to use the app. But if you want to leverage a recumbent bike you already have, there are plenty of classes that suit you.
Does Riding a Recumbent Bike Help Lose Belly Fat?
Riding a recumbent bike does help you lose belly fat as it allows you to engage in aerobic exercises. To lose fat with a recumbent bike, you must use lower resistance settings and pedal faster. Above all, your exercise sessions must be long.
Even in interval classes, you should go from pedaling slowly to pedaling at a higher speed instead of changing resistance settings. The high-movement classes don't work out your leg muscles but instead speed up your metabolism, resulting in higher calorie burn.
If you intend to use the bike for leg-muscle training, you can simply increase the pedaling resistance. There are advantages and limitations to each type of workout, of course. The low-resistance high-speed pedaling will get you leaner but will not improve your muscle mass.
And the high-resistance exercise burns fewer calories with more effort but does improve your overall leg muscle definition. Overall, a recumbent bike is better for losing weight than working out your legs. Because there are better exercises that work out your legs.
Is a Recumbent Bike as Good as Walking?
A recumbent bike is better than walking in terms of burning calories because walking entails pausing and slowing down, while the recumbent bike is more movement-oriented. According to Harvard, cycling burns almost twice the calories that walking spends.
Harvard's analysis of 30-minute exercise across different media shows that stationary bike use (which is no different in aerobic impact than a recumbent bike) burns 240 calories for a lightweight person. A person of equal weight walking burns only 107 calories.
Given that this comes from Harvard's platform, the information is quite credible. Still, the calories that you burn may differ from what is listed based on your natural metabolic rate (which varies by genes, weight, and activity levels).
So while you might not burn exactly the same number of calories when using a recumbent bike or walking, you will always burn more calories on the bike compared to walking at the same pace.
Which Muscles Does a Recumbent Bike Workout?
A recumbent bike works out your quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, and glutes to varying degrees. It doesn't isolate a specific muscle, so if you want to improve the definition of a specific muscle group, you'll need to use alternative exercises.
Using a recumbent bike to simply workout your calves is a mistake. Because if you feel like your calves are small, you need to work out the calves more than the rest of your leg. If your leg increases in size in the same exact proportion, your calves will look just as small because of the rest of your leg.
But if you are satisfied with the proportions of your leg muscles and want to improve your leg size, you can work out on a recumbent bike by increasing the resistance and decreasing your peddling time.