Which Burns More Calories: Elliptical Trainer vs. Exercise Bike?

Many people wonder just how many calories elliptical training burns compared to pumping away on a good old fashioned exercise bike. In the past few years elliptical sales have eclipsed exercise bikes. In gyms and health clubs more people veer toward the ellipticals but is that because ellipticals are “in” right now or do they actually burn more calories?

Which Piece of Equipment Burns More Calories?

Based on an average workout on an elliptical trainer a person burns between 400 and 500 calories in one hour. An average one hour workout on an exercise bike burns about 300 calories. However, the true amount of calories burned is dependant on each person’s weight and the intensity of her workout.

Working out on an elliptical burns more calories because it involves your upper body as well as your lower body. The more muscles you involve in a workout the more calories you will burn. In addition, the more muscles that are involved in your workout the more cardio benefits you get.

Just moving your arms on the elliptical does not automatically burn more calories. The tension adjustment on the handlebars must provide enough resistance to actually get a good workout for both your upper and lower body as well providing a good cardio workout. In fact, a lot of people let their legs pull the load and actually get little or no upper body benefit. Not fully involving the arms also lessens the actual cardio benefits that you can reap from this exercise.

What are the Drawbacks of an Elliptical?

Many people do not take the time to stretch their muscles before getting on the elliptical. Also, in an effort to get more results quicker, people often crank up the tension too high and wind up straining their muscles. As mentioned above, not distributing the load or resistance adjustment between both the upper and lower body lessens the effectiveness of actual calories burned. One other drawback is that some people think that because they are working so hard on the elliptical that they no longer need to do strength training. Although using an elliptical properly does work both your upper and lower body it is still mostly a cardio workout. So you still need to lift those weights.

Is an Elliptical Always the Better Choice?

For an allover body workout that gives you cardio benefits, no other piece of equipment can do more in less time than an elliptical can. However, ultimately the best piece of equipment for you to work out on depends on which one you will actually use. On your next trip to your gym or health club give the elliptical a try. You will get a great workout and work up a good sweat quicker on this piece of equipment than on any other one.

Since an elliptical does burn more calories than an exercise bike, you should at least consider adding it to your equipment rotation to give yourself the best all around workout.


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