How a Recumbent Elliptical Cross Trainer compares to a Recumbent Bike 

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What is a recumbent elliptical cross trainer? 

Most people are used to working out indoors on spin bikes, rowers and steppers, but imagine if you could combine all three of those machines into one? Well, you don’t need to imagine any longer because the machine exists.

For example, the FreeStep LT3 Cross-Trainer by Teeter provides you with a total body workout, all while allowing users to exercise in a comfortable and supportive seated position. The recumbent elliptical cross-trainer mimics the natural movement and techniques that happen while you’re running.

Recumbent ellipticals are perfect for those undergoing rehabilitation or just starting out on their fitness journey. Compared to recumbent bikes, the recumbent elliptical has a more extended “elliptical pedaling” motion but a smaller “range of motion,” making it ideal for rehabilitation and the elderly.

Ergonomic design is the “buzzword” in the indoor fitness equipment niche, but when it comes to recumbent elliptical cross-trainers, the term “ergonomic” is fitting as it allows users to work out longer, which means better results, more muscle, and less body fat. 

So if you want to exercise and get healthier in the comfort of your own home, then the recumbent elliptical cross-trainer is definitely the machine you’ve been looking for. Recumbent ellipticals give you a low-impact workout, meaning you don’t have to worry about injury to your muscles or joints. 

What is a recumbent bike?

Recumbent bikes are an excellent alternative for any athletes who want to spend more time cycling in a seated reclined position. I’m sure you’ve seen recumbent bikes in your local gym. Recumbent bikes offer users, particularly beginners, a highly effective workout with little to no impact on their joints.

You might have even seen recumbent bikes outside on the road, too; although they are rare, they do allow cyclists to ride for longer and take in the beautiful sights and sounds that nature has to offer.

recumbent bike

In an indoor setting, recumbent bikes make an excellent option for those who may want to work out from home. Recumbents tend to be very affordable and take up a lot of space, and they’re also very, very quiet, meaning you can work out while watching TV and no one would even hear you. 

Recumbent bikes allow users to ride while seated in a comfortable and supportive position that reinforces the posterior chain and helps to keep the knees, hip, and ankle joints aligned, so you don’t need to fret about an injury. 

Suppose you want to boost your aerobic capacity and fitness levels. In that case, recumbent bikes make the perfect choice because you can exercise for extended periods and in a low-impact manner. This means that, quite simply, you can exercise daily without the fear of overtraining and stressing the body; now, that’s a win-win.

Differences between a recumbent cross trainer & a recumbent bike

Recumbent Bike Recumbent Elliptical Cross-trainer
Better for your bike than a standard bikeBetter for your bike than a standard bike
Reduced stress on knees and hipReduced stress on knees and hip
Excellent lower body workoutExcellent total body workout
Low-impact Stabilized the Posture
Excellent cardio activityStrength and conditioning
Boosted cardo capacity
Accessible for elderly


When it comes to the main differences between a recumbent bike and a recumbent cross-trainer, the most obvious standout feature is that the recumbent elliptical offers the user a complete full-body workout. Recumbent bikes focus on the lower body, while the recumbent elliptical provides the user with the best of both worlds. 


Recumbent bikes and recumbent elliptical cross-trainers are very similar in terms of ergonomics, and they both allow the user to exercise relatively pain-free. Many elderly users and those recovering from injury prefer the recumbent elliptical trainer because it has a fully adjustable seat and enables users to get in and out of the machine easily.

Pedaling Motion 

Compared to the recumbent bike, the recumbent elliptical cross-trainer has a longer elliptical pedaling action yet a shorter range of motion. Many people find the elliptical much easier to use, especially for extended periods, because the pedaling motion takes a lot of stress off the knee and ankle joints.

Now that’s not to say the recumbent bike isn’t any good because it’s excellent. If you’re an avid cyclist, then you will find the recumbent bike a lot easier and a lot more fun too. Recumbent bikes put the rider in a reclined position, allowing them to ride further and burn more calories. 

Calories, Calories, Calories

Now, burning extra calories is something every user wants to do, but before you can do that, you need to know which machine is better at burning more calories than the other.

The recumbent elliptical cross-trainer hands-down burns much more calories than a recumbent bike; why you might be asking? Well, that’s simple. Recumbent elliptical trainers allow the user to get a complete upper and lower body workout all in one training session.

A recumbent still does an excellent job at burning calories. Still, because you are only exercising your lower body, you can’t burn as many calories as you can when you use the recumbent elliptical cross-trainer. The recumbent elliptical trainer also does a much better job at toning your muscles and boosting your strength and aerobic capacity all at the same time. 

Benefits of a recumbent bike (in general)

The primary benefit most users get from exercising on a recumbent bike is that their back and neck receive considerably less stress than when riding a regular bike. Some recumbent bikes even have high-quality lumbar supports, further boosting the comfort of using a recumbent bike and reducing and alleviating lower back pain.

Recumbent bikes make the perfect choice for people like:

  • Elderly users
  • Beginners to indoor fitness 
  • Those people recovering from an injury 
  • People suffering from debilitating joint and muscle pain

Many newcomers to wellness don’t have the appropriate levels of fitness to ride a regular bike for extended periods of time, and this is where recumbent bikes come into play. Because you can travel further on a recumbent bike, cyclists can increase their strength, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular capacity. 

Another massive benefit of riding a recumbent bike is that because you are much closer to the road than when riding a regular bike, your chance of injuring yourself by falling off is significantly reduced. Granted, falling off might still hurt, but you won’t sustain the nasty injuries you can get from crashing on a standard road bike.

Athletes’ center of gravity is also much lower to the ground on a recumbent bike, which means your balance and stability are greatly improved. The major advantage of better balance is that you can pedal more efficiently and travel further while not worrying about injuring your muscles or joints. 

The Extra Benefits of a Recumbent Elliptical Cross Trainer

First and foremost, let’s look at the most obvious benefit to users: the advantage of being seated in a supportive environment. When people are struggling with back pain, recumbent ellipticals make the perfect solution because they allow users to ride without being in a position that makes them feel uncomfortable and can cause injury.

Did you know that as a professional coach, I have used recumbent elliptical cross-trainers in the recovery periods for many professional athletes? Why? Because they allow the athlete to exercise in a safe and low-impact manner for extended periods. 

Whether you’re a teenager, a working mom, or an elderly citizen, the recumbent elliptical can provide you with excellent strength and conditioning workouts and the added advantage of boosting cardiovascular performance. Getting on and off the recumbent elliptical is also much more manageable than your standard road bike, making it ideal for those who struggle with a range of motion in their joints.

Recumbent ellipticals have a few significant benefits and advantages over their recumbent bike counterparts, including easier to get on and off, extra support for your joints, and are low-impact. Put simply, recumbent ellipticals are designed to take the stress off the user’s joints.

Let’s take a closer look at the three main benefits of using a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer. 

Low Impact Exercise Workouts

Recumbent bikes can cause some people quite a bit of joint pain, particularly in the knees and hips, but when it comes to a recumbent elliptical, the motion of the pedaling technique allows users to pedal pain-free. 

Technically, your toes stay aligned correctly, and most importantly, they do not travel in front of your knees, which can cause tremendous pain and can even cause long-term injury. That is another reason why recumbent ellipticals are so good for people undergoing rehabilitation. 

Total Body Workout 

Most indoor fitness machines only work one particular part of the body, such as the leg with a bike or your arms with a rower, but with a recumbent elliptical, you can get a total body workout. That’s right, ellipticals provide users with a complete workout and can target muscles such as:

  • Arms and shoulder
  • Upper and Lower back
  • Core muscles
  • Quads, Calves, and hamstrings
  • Buttocks

There is no better way to tone your body and boost your aerobic capacity than using the recumbent elliptical cross-trainer.

Burn Calories; A lot More Calories

Who doesn’t want to burn more calories, right? Recumbent ellipticals allow you to train for longer periods of time, meaning you get stronger and burn more calories than a regular recumbent bike. You’re also utilizing more muscles, so your calorie count goes way beyond what it would with a standard road bike

What to look for before buying a recumbent elliptical

When it comes to choosing a recumbent trainer, there are 5 main factors that potential customers need to take into consideration. Most of us don’t have pockets full of money to spend, so it’s essential that users research thoroughly before deciding which recumbent elliptical to buy.

The Seat and Postural Support

The seats on recumbent ellipticals tend to be much bigger, and many of them have an adjustable recline setting which helps users of all sizes find a comfortable workout position. Many of the Recumbents will also allow the seat to slide forward and backward, which makes it perfect for elderly users or those recovering from injury. 

Elliptical Pedaling Motion

Suppose you are suffering from joint pain or arthritis, then you should look for an elliptic recumbent that emphasizes a linear motion or movement in terms of pedaling technique. This linear motion helps alleviate pain and allows users to exercise pain-free.

Main Features To Look For 

Depending on how much money you’re willing to pay will determine how many features you get. Some of the features you should look for are:

  • Adjustable seating for accessibility
  • Adjustable handlebars
  • Resistance levels for all users
  • A heart-rate monitor is always nice to have, especially for more serious athletes.

User Weight Capacity

I would highly recommend looking for a recumbent elliptical that allows for a maximum user weight of between 300lbs right up to 600lbs and, in some cases, even higher.


If you’re going to spend a lot of money, then you want to make sure the recumbent bike or trainer you finally decide on has the best warranty you can get. 

Typically a good recumbent bike and elliptical, recumbent cross-trainer will provide customers with a minimum of a 1-year warranty to a 5-year guarantee that will take care of any broken or faulty part or component. 


Recumbent Elliptical Cross Trainer vs Recumbent Bike

So there you have it, everything you need to know about the main differences and pros and cons between an elliptical recumbent bike and a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer. Remember to evaluate your goals and budget thoroughly before finally deciding to choose which piece of fitness equipment is for you. 

Recumbent elliptical cross-trainers are perfect for the elderly and those recovering from injury. Recumbents are also great for those new to fitness who don’t want to spend a lot of money on costly gym membership fees.

Editorial Team

IF-FIT Editorial Team consists of experienced fitness writers and cyclists. Every article has been deeply researched to educate every bike lover.

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