Both elliptical and stationary bikes provide cardio workouts that fitness buffs appreciate. However, in the elliptical vs exercise bike debate, beginners often wonder which among the two popular fitness equipment burns more calories. Finding out which equipment allows more opportunities to burn a significant level of calories is essential if you have serious fitness goals.

Using the same workout duration, an elliptical trainer can burn more calories compared to an exercise bike. However, certain factors can affect the calorie-burning capability of each fitness equipment.

They’re pretty different from each other so if you’re after a specific fitness goal, you have to choose the unit that suits your needs and goals best. We will further discuss the differences between the two in this piece.

Elliptical Trainer And Stationary Bike Differences

In appearance, the elliptical and the stationary bike slightly look the same. However, in this elliptical vs exercise bike comparison chart, you will see that these fitness equipment types are quite distinct from each other. To maximise their benefits, you have to choose the piece that will suit your fitness goals and personal preferences the most.

Elliptical Trainer

Stationary Bike

Workout Type

Total body workout Lower body workout

Muscles Targeted

Lower-body muscles, core, arms, calves, glutes, hamstrings Quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes

Calories Burned

324 calories (70 kg, general intensity) 252 calories (70 kg, moderate-intensity)


Resistance and incline Resistance and height


Low-impact Zero-impact


Minimal/no height adjustments, large and bulky Uncomfortable seating

The Elliptical Cross Trainer: All You Need To Know

Unlike the stationary bike, the elliptical trainer does not include a seat. Both fitness equipment units are designed for cardio workouts but they differ when it comes to the muscle groups they target.

The elliptical trainer works out the back and the abs for better posture and its movable handles target the arms, shoulders, and the lower body. Thus, it provides a full-body workout. Furthermore, the elliptical facilitates movement that is similar to walking or running so the target muscles are worked out in a more balanced, natural way. The movement it enables allows users to tone up and get fit. It also encourages better posture since using the elliptical forces users to keep their backs straight during the exercise.

More Elliptical Cross Trainer Advantages

1. Low Impact

Working out using an elliptical will not put a lot of stress on your joints and lower back even during moderate-intensity and high-intensity. This also means you can still exercise even if you are recovering from an injury.

2. Excellent Upper Body Workout

Use the handles correctly and you can effectively tone your arms, chest, and back apart from working out your lower body and improving cardio health.

3. Reverse Stride Feature

One great feature that an elliptical trainer comes with is its reverse stride option – users can reverse the unit’s pedals for more workout variety.

4. Lower RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)

Because you are mimicking a walking movement with an elliptical trainer, your RPE level is lower. This means you may be sweating it off much harder than you would initially contemplate.

Elliptical Cross Trainer Disadvantages

1. Not For Muscle-Strength Building

Ellipticals provide low-impact training thus it’s not the unit meant to strengthen the muscles and bones.

2. Offer Little To No Height Adjustments

In the elliptical vs exercise bike discourse, one of the drawbacks discussed regarding elliptical trainers is that most models offer minimal and even zero adjustments for different heights. Most have only a single handle height and stride length set thus it’s not capable of accommodating a wide range of individuals.

The Exercise Bike: What You Need To Know

To continue with the elliptical vs exercise bike piece, we will then discuss the essentials of exercise bikes. Exercise bikes are just as efficient for general fitness and health pretty much like the elliptical.

If elliptical trainers decrease stress on the joints, exercise or stationary bikes get rid of all that pressure due to the inclusion of a seat. The seat is put there to support the user’s body weight during exercise.

Using an elliptical means you have to use your legs to mitigate pressure on the joints. If you want something gentler on your body, the exercise bike is a great option. Freeing up the pressure on those parts is also what makes it a nice choice for physical therapists and mature fitness buffs.

Because the exercise bike works out a smaller number of muscle groups, it offers users more specific workouts that can accommodate their choice fitness needs and objectives. For instance, you can focus more on tackling your abdominals and back muscles without facilitating the arms to work in tandem with those muscle groups.

More Exercise Bike Advantages

1. Ideal For People With Joint Pain And MSDs

A primary benefit of using stationary bikes is it does not affect the joints, thus it’s great for people who have joint conditions, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), or are recovering from injury. It’s also great exercise equipment for professionals who participate in high-impact sports.

2. Great For All Fitness Levels

Inside the continuing elliptical vs exercise bike debate, stationary bike enthusiasts commend this equipment for being a user-friendly unit. It can be used by both beginners and professionals. Whether you’re young or old, fit, plus-size, or overweight, its function and features will help you achieve your fitness goal.

3. Excellent For Performing HIIT

Exercise bikes make for top HIIT equipment since they allow users to modify the intensity of their workouts easily by adjusting the pedal speed (RPM) and resistance level. This bike is versatile as well since you can use the unit to warm up and cool down.

4. More Affordable

Stationary bikes often come at affordable price points compared to elliptical trainers and because they’re versatile, you can come up with more varied routines.

Exercise Bike Disadvantages

1. Not For Race Training

If you are fond of joining rigorous outdoor racing competitions, this is not the training equipment for you. It’s much better if you still train outdoors to get the feel of all elements connected to outdoor racing from wind resistance down to terrain types.

2. Limited Muscle Group Target

Exercise bikes only work out the lower body, and to some extent, the glutes. Ellipticals include movable handles so they can work out the arms and shoulders, too.

Which One Will Burn More Calories?

The level of calories that a person burns will be based not only on the equipment they use (in this case, elliptical vs exercise bike), it is also affected by factors like workout intensity and duration, weight, sex, and age.

Elliptical trainers burn more calories compared to exercise bikes. Why? They are capable of providing a total body workout. The unit not only works out the lower body but with the inclusion of moving handles, it can engage the arms and the core as well. Muscles that are frequently engaged by the elliptical include the quads, triceps, deltoids, hamstrings, and glutes.

With a total body workout, more calories get burned. Based on estimates acquired by Harvard Medical School, you can burn calories between 270-400 calories by using the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes. Individuals weighing 125 lbs, 155 lbs, and 185 lbs were observed by the Harvard group to acquire the numbers.

If a 185-pound individual performs moderate-intensity exercises on a stationary bike for a half-hour, the person will burn 311 calories. Boost the intensity of the workout and they can burn even more calories.

Then again, as long as you work hard, both the elliptical and the exercise bike will improve your fitness and cardiovascular endurance in nearly the same manner. Your effort contributes strongly to the whole calorie-burning deal. You have to adjust the incline or resistance if you want more calories burned to lose weight.

In addition, there’s always your diet. You do have to take in a wholesome diet and avoid too many carbs, starch, sugar, and fat. Go for more proteins and consume lots of vegetables and fruits that are low in sugar.


Both the elliptical trainer and exercise bike help users achieve their fitness goals. If you want to burn more calories, you do have to come up with a suitable weight loss workout routine for either fitness device. You also need to increase the resistance or incline, perform those routines regularly, and get into a healthier diet to eliminate unwanted pounds.

1. What are the benefits of using an elliptical?

Ellipticals help burn plenty of calories, provide low-impact exercise, improve stamina and cardio capacity, deliver full-body workouts, and help retain fitness after injury recovery.

2. Does the elliptical burn belly fat?

Eliminating belly fat can be done, but keep in mind that this procedure takes time. You have to perform cardio workouts on the elliptical trainer for up to 30 minutes per routine up to 3 times a day. Aerobic exercises can help you lose unwanted belly fat so you need to work harder along with sticking to a balanced, healthy diet.