Choosing between an under-desk bike and elliptical machine can be difficult given that they serve the same purpose of burning calories while seated at your desk. They’re also similar in size and weight although they differ in their working mechanisms, desk clearance and a few other aspects.
Office work can be quite detrimental to our health as we burn very few calories throughout the day. You spend about 8 hours on a desk and some more seated on the train or car heading to work and home. For most office workers, finding time within this busy schedule is quite difficult hence the need for office workout equipment such as under desk bikes and elliptical machines.
Under Desk Bike vs Elliptical: The Similarities
These workout machines are similar in the following ways:
1. They play similar roles
Under desk bikes and elliptical machines are both meant to work the legs and lower back muscles when sitting at your desk. They work the same parts of the body and almost at the same level of intensity. If you’re looking to burn some calories at your desk through the legs, neither machine is better than the other.
2. They weigh about the same
Both of these machines are made to be light and highly portable yet still strong and durable. As such, they weigh about the same with most of them being about 20 lbs. for ease of use and movement. They can also be locked to a desk or other larger stationary object for security.
3. They cost about the same
If you go for a similar quality and size for either machine, the price would be almost the same. This is because of the similar roles, sizes, material qualities and the almost similar way they work the body. Often, the decision between them is a matter of personal choice rather than the price.
4. They have similar features
Elliptical machines are similar to under desk bikes in several ways such as having similar settings. For both machines, you vary the workout by increasing or decreasing the resistance. Their operations are also quiet enough to keep the office calm and uninterrupted.
They also help burn about the same number of calories. On average, manufacturers for both machines rate them at about 300 calories a day but most people will manage anything from 100 calories upwards.
5. They have similar sizes
The two machines also share similar sizes which allows them fit under your desk and allow you to move your feet back and forth and up and down. They’re usually about 10 inches in height although the bikes may be bigger to allow for the movement of the pedals.
6. Level of noise
Both of these machines produce very little noise especially those that use a magnetic resistance system. Your workmate sitting right opposite to you won’t even know you’re working out whether you get yourself an elliptical or bike.
From the similarities discussed here, you basically have the same machines with a few differences drawing them apart. The differences are discussed below.
Under Desk Bike vs Elliptical: The Differences
The differences between them include the following aspects:
1. The workout motions involved
The two pieces of workout equipment have slightly different motions in the way they work the body. For an elliptical machine, you move your feet back and forth in a shuffling manner. To complete a cycle, one foot has to go forward then back to its starting position. They may look like the climbing of stairs. These shuffling motions also help work the ankle as you stretch and compress it.
On the other hand, under desk cycles work like normal bicycles where the feet move in circular motions in one direction. A complete cycle will be one foot completing motion through a full circle.
2. Different feet size accommodations
When it comes to the feet accommodations provided, you get more space with the elliptical machine than the bike. While the elliptical machine simply has large surfaces for each foot to step on, the under-desk bike usually has pedals with straps looping over the pedal. These straps can be restrictive for larger feet as they can restrict how large of a foot can go through them. You can, however, overcome this issue by simply placing your feet on the pedals and not under the straps.
3. Number of adjustments available
The other difference comes in the form of the adjustments available for each machine. While you can adjust the difficulty level of an under desk bike, you can only use it in one of two ways which is pedaling forwards or backwards.
On the other hand, the elliptical bike offers many other different settings besides the difficulty level. These include the fact that you can work it placing your heels, toes and the flat part of the foot on the pedals. When these parts of the foot are used, you get varied workouts for the legs and lower body in general.
4. Level of clearance needed
The different motions for both machines means that you’ll need different levels of clearance under your desk to use them. With the elliptical bike, your feet move back and forth. If there’s any extra clearance you’ll need, it’ll be that the front part of your desk should be without a barrier.
For an under desk bike, your knees move up and down, in such a case, you’ll need extra clearance under the desk in terms of the height. To avoid hitting your knees on the underside of the desk, make the right adjustments and check the size of the bike you get.
5. Other uses
An elliptical machine can only be used to exercise the feet through back and forth motions. While you can vary the type of exercises you do with the machine, you can use it for another part of the body.
On the other hand, you can use the under desk bike for the upper part of the body. By placing it on the desk or other platform, you can work the arms and upper body with the pedals using it as an upper-body ergometer.
Which one wins: Bike or Elliptical?
From these comparisons, the two machines are the same in many ways. The main difference here is that of the under desk bike being put to other uses beyond the leg workouts. If you intend to work out the upper body as well, the bike is the winner.