Under Desk Bike Vs Under Desk Elliptical (Which One is Better?)

Sitting at the desk for long hours has become the order of the day for the majority of people today. You either work from home or drive to and from work and still have to sit while working the whole day. Either way, an under desk elliptical or bike comes as a fitness savior.

Basically, under desk equipment are small and easily fits under the desk. Therefore, you can work as you exercise, hitting two birds with a single time stone.

Nevertheless, both the under desk bike and the elliptical are almost similar in outlook and function. So, are they really different, and is there a reason one should buy one instead of the other? Let’s see!

At a Glance; Under Desk Bike

As a whole, an under desk bike is a set of pedals on a pedal machine. They allow you to undertake the usual pedaling exercises, which require circular feet and leg movement.

Moreover, the bike uses toe cages, which allow the user to lock their feet and prevent slipping off during pedaling.

The under desk bike can easily fit under the desk, and it is portable, allowing diversity. You can also place it on the table for upper body and arm exercises.

At a Glance; Under Desk Elliptical

In general, the under desk elliptical has the same build like that of the under desk bike. However, the pedal platform is flat, with raised front and rear parts. The design stems from the fact that movement on the pedals is lateral, from front to back and back to front.

Therefore, there are no chances of slipping off. Besides, the raised front and rear prevent the feet from slipping beyond the platform.

Due to the lateral movement on the elliptical, the under-desk surface area is almost insignificant because the legs barely move from one point to the other.

Are Under Desk Bikes/ Ellipticals Really Effective?

Yes, they are. The purpose of under desk bikes and ellipticals is to help with body activity whenever you are stuck on your desk with work. They help get the heart rate up, burn calories and keep weight in check.

Other than that, some people purchase under desk equipment to prevent fidgeting and promote concentration. But, again, the elliptical and the bike are effective in this function, especially since users always get back to the pedaling when their concentration goes down.

However, the under desk idea doesn’t work well for users who purchase the equipment to replace regular exercise. After all, the calories you burn in three days equate to only 60 minutes on a regular fitness bike or elliptical.

Read Also: Do Under Desk Bikes Work? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Is an Under Desk Elliptical Better Than an Under Desk Bike?

Not exactly. The under desk elliptical benefits even out those of the under desk bike. For example, the elliptical is suitable for long legs because it has minimal space limitations for functionality. On the other hand, the bike is not leg exercise specific. Thus, you can use it for upper body exercises as well.

Also, the under desk bike and the elliptical work the same muscles, lower body muscle groups. However, the elliptical is more diverse since you can target the different lower leg muscles, from the heel and middle foot to the toes.

Most importantly, both the under desk elliptical and bike cost almost the same, with negligible differences.

Under Desk Elliptical Vs. Under Desk Bike: Calories Burned

Amazingly, both the bike and the elliptical help burn the same amount of calories at a given time, speed and resistance. Previously, I thought that the under desk elliptical helped burn more calories than the under desk bike due to the fast fatigue. However, after a practical experiment, I realized that they typically worked almost the same number of calories, with negligible differences.

Using an under-desk bike and elliptical machine burns a little number of calories, but not significantly so.

Research indicated overweight people benefited from an under-desk device.

They averaged 50-60 minutes of use every day, expending 107-110 calories per day, which more than 500+ calories burned a week.

Which is Better for Knees? An Under Desk Bike or an Under Desk Elliptical?

Low impact exercises are always recommended when you have bad knees or recovering from knee injuries. Fortunately for you, both the under desk elliptical and bike are low impact and gentle on the knees. Therefore, they will help keep your knees active without much movement that would prove detrimental.

Nevertheless, there are situations when you have long legs and worry that the knees will knock on your under desk during exercise. Usually, the under desk bike will cause the knocking, hence unsuitable. 

On the other hand, the under desk elliptical requires minimal leg movement away from the pedal area, as all the movement is only back and forth. So, in this case, the elliptical is the best for knee protection.

Desk Clearance/ Space Needed for Under Desk Bike and Elliptical

Most under desk bikes and ellipticals are 20 to 25 inches in height, while the length and width are barely 20 inches.

The elliptical requires a shuffling movement, which means that the extra clearance needed is minimal. 

On the contrary, the bike requires more desk clearance to accommodate the circular feet and leg movement in pedaling, depending on your leg height.

Under Desk Elliptical Vs. Bike: Cost

Fortunately, the under desk bike and elliptical are almost similar in cost. However, the elliptical is more expensive than the bike in nearly all companies. However, the price difference is not too much to affect the decision between the two machines.

Elliptical Vs. Bike: Enjoyment

The interesting bit about the most enjoyable between the under desk bike and elliptical is that it is subjective. I love the bike more than the elliptical because I like the feel of road cycling in the house or office. 

Contrarily, I have a friend who went for the elliptical and enjoys it. However, she feels that it is easier to ride in the office while under work pressure than on the bike.

Under Desk Bike Vs. Elliptical for Health; Which is Better?

Typically, both the under desk bike and the elliptical are excellent for office calorie burning and cardiovascular and respiratory systems’ health.

Due to the low-impact exercise both deliver, they are suitable for knee injury recovery. I also read several reviews about senile seniors finding the under desk bikes and ellipticals effective in health restoration.

Therefore, the under desk bike and elliptical draw in health benefits.

The Pros and Cons of an Under Desk Elliptical

The Pros of an Under Desk Elliptical

An under desk elliptical has the following benefits;

  • It enables the user to simultaneously workout out and work or study
  • The elliptical is suitable for tall people due to the minimal height and width of desk clearance required.
  • It is excellent for heart and lung health.
  • Its cardiovascular nature further helps with calorie burning.
  • It is suitable for bad knees’ recovery and other exercise limitations that limit the body to low-impact exercise only.
  • The pedal platform is so large that any foot size will fit, even the largest and widest.
  • The option for resistance allows for diverse workout intensity and difficulty levels.
  • It is portable for exercise from the different house and office points.
  • The elliptical is smooth and quiet, helping privatize your exercise, especially in the office.
  • The under desk elliptical allows for different leg muscle targeting. For example, one can cycle using the toes, the foot, or the heel area for different results.

The Cons of an Under Desk Elliptical

An under desk elliptical has a downside, as below;

  • The exercise is only limited to the legs and not any other body part.
  • Though portable, it is pretty heavy, especially for sick people.+

The Pros and Cons of an Under Desk Bike

The Pros of an Under Desk Bike

Let’s dig into the advantages of using an under desk bike;

  • The under-desk bike has versatile usage; you can place it on the desk or table for upper body exercise when not pedaling it under your feet.
  • It enables the user to simultaneously workout out and work or study
  • The option for resistance allows for diverse workout intensity and difficulty levels.
  • It helps in burning calories.
  • Cycling is cardiovascular exercise, hence good for heart and lung health.
  • It is suitable for bad knees’ recovery and other exercise limitations that limit the body to low-impact exercise only.
  • It is portable for exercise from the different house and office points.
  • The bike is smooth and quiet, helping privatize your exercise, especially in the office.

The Cons of an Under Desk Bike

  • The range of movements during pedaling requires ample desk clearance. In this regard, it may not work in favour of tall people without desk adjustment.
  • Though portable, it is quite heavy, especially for sick people.

Under Desk Elliptical Vs. Bike Differences

1. Mode of Workout

The under desk elliptical requires pedalling forward and backwards, as if in a shuffling manner. On the other hand, cycling the under desk bike calls for circular feet and leg motions.

2. Desk Clearance Requirements

Due to the circular leg and foot motion during cycling, under desk bikes require more desk clearance compared to the under desk ellipticals.

3. Large Feet Accommodation

Basically, the under desk bikes use toe cages that lock the feet onto the pedal. Thus, the foot sizes are limited, and wide feet may be left out in some bike toe cages.

Contrarily, the under desk elliptical uses wide pedal platforms, in which any foot size will fit. Therefore, the elliptical accommodates larger feet, which the under desk bike may not.

4. Workout Diversity

The under desk bike is suitable for leg exercises. However, it can also be placed on a table for arms and upper body exercises. However, the elliptical pedal platform is designed for leg exercises only.

Under Desk Elliptical Vs. Bike Similarities

1. Type of Exercise

Both the under desk elliptical and the under desk bike are lower body exercise equipment. Though the bike can be used for upper body workouts, it is primarily designed for lower body exercises.

2. Purpose of the Exercise

Usually, one gets an under desk elliptical or bike that they can use as they work. Both will keep your feet busy enhancing body fitness while the hands are busy undertaking other office work.

Moreover, the machines help with burning calories, which count in body weight management. And, being cardiovascular fitness equipment, they also help improve and maintain heart and lung health.

You will also appreciate the under desk bike or elliptical during chilly days. Rather than have numb fingers that barely type, the bike or elliptical will help warm you up for better productivity.

When one has limited mobility or a medical condition that limits the range of workouts, either equipment will be excellent. It will offer the low-impact exercise recommended in such cases.

3. Space-Saving 

The under desk elliptical and bike fit under the desk. Thus, you don’t need to get extra space in the house for storage. 

Therefore, it gives you the opportunity to exercise in the house even when you have limited house space.

4. Cost

The difference between the price of the under desk bike and the elliptical is negligible. Hence, both types of equipment come at similar costs.

5. Size and Weight

Essentially, the under desk elliptical and the bike are similar in general structural outlook. Therefore, they occupy almost the same space on the floor. An example of an average bike or elliptical is 23 x 18 x 10 inches (L x W x H).

Other than that, the under desk equipment is also portable, largely due to its weight. The average weight is 20 lbs for either the elliptical or the bike. Thus, you can take it to the office for exercise and back home for an active TV time.

6. Resistance

For most models, the under desk bike and elliptical have resistance levels between 5 and 15. The resistance levels allow for different difficulty levels in pedaling, necessary, especially for calorie-burning goals.

Even better, the resistance is magnetic, which helps deliver quiet and smooth pedaling sessions. This means that you will not shy off from your best pedaling deal, even in an open office setting.

7. Display

 The under desk bike and elliptical has a display in most instances. Usually, the display clearly shows metrics such as calories burned, time, distance, and speed on the pedals.

It is a great motivational feature since it makes targets more realistic to the user.

Final Word

So, which one should I take; an under desk bike or an under desk elliptical? Please go with the most convenient for you and one you will enjoy. The best part is that the cost is not a competitive factor in this case.

Therefore, the elliptical is an amazing choice if you are tall and don’t want issues with under desk clearance. Nevertheless, the under desk bike is excellent for upper body and lower body exercises.

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