Arm bikes are a great way to move more when leg workouts are not an option or preference. Find out how many calories you can burn with these.
The average person can expect to burn around 83 – 142+ calories per 30 minutes of using a regular arm bike at a general pace. This number will vary from individual to individual due to a variety of factors.
Something to note is that these are rough estimations. In reality, details like your exact arm bike speed, hormone levels, body composition, etc. can influence your results a lot.
For example, the 83 calories burned per 30 minutes of arm cycling is the estimation for a 125-pound (56 kg) person.
On the other end, the 142 calories are the estimation for a 215-pound (97 kg) person doing the same arm bike workout.
This article will also go over more in-depth estimations, a comparison between different “types” of arm bikes, how to burn more calories while using an arm bike, and more.
Biggest influences calories burned with arm bikes
While this can be inconvenient, it is hard to perfectly estimate how many calories arm bikes burn. There are just so many details that are hard to measure but influence the actual results.
That being said, it is still possible to make your estimations for the calories burned with arm bikes somewhat better. More specifically, taking a few key influences in mind can help.
Knowing about these key details also makes it easier to change your arm bike workouts in ways that make them more effective for burning calories.
A few examples of details that influence the number of calories burned with arm bike sessions are:
- Body weight: Generally the more you weigh, the more calories your body needs to fuel your movements. This includes during arm bike rotations.
- Arm bike intensity: How fast you use your arm bike influences your energy consumption too. Faster movements tend to burn more calories.
- Body composition: The human body is made from different tissues. In what ratios these tissues are present can vary from person to person. This influences the calories burned with arm bikes because an amount of muscle will require more energy than the same weight in fat.
- Arm bike resistance setting: You can typically make the rotations on your arm bike harder or easier. The higher you set the resistance, the more calories one rotation will burn.
Estimations calories burned with an arm bike
A cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention mentions you can burn more than 7 calories per minute when arm cycling at a vigorous pace (1).
While this is better than nothing, you can also use MET values to get more precise estimations for how many calories arm bikes burn in your situation.
These MET values are numbers that estimate or measure how physically intense certain activities are. In turn, you can use the MET values in the formula below to get an idea of how many calories you burn per minute.
Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
A MET estimation using an arm ergometer, aka arm bike, at a moderate pace is 2.8 (2). Different intensities will make a big difference. Only using the arm part of a stationary bicycle like an Airdyne has an MET estimation of 4.3.
In the first table below, you can find estimations for how many calories moderate-effort arm bike workouts burn for different people and durations.
After that, you can find how these specific arm bikes and more general stationary bikes compare in terms of energy usage.
It is worth mentioning again that you don’t want to take these numbers too precisely. Your actual results can vary.
Calories burned with an arm bike
Counting your rotations is likely not something you like to do.
Instead, taking a look at the clock at the start and end of your arm bike workouts will be a more convenient way to estimate the number of calories you burned.
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|3 calories||41 calories||83 calories||124 calories||165 calories|
|3 calories||51 calories||103 calories||154 calories||205 calories|
|4 calories||61 calories||122 calories||184 calories||245 calories|
|5 calories||71 calories||142 calories||213 calories||284 calories|
Calories burned with different arm bike types
People typically consider arm bikes to be separate arm ergometers. That being said, you can also only use the arm part of stationary bikes that are made to work both your arms and legs.
Since your legs typically support the movement, these arm stationary bikes are generally more intense and in turn burn more calories.
Below you can find estimations about how these two arm bike types compare. These amounts are for using the machines for 30 minutes.
|Arm Bike Type|
|83 calories||127 calories|
|103 calories||157 calories|
|122 calories||188 calories|
|142 calories||218 calories|
How to burn more calories with an arm bike
The tables above may give a different impression but you can influence the effectiveness of your arm bike sessions a lot.
This can be helpful for people who want to burn more calories in shorter amounts of time.
The first way to do this is really picking up the speed of your arm bike rotations. This will require more energy from your body.
Secondly, you can increase the resistance setting if your arm bike has one.
You do want to keep in mind that you still have to be able to move at a decent pace. There is also something like increasing the resistance too much for effective calorie burning.
Thirdly, building extra muscle mass with other exercises would also increase how many calories your arm bike workouts burn.
An added benefit of this is that you also just use up more energy throughout the day.
Lastly, making your arm bike sessions longer and doing them more often will also generally help you burn more calories. One downside is that this could require more time.
How long does it take to lose weight with arm bikes?
If you are interested in burning more calories with arm bikes, you likely want to lose some extra weight.
Something important to note about this is that burning more calories is not always enough. You may also need changes in areas like your diet.
That aside, if you imagine there is a person who is at a weight loss plateau and only implements more arm bike workouts, you can get a few interesting numbers.
A 185-pound (84 kg) person using an arm bike for 15 minutes a day can burn an extra 427 calories or about 0.12 pounds (0.05 kg) of body fat.
After keeping up this habit for four weeks, the same person would have burned an extra 1708 calories or about 0.49 pounds (0.21 kg) of body fat.
These may not be the most impressive amounts but this calorie burning and hopefully weight loss progress can still be welcome. Especially if you consider you can get more results by picking up the pace.
Are arm bikes a good workout for burning calories?
From the perspective of results per minute, arm bikes are not the best workout for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
There are a lot of exercise options that are many times more effective.
At the same time, one of the benefits of arm bikes is that they enable you to do cardiovascular workouts that burn extra calories if leg workouts are currently not an option.
Additionally, you can use your arm bike while doing other activities like watching TV.
In simpler words, arm bikes can be a good choice for individuals who are not able to do leg workouts.
On the flip side, other people likely want to consider other exercise options.