Stationary bikes come in many shapes and sizes. Find out what the benefits are of the ones with moving arms, also known as dual-action exercise bikes.
These positive aspects range from things that are almost unique to stationary bikes with moving arms to important exercise benefits that are more general but do deserve a mention.
Something else to note is that this article will be about actual stationary bikes that engage both your legs and arms. Not about arm-only bikes.
1. Works muscles all over your body
Stationary bikes, even the ones with moving arms, offer workouts that mostly focus on your cardiovascular health. That being said, using these machines does work muscles all over your body.
You should not expect too much, if any, actual growth but engaging these muscles still offers benefits.
Some of these positive effects include slowing down degradation, making the muscles healthier, and improving muscle endurance.
The muscles you work with dual-action stationary bikes include:
- Quadriceps (front thighs)
- Glutes (butt)
- Hamstrings (back thighs)
- Triceps (back part upper arms)
- Deltoids (shoulders)
- Potentially pectoralis major (chest, depending on cycling technique)
- Latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back)
- Wrist muscles
As you can tell, stationary bikes with moving arms work a lot of different muscles.
Whether this machine can help you build muscle, what muscles this applies to, and to what extent this happens depends on the current strength of your muscles.
If you can do more than 20 rotations without muscle fatigue, you are likely not really building muscle.
You can still get some of the benefits of engaging your muscles mentioned above but to see actual growth and strength increases, you want to turn to weight lifting exercises.
2. You could only use your arms or legs
If you use a dual-action exercise bike normally, you work all the muscles mentioned above. However, one of the benefits of these types of machines is that you could also use only your arms or only your legs.
For example, let’s say you injure one of your legs and you are not able to use it for cycling. In that case, a stationary bike with moving handles still allows you to train cardiovascular health.
Besides that, you may simply have days where you prefer regular cycling. Again, the versatility of this type of cardio equipment can be helpful.
One important thing to note is that not all exercise bikes with moving handles are equally great for this benefit.
Models like the Rogue Echo Bike are already really challenging with both your legs and your arms. By not using body parts it may become hard to exercise much.
3. Helps you lose weight
Having excess body fat can cause a lot of negative effects on your health. There are definitely also individuals who don’t want this effect but many people would improve their health by losing some weight in the form of body fat.
One popular way to try and make this happen is by doing exercise. By moving your body more intensely than usual it uses up more energy measured in calories.
A rough estimation is that a 155-pound person using a regular exercise bike for 30 minutes at moderate to vigorous effort burns around 249 calories.
If you assume that adding the extra handles changes the overall intensity to vigorous effort, this same individual would burn around 322 calories in the same time frame.
Even if there were more precise estimations for the intensity levels of using a stationary bike with moving arms, estimating the number of calories burned would still be challenging.
This number can vary from individual to individual due to reasons like hormone levels, body weights, body compositions, exact cycling intensity, etc.
In any case, it is clear that using a dual-action exercise bike can be good for weight loss.
Do keep in mind that other lifestyle habits like nutrition still play an important role in losing weight. You can do many sessions on your stationary bike with moving handles and still gain weight if these other habits are suboptimal.
4. Can warm up your lower and upper body
Before doing a workout it is generally a good idea to warm up. Especially if the workout is an intense one and/or you are not the youngest person.
Stationary bikes with moving handles work a variety of muscles and move many joints in both your upper and lower body. This benefit makes them a good equipment option for a full-body warm-up.
5. Adds some variety
A lot of people work out for the health benefits but many individuals also do it because they enjoy it at least somewhat.
Something that can make your exercise routine (even) more enjoyable is using different pieces of fitness equipment like a stationary bike with moving handles.
Besides just being something that is nice to have, making your workouts more fun can also improve consistency.
Since you also have to actually do a workout plan to get the health benefits, this can be a nice benefit of dual-action exercise bikes if you like to change things up.
6. Low-impact exercise
Some exercise bike alternatives like running, volleyball, and tennis require you to make small “jumps” which can put your body under shocks.
If you don’t overdo it, this can also lead to more strengthening.
However, people who are relatively new to exercise and have a few extra pounds may get pain or injuries by doing the activities above.
To play it safe, it is generally smarter to start with low-impact exercise options like using a stationary bike with handles.
Low-impact exercises allow you to get fitter and strengthen your body without pressuring it as much. Injuries can slow down your progress for many weeks so this can be a valuable benefit.
Once your body is ready for it, you could also consider changing to the more intense exercises over time if that is something you want.
7. Comes in different types
You can consider stationary bikes with moving handles as their own type of exercise bike but they also come in combination with different designs.
More specifically, there are dual-action air bikes where a turning fan causes the resistance and dual-action recumbent bikes where you have a more laid-back seat with back support.
These types are not necessarily better or worse for everyone. What type the best is for you depends on things like your personal preferences, budget, training goals, etc.
8. Tends to be a stable exercise bike type
When choosing an exercise bike you can go for many types including upright bikes, spin bikes, air bikes, recumbent bikes, and dual-action exercise bikes.
Each type has its specific benefits and downsides but stationary bikes with moving handles tend to be heavier and close to the ground.
While there are of course individual differences between models, the combination above makes dual-action exercise bikes generally a relatively stable type.
If you are not that confident in your fine motor skills and want to reduce the risk of your exercise bike tipping over when you bump against it, stationary bikes with moving handles, especially the recumbent ones, could be a good choice.