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Treadmill vs Elliptical vs Bike for Weight Loss – What Wins the Battle?

treadmill vs elliptical vs bike for weight loss
Written by Thomas Bailey
Last Update: December 9, 2022

There are so many different types of exercise equipment that it often becomes hard for fitness enthusiasts to decide on the right type. But the rule of thumb is that it all depends on your fitness goals and your current condition.

In order to know what might be the best between elliptical, treadmill, and bike, you should first be able to differentiate them. All of them are amazing pieces of equipment, and they all can offer a good workout for you.

Elliptical vs Treadmill vs Bike –  Which Is Better?


Half a treadmill, half stepper, and imitating the pedal action of a stationary bike, the elliptical machine provides a unique mixture of fitness advantages, without the effect on joints, knees, hips, or back. This weight-bearing workout machine enables you to burn fat easily than, non-weight-bearing exercise machines, plus create bone density efficiently.

More than only a workout for the lower body, arm handles paired with leg movement will offer total body training session. Furthermore, the elliptical trainer tends to create a reduced “perceived exhaustion rate” – you do more workout and burn calories without much effort. Commonly, this cross-training fitness machine can also be configured via electronic configurations to meet your particular calorie burning, distance, and speed objectives.


Another unique benefit is that the elliptical trainer can also be “pedaled” backward as well as forward, to work a full spectrum of leg muscles efficiently. The elliptical trainers are very popular with all those who try the gains a full-body exercise without pounding and tension.


This popular method of weight-bearing workout offers you the best chance to develop bone mass in the lower limbs and significantly improve your muscle tone. Unbeatable for aerobic and fat-burning exercises, the treadmill will help you lose 50 to 200 calories more per hour compared to an elliptical trainer or a stationary bike.

Although walking and running have a greater effect on your joints and bones than stationary bikes or elliptical trainers, most high-end treadmills are designed with surfaces that help absorb pounding and stress, providing a huge advantage over outdoor workouts on concrete or asphalt.


Most treadmills also have electronic apps and configurations that enable you to create your workouts to match your unique fitness needs. Almost all devices have settings for incline and speed and can be optimized for personal calorie-burning, pace, and distance goals.

In addition to providing all the advantages of outdoor walking or running in the convenience of your room, treadmills are a popular solution for training to achieve full fitness performance in the shortest period.


Although they’ve been around for years, stationary bikes have come back into the mainstream of the training scene. That is mainly due to technical advancements, improved design, and the increasingly successful “spinning” applications that allow users to replicate outdoor cycling in the luxury of home or a group classroom environment.

Unlike other types of “weight-bearing” workout, such as walking or running, stationary bikes give users a chance to raise their heart rate without additional pressure on ankles, knees, hips, or feet. Additionally, the built-in resistance option allows you to customize your training session to your specific objectives, by simulating flat ground, hills, and rolling terrain.

exercise bike

Many models also offer electronic options that enable you to customize the bike for a particular purpose or workout. That is of great help for achieving successful, observable results.

Typically available in upright or recumbent designs, bikes are crafted for virtually every performance level and body shape, whether you’re a seasoned cyclist committed to perfecting your peddle control or a weekend warrior just wanting to break some sweat.

Elliptical vs. Treadmill vs. Bike: What’s the Difference

Below is an evaluation of the training opportunities for elliptical vs. treadmill vs. bike to demonstrate to you the advantages of each. This information provides you with a clear way of determining which one is right for your preferences and helps you to get on the right path.

1. Fat Burning

The elliptic trainer deals with the lower and upper body. That makes it a great choice for fat burning. When you have more muscles involved, you’ll need more energy to perform any movement. So it’s ahead of both the stationary bike and the treadmill.

Next, let’s have a look at the treadmill. If you’re running at a faster rate or sprinting at bursts, you’re going to burn more calories on this machine as well. Even more, than you would burn on the stationary bike. The explanation is that you need to sit while cycling, so all the core muscles won’t need to push too hard to get the work done.

They could sit and relax, and that will also burn fewer calories. So if every workout equipment is similar in terms of how confident you are on them, pick the elliptical trainer, then a treadmill, then stationary bike if you are searching for fat burning efficiency.

2. Joint Impact

The elliptical trainer is built to be gentle on the joints, so you know that this training machine is getting top results here. With this training machine, you will have no impact on joints or knees at all, so you don’t even need to think about it. So, if you’d like to prevent any joint pain, use the elliptical trainer.

The treadmill will receive the worst scores, like shin splints, knee problems, ankle injuries, and pain in the lower back are all too common for runners. If you decide to walk, you probably won’t feel that much pain but be ready when you choose to sprint. The maximum you can do is to increase the distance and time gradually and ensure that you use proper fitting shoes to reduce joint pain.

Riding a stationary bike is relatively easy on your joints. It is non-impact, but your knees can change from a quite bent to a very straight stance several times per workout, and if you are not careful, this may lead to a fracturing of the joints.

3. Muscle Strength

The treadmill provides almost no resistance, so don’t hope to gain a lot of strength with this machine. Use the elliptical trainer or stationary bike instead. The elliptical trainer would help you develop strength also in the upper and lower body, while a stationary bike mainly focuses on the leg muscles.

That said, the stationary bike will help you develop your hamstrings and quads to a greater extent than the traditional elliptical trainer, so if these were the muscles you would like to focus on, then the stationary bike should be your first choice.

If the glutes are your main priority, then seek to do the elliptical workouts at a higher elevation. That will turn the elliptical trainer into more of an escalator, which is perfect for the development of the booty. Unfortunately, walking uphill, while being on a slope, comes short.

Although it may help you achieve some strength, it just isn’t like you’re fighting against the powers the other two are, so you’re not going to see a lot of benefits as other exercises.

4. Variability

Variability counts because it defines whether you’re going to reach a development plateau and how often you’re falling out of the plan. That way, you’re just not looking forward to your exercises.

The elliptical trainer dominates here, as it helps you to go forward, backward, and on small inclination and also simulates steeper. From there, you could raise the level of resistance. That provides you several possibilities to build different exercises.

The stationary bike only enables you to pedal quicker or boost the resistance while the treadmill offers you to raise your speed while you run or to raise your inclination.

5. Tracking Progress

The advantage of running on a treadmill is because they are easy to use and can be microprogrammed. Since treadmills are quite high-tech, most treadmill systems can monitor distance, time, interval time, and speed. You can analyze your progress comfortably this way.

Most popular elliptical machines also offer the ability to monitor the workouts since this is in demand. Workout tracking would allow you to update your workout sessions online to achieve realistic, long-term objectives so that all your information is easily accessible so you can monitor your results at any time.

Most stationary bikes lately also have configurable functions that can help you get much more of your workout sessions. You can monitor your resistance and speed, the distance you’ve been cycling, your pulse rate, calorie expenditure, and more. That is a perfect way to monitor your performance and create a customized workout program.

6. Race Training

Treadmills help you to achieve your running and timing goals with the same flexibility as running up the hill and sprinting unexpectedly on a leveled ground. Although the treadmill effect is good for your skeletal system, even the most seasoned athlete is at risk of knee, hip, and ankle fractures less frequent in elliptical utilization. While the elliptical trainer is great for cross-training, the treadmills will provide sport-specific workouts for the long races if you’re a runner.

The use of stationary bikes is also fantastic for high-intensity and low-impact training experience. It focuses on all major muscles, including calves, glutes, and quads. Cycling also utilizes these muscles in a non – structural manner so that joints and body will be exposed to minimal stress.

7. Full-Body Workout

A large number of elliptical trainers incorporate a leg and arm movement. While you are pushing and pulling handlebars against resistance, you get a full-body workout. Additionally, since you are simultaneously using your upper and bottom body, your core needs to work to keep your body in balance.

Running on the treadmill is a great cardio workout, but it causes that a few of your muscles are overlooked. Most treadmills involve various types of exercise. For instance, you can sprint on an incline, but also do speedrunning intervals. Running intervals help improve cardiovascular endurance and stimulate muscle growth.

The use of a stationary bike as the main element of a more complex workout regimen is the best approach to get the most out of your bike. Since the stationary bike only stimulates your legs and back, and maybe a little bit of your stomach, you also need other workouts for your training routine.

8. Weight Loss

If you would like to lose weight, then the treadmills are the perfect choice for you. If losing weight while running is your objective, a balanced calorie deficit must be established using both exercise and diet. While exercising on a treadmill, make sure that your pulse rate is in the fat-burning range for at least 30 minutes. If you’re a novice, you first need to concentrate on building stamina and cardiovascular endurance, and then you can increase the level of intensity and start losing weight effectively on a treadmill.

The elliptical trainer will burn between 300 to 400 calories per 30 minutes, based on how much you weight. Although the elliptical machine can be a fantastic weight-loss device, over time it can also become a little boring and repetitive. Fortunately, you can use intervals during your training session, which will maximize calorie burning and promote weight loss.

Stationary bikes deliver efficient cardiovascular training sessions that pump your heart and burn extra calories to help you lose weight. You can lose more than 600 calories per hour with a stationary bike training session, based on the intensity of your training session and your weight. That makes cycling indoors an outstanding workout choice for a fast caloric burn.

9. Ease of Use

When it refers to the ease of use, each of these training machines involves natural movement patterns that you have already done over and over again, so there are no major differences. However, most people need to get used to the treadmill as they need to feel the motion of the belt running under them.

Elliptical trainers are perfect if you consider exercising after an accident due to their user-friendliness and low impact function. That makes then an excellent choice for older people and newcomers who want to start and take things slowly.

Generally, the stationary bikes are just a jump on and go sort of equipment, so there is no learning process here. They’re all quite user friendly and perfect for beginners and experienced users as well.

10. Ease of Maintenance

Any type of exercise equipment, whether it is elliptical or treadmill or bike, must be maintained once a year. Yearly maintenance improves the training machines’ life and avoids friction or twisting noise from wheels, belts, pedals, handlebars, and internal bearings.

When you look at which equipment will break down more frequently, the treadmill tends to come out more usually. Typically, there’s much more to break down with the motor, belt, and the ability to slope.

Usually, elliptical machines constructed by top-ranked manufacturers need very little attention from home users. If you find that your elliptical machine is not stable, use the small disks under your elliptical trainer to adjust it.

Stationary bikes hardly ever break down, so the need for maintenance is relatively rare. Because maintenance will add to the overall cost of the equipment, it must be something you have to consider.

11. Cost

Treadmills are usually the most expensive category of exercise equipment because they integrate a lot of advanced technologies, including computer application that enables you to enjoy features like speed, gradient, or surface adjustment. If these improvements are relevant to you, it makes absolute sense to pay a little bit more for equipment that will give you complete control over your workouts. The typical treadmill will cost you about $1000 – $2500.

Elliptical trainers are usually cheaper. The average household elliptical trainer will cost you costs about $600 – $1000 with an outstanding warranty and many functionalities to help track your training sessions.

You will have to pay around $200 – $500 for a good stationary bike. In general, pricier stationary bikes have more durable designs and features, but some discount-priced machines can also provide a decent workout. Look for a comfy seat and pedals which match your feet before buying it.


Whatever piece of equipment you choose, all three offer an excellent way to exercise. All three of these types of exercise equipment can burn calories and put your lungs and heart to work.

The treadmill will offer a great workout for athletes, while elliptical trainers and stationary bikes provide low-impact workouts, which are good for those who are vulnerable to knee injuries and joint pain. When possible, try to include all three of this equipment to your fitness routine so you could enjoy the advantages of each machine and avoid overuse or injuries and prevent your training sessions from becoming repetitive.


1. Will Riding a Bike Ensure You Have a Flat Stomach?

Ans. Yes, riding a bike will help you get your stomach flat. Cycling is an excellent calorie-burning exercise. People will burn nearly 650 calories for an hour of an intense bicycle ride.

2. What’s More Useful for a Weight Loss: Elliptical Trainer or Treadmill?

Ans. Both elliptical trainers and treadmills are useful, but elliptical trainers are easier on the knees and will burn more calories since they use a lot more muscles. Nevertheless, make sure to use high-intensity exercise periods to optimize your weight loss process.

3. Will Cycling Reduce Your Tummy?

Ans. Cycling is a successful way to remove large concentrations of fat from your belly. Cycling not only increases the heart rate, but it also has the potential to consume large quantities of calories.

4. How Much Weight Can Person Lose If Cycling One Hour per Day?

Ans. Cycling an hour per day is an ideal way of improving weight loss. An adult of 180-pound that is cycling with moderate intensity for an hour will burn around 650 calories.

About the author

Thomas Bailey

A Gym Equipment Expert

I’m Thomas, a healthy guy as people often say. During the 90s when I frequented local gyms, I used to experience an issue that few people could tell knowledgeably when and which piece of equipment to use or work with for which specific part of the body. I won’t tell ‘nobody’ could, but there was lack of perfect guidelines and decisive mentorship when it comes to weightlifting, exercise, and bodybuilding. Since then, I spent so much of my time and patience in finding out the reality about the different tools, exercise units, and equipment that anybody would tell it was going to be my profession, but that’s not really going to happen. However, it has been my pursuit for half the decade. I help, guide, and talk to people who I come across. You’re welcome to take a look at my posts.

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