Author’s Note: I have no relationship with companies that make Gazelles or exercise bikes.
Depending on your goals for fitness, you need to create different types of workouts, so a Gazelle or an exercise bike will be a better choice for you based on what you want to achieve. Both provide you with the opportunity to create aerobic and anaerobic workouts and give you a lower-body workout. That’s where the similarities end, however.
You’ll burn more calories on the machine you enjoy using more.
Calorie burning all depends on how hard, fast and long you work out on any machine. Based on anecdotal information available on the Internet, Gazelles without resistance don’t seem to burn as many calories as other cardio machines, and upright bikes burn more calories than recumbent bikes.
You can still get a good workout on a Gazelle without resistance if you work hard and long and use the right techniques to avoid letting momentum do the work for you. The workouts will be more fun than sitting and pedaling an exercise bike, which might get you to exercise more often and longer each session. Gazelles with resistance will most likely burn more calories than an exercise bike because of the increased muscle use and upper-body workout. And, more resistance builds more muscle, providing a longer post-workout burn.
How they Work
Both exercise machines rely heavily on leg movements: the exercise bike has you pedaling, while the Gazelle has you striding in a standing position, using the arms at different levels of effort, depending on what muscles you wish to exercise. Both offer different resistance settings. Depending on the bike you have, you may be able to change resistance settings without stopping your exercise. With the Gazelle, you’ll have to stop your workout, get off the machine and manually change the resistance setting. This takes a matter of seconds. Exercise bikes come in traditional and recumbent versions, with the latter requiring you to sit while leaning slightly back with your hands below your hips the entire time. If you are cyclist, a traditional exercise bike will give you a more realistic training aid for racing since you mimic the riding position and your knees go higher than on a Gazelle. Gazelle models come with and without resistance.
Both the Gazelle and an exercise bike let you exercise in your aerobic target heart rate zone by increasing or decreasing resistance settings. By increasing the resistance settings, you’ll get your heart rate up because you’ll have to work harder against the resistance; however, this may cause your muscles to fatigue faster and shorten your workout. Decreasing the resistance settings on the machines allows you to pedal or stride faster, raising your heart rate with increased intensity, but less overall muscular effort.
Anaerobic (HIIT) Capabilities
Both machines allow you to sprint train, primarily by decreasing the resistance settings to increase the pace of your leg movements. On the bike, you’ll sprint by pedaling at an extremely high rate for 30 to 90 seconds, depending on your conditioning, then coasting during the recovery portion of your interval training by switching gears to a low setting. With the Gazelle, you’ll perform a “Power Sprint ” consisting of either increased upper- or lower-body movements to move the machine’s levers and pedals at a fast rate. During your recovery, you’ll use smaller strides and no arm movements.
This is where the two machines really part company. An exercise bike limits your workout to your lower body, unless you use dumbbells while working out. Standing on the pedals will require a bit more upper-body effort, but won’t give you a true upper-body workout. The Gazelle allows you to target upper-body muscles with decreased use of the legs during the workout. You can target individual muscles by changing your hand, arm and leg positions on the Gazelle.
An exercies bike works primarily the quadriceps and calves, with the glutes and hamstring also involved throughout the workout. The Gazelle allows you to target many specific muscles for resistance work (see link above), including the calves, quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, biceps, pectorals, triceps, deltoids and lats. You target muscles by changing your body position on the machine. For example, leaning forward targets different muscles than leaning backward. Keeping your elbows in works the biceps and chest, while flaring your elbows out from your side targets the triceps and lats. Standing sideways on the machines lets you work inner and outer leg muscles. Other Types of Gazelle Workouts Research Gazelle models and reviews Research Exercise bike models and reviews
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