Under Desk Elliptical vs. Bike: Which One Is Right For You?

By Robert David Orr / Last updated: Nov 8, 2022

Choosing between an under desk elliptical vs. bike? Do you spend hours sitting behind a desk every day? Does your back hurt from being hunched over all day long?

Sitting all day can cause serious health problems. It’s really easy for people with desk jobs to get a little too comfortable and forget about the health consequences of sitting too long.

But with a little creativity, you can increase your level of physical activity from the comfort of your desk chair, get work done and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re looking for a way to stay active, burn an even greater amount of calories than you would just sitting there, and get a low-impact cardio workout in that doesn’t involve too much physical exertion, then an under desk bike or elliptical trainer might be best for you.

So which under-desk exerciser is right for you?

Many people want to stay fit, but they don’t always have time to make it to the gym or exercise outside their house. There are many options for getting your workout in at the office. One option is getting an under desk elliptical, and another is purchasing an under desk bike. Both are great options and help you stay fit while working at the office instead of just sitting at your desk for hours.

Under desk ellipticals and under desk bikes are two of the most popular fitness devices on the market. Both machines offer great workouts to help you lose weight. They’re not a great substitute for heading to the gym fo ran intense workout, but for office workers, whether at home or in a traditional office, they’re great for transforming time sitting in an office chair into a time of healthy physical activity.

Let’s take a look at the differences and see which one might be a better fit for you as you work from home.

Real quick, before we get too far into it here, if you want to get more great ideas for your home office and want to connect with other home office hackers to make your space the best join my free private Facebook group, Home Office Hacks here.

What Are Under Desk Ellipticals and Under Desk Bikes?

What Are Under Desk Ellipticals and Under Desk Bikes?

With so many people working from home and working desk jobs these days, desk exercise equipment is becoming more and more popular. The provide a great way to take time that would otherwise be spent passively and convert it into a time of modest physical activity to help offset the challenges that come from working from home at a desk job like heart disease, high blood pressure and weight gain.

What’s the main difference between an under desk elliptical and an under desk bike? These two pieces of exercise equipment serve a similar purpose and will be familiar to most people.

An under-desk bike is very similar to a stationary bike that you’d see in a gym and both are a great option to keep your lower body moving while you’re working while you’re working at home using a standing desk.

An under desk elliptical trainer is similar to the elliptical trainers you see at the gym too, although these are designed specifically to fit under your desk and be used while you’re working.

They have some key differences that can help you decide which one is right for your fitness goals.

What Is An Under Desk Elliptical?

What Is An Under Desk Elliptical?

An under desk elliptical is a workout machine you can use while sitting at your desk. It’s a way to exercise while working, and it has been shown to help people feel less stressed and more productive.

The pedals move in an elliptical motion, which can be challenging and easy for your joints. Many different models of under desk ellipticals are available, with different features and price points.

The most basic models will have a set of pedals with straps that attach to the underside of your chair legs so that you can move them back and forth without lifting or moving out of position.

Some models also have resistance levels to adjust how hard the machine works for you—the higher-end machines also tend to have more options for this feature.

This kind of equipment is popular because it lets you get in shape without leaving your workstation or taking time away from other important tasks (like writing emails).

Under Desk Bikes

Under Desk Bikes

Under desk bikes, also known as mini exercise bikes or ellipticals, are great pieces of exercise equipment to have at your office. They allow you to get in a quick workout while you work, and you can use them in any room of the house.

The way an under desk bike works is simple: you sit on it, put your feet on pedals that move like real bicycle pedals, and use your hands to keep yourself stable as you pedal. It means that if you have limited space in your home or office, this might be a good option for you.

There are several options available too: from a simple under desk pedal exerciser to a full featured stationary bike.

The best under-desk bike will let you vary the intensity of your workouts and give you one of the best options for an alternative to going to the gym on those days when you just can’t make it.

Under Desk Bikes & Ellipticals: Do They Really Work?

The good news is that the answer is yes. But it still depends on what you’re looking for. The only thing that matters when it comes to under desk elliptical machines is if you are using them correctly. If you’re not using them correctly, they probably won’t work for you—but if you use them correctly, they will work.

Under desk elliptical machines work by rotating your feet in a circular motion while your legs remain stationary. They are sometimes also called “under desk treadmills” because they mimic the motion of walking or running on a treadmill while sitting down at a desk or table (hence “elliptical”).

They provide resistance by applying pressure against your legs as they move back and forth. This resistance helps strengthen core muscles in your legs and hips while increasing calorie burn throughout the day.

Using one of these machines means you don’t have to worry about having enough space or getting sweaty at work. Instead, you can wear whatever clothes you want and stay comfortable as you get in some exercise.

What are the differences between under desk bikes and under desk ellipticals

Under desk bikes were originally designed to improve cardiovascular endurance and increase metabolism by pedaling while seated. In contrast, under desk elliptical units mimic the upper body movement of rowing a boat through the “rowing action” of the lower arms, moving them back and forth.

There are several key differences between under desk bikes and under desk ellipticals. Here are the peculiar differences between these two types of Under desk cycles:

1. Pedals

On the elliptical, your pedals are stationary. On a bike, they’re attached to a moving part of the machine. It means that as you pedal on an elliptical, you’re pushing down on the pedals to move forward. The tension created by this motion is what keeps you going.

On a bike, your motion is reversed: as you pedal forward, the pedal cycles backward. That’s why getting into the right position on an under desk bike is important—you want to ensure your knees are angled at 90 degrees with your feet flat on top of the pedals.

Under desk bikes have pedals attached directly to the frame of the machine. And ellipticals have adjustable pedals.

Depending on how tall your desk is, you may have to raise your knees above your waistline to comfortably reach them while sitting at your desk. It also means you’ll need a chair with wheels to roll around while using it.

2. Motion

Under desk bikes have a more natural movement. As you pedal, your legs move in a circular motion, similar to riding a bike outside. This movement helps to engage more muscle groups and burn more calories than an elliptical does.

Under desk ellipticals allow for a wider range of motion than under desk bikes do. Since you are not moving your legs in a circle, you have more room for your feet to move in different directions. These jarring motions can allow you to target different muscles in your leg or foot area depending on which way you point them while using the machine.

3. Height Of Desk

One of the biggest differences between an under desk bike and an under desk elliptical is the desk height the machine warrants. The under desk bikes are designed to fit at a lower desk height, and most desks are tall enough that you can sit at them and use the bike without having to stand up or get off your chair.

Under desk ellipticals, on the other hand, need to be used with a taller desk or an adjustable height desk. It means that if you’re using one of these machines, you’ll need to ensure that your workstation is high enough to stand comfortably in front of it. If not, you may need to rearrange your office space or purchase a new desk altogether.

4. Noise

One of the major dissimilarities between these two products is the noise level. Under desk ellipticals tend to make a lot of noise, while under desk bikes are quieter and make no noise.

Under desk ellipticals often make a loud whirring sound as you pedal, distracting and annoying for your coworkers. This noise can become even more of an issue if you have an open-plan office or cubicle and share space with others who work at their desks.

Under desk bikes, on the other hand, make no noises when you’re pedaling them. You’ll probably notice a slight hum from the fan that keeps your feet cool and comfortable during use, but it’s much less distracting than the whirring sound produced by an under desk elliptical machine.

5. Flexibility

The key difference between under desk bikes and under desk ellipticals is flexibility. An under-desk elliptical machine allows you to change the levels of resistance of your workout so that you can choose how intense of a cardio workout you want.

If you’re looking for an under-desk bike that offers this same level of variability, you may want to consider a DIY model.

One thing that sets under desk bikes apart from other types of stationary bikes is their ability to provide extra movement in addition to cardiovascular workouts. This extra movement helps give your legs more of a workout and make them stronger, leading to better results with weight loss or weight gain goals.

How Are Under Desk Bikes and Ellipticals Similar?

Under desk bikes and elliptical machines can be used to get a full desk workout while you work. They offer various health benefits and have some similarities. Here are some of the ways in which they share similarities:

  • They help you burn high calories per week, tone muscles, improve your cardiovascular health, and heart rate if you stay consistent with them.
  • They offer resistance, so you can choose how hard or easy you want your workout to be.
  • They both have the magnetic resistance feature
  • Both have adjustable resistance that lets you change the levels of resistance. While you can change the resistance on your elliptical, you’ll find that with an under desk bike, you can change it much more easily—simply by pressing harder on the pedals.
  • Both desk machines require bike desks to function properly.

Which Is Better, Under Desk Ellipticals Or Under Desk Bikes?

Under desk bikes are stationary bikes, meaning they don’t move. Instead, they are attached to a pedal platform that fits under your desk and allows you to ride the pedal like a normal bike. This process provides a good cardio workout that can burn up to 400 calories an hour.

The downside of this type of under desk machine is that it’s very limited in its use. You can only ride in one direction, and there’s no way to change the resistance level or intensity during your ride.

Under desk ellipticals work like traditional ellipticals, except they’re much smaller, fitting under your desk rather than taking up space in front of it. They provide a good cardio workout with minimal impact on your joints and tendons because you’re not standing upright as much as you would be using other exercise equipment like treadmills or stair climbers.

They also offer adjustable resistance levels so you can increase or decrease the difficulty level depending on how intense you want to push yourself during each session.

Considering these benefits and drawbacks, the choice is all down to your goals and what you want to achieve.

Next Steps

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Robert David Orr

Robert is a writer & creator, author of the WordPress Website Blueprint, award winning web developer, and leader in digital strategy. He's also a tenured work at home veteran who's been working from home for more than 10 years. Learn more. Got questions? Reach out and connect here - Contact Home Office Hacks here.

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