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While most fitness fanatics won’t think of a recumbent elliptical as a piece of equipment that is useful in a gym, for the elderly or those who need to rehabilitate after an illness or surgery, it can be a life saver. Many with back problems or a lowered ability to balance prefer a recumbent exercise bike to an upright stationary bike. However, you only have the ability to exercise your lower limbs that way. An elliptical machine not only lets you exercise both arms and legs, but the leg movement is very similar to that of walking, which is another positive attribute for many. However, rehabilitating patients and anyone not strong enough to exercise standing up, can’t use a regular elliptical. With an elliptical recumbent bike combo machine, you can get the best of both worlds using a recumbent elliptical. Our best recumbent elliptical reviews will help you find the right model for your home and within your budget.
A seated elliptical recumbent bike comes with large foot plates that are set at a slight angle towards your body so that you can drive forwards and backwards from a seated position. One of the recumbent elliptical benefits is that it allows you to move the knees back and forth without knee shear because you drive through the hips in a straight motion, and that makes it ideal even for the elderly who may have joint problems. The moving arms are long so that you can reach them without having to bend forward. The best recumbent elliptical machine will come with enough resistance levels to allow you to start at a very easy level and slowly increase resistance as you get stronger or need to work up more of a sweat. More advanced models also come with pre-programmed workouts to give you enough variety.
If you prefer the circular foot motion of a cycle but still want to get some arm movement as well, take a look at these recumbent bikes that come with moving arms.
Keep in mind that you won’t get a full stride length like you would with a normal elliptical machine as explained in our elliptical trainer buyer’s guide. This is because you are not standing but sitting. Therefore the following models in our recumbent elliptical reviews feature much shorter stride lengths.
Table of Contents
Compare the Best Seated Recumbent Elliptical Trainers
|Product||Rating (out of 5)||Stride length||Resistance levels||No. of Programs||Size in inches||Max. User Capacity||Price|
|ProForm Hybrid Trainer||3.7||15"||16||16||46.5 x 25.8||350 lbs||$|
|TreadLife Fitness Strider 1||4.5||12"-15"||16||unknown||58 x 32||300 lbs||$$|
|Octane Fitness xR4x Elliptical Trainer||5||16"||20||6||53 x 35||300 lbs||$$$|
|Inspire Fitness Cardio Strider 3||5||12"-15"||20||10||59 x 34||300 lbs||$$$$|
|HCI Fitness PhysioStep LTD Seated Elliptical Trainer||4.3||independent||16||17||66 x 21||325 lbs||$$$$$|
ProForm Hybrid Trainer
The ProForm Hybrid allows the user to switch from elliptical to recumbent bike seamlessly, which makes your workout routines easy to manage. You get 16 resistance levels and 16 programs with this product, and that gives you excellent control when advancing through your fitness schedule. You can move from the lowest to the highest resistance, depending on skill level, but you can also choose a program to structure your routine. The soft grips of the device are ideal when doing your upper body workouts. It has a 15” inch stride, which may be perfect for some but shorter for people over 6 ft.
The Proform Hybrid weighs 117 lbs, which can be a bit cumbersome for some individuals to handle alone when assembling it. Although, it does come with transport wheels that make it less challenging to move from one part of a room to another. Expect to put it together in a couple of hours or more, depending on how well your hands work. Also, you may have to move around quite a bit to get to all the screws.
The machine operates smoothly, so you don’t have to fret over creaking sounds when working out. Using grease during assembly will reduce the chances of these noises. Users can easily plug in media devices like an iPod, or MP3 player for entertainment while working out, so you can keep yourself busy as you get through those toning exercises. The large LCD on the machine counts revolutions, which may be an advantage for some but not others who prefer distance measurements.
Although the recumbent seatback is not adjustable it can be moved forwards or backwards to suit your height and is very comfortable. If you want extra lumbar support, you can easily adjust the foot pedals and pop a pillow behind your back. The ProForm Hybrid Trainer comes with a 5-year warranty but note that this is only for the frame; the motor is only covered for 90 days.
The ProForm Hybrid Trainer is available on Amazon.
TreadLife Fitness Strider 1 (TL1)
One characteristic that a lot of people love about the TreadLife Fitness Strider 1 is how quiet it is. You can listen to radio or TV without cranking the volume up. Users can plan their exercises around the 16 resistance settings available. There is a console also that is simple to utilize and provides different types of readings. One downside of this display is the small lettering, which requires you to get closer to catch some of the details. You can monitor your heart rate on the TL1.
If you are coming out of physiotherapy treatment, this bike is a viable option when looking to stretch out the muscles. The seat has great padding, making it a comfortable fit, although the arms are already set to move in tandem with the feet, so you can’t separately use them to work out only your arms.
The Strider 1 is easy to assemble with the instructions on hand. After arranging the hardware and getting your tools right, it may take three hours tops to get everything where it’s supposed to be. The seat and moving arm adjustments are straightforward so users of different heights won’t have a problem using the elliptical. Ensure that you get the seat position right because the foot pedals may not provide a great movement range, especially if you have been using the professional models in physiotherapy clinics and gyms. You can adjust it to find a stride length between 12″ and 15″. The TL1 comes with a child safety lock, which is great if the machine is used in a house with kids.
The TreadLife Fitness Strider 1 is available on Amazon.
Octane Fitness xR4x Elliptical Trainer
For those looking for a more challenging type of recumbent elliptical cross trainer, the Octane Fitness xR4x Elliptical Trainer facilitates more optimal leg extension through seat positioning to really work the muscles. It even allows you to include interval training in your workout by including a “Booster” option on the console. With this option you can choose to work only your legs or only your arms in between doing both at the same time. You can get your heart rate up and down, which burns calories and helps you get into shape faster.
From the console, choose from 6 different preset programs that guide you through well rounded workouts. The console on this recumbent elliptical trainer displays all the usual workout metrics including heart rate and it displays your current resistant level (from 20 levels). The heart rate is measured by pulse grips positioned on the short stationary handlebars on the sides of the seat.
The seat can be adjusted to 15 different heights with 5 different angles for the best positioning for comfort as well as optimal workouts. The stride length is fixed at 16″.
Customers love that this recumbent elliptical machine is extremely sturdy and suitable for people of all ages and physical abilities, from recovering patients to fitness fanatics. While you won’t find a few advanced features that are present in more expensive models, like speakers for MP3 players or Bluetooth compatibility for data sharing to fitness apps, the Octane Fitness xR4x is probably the best recumbent elliptical in this price bracket.
The Octane Fitness xR4x Elliptical Trainer is available on Amazon.
Inspire Fitness Cardio Strider 3 (CS3)
This particular recumbent machine may fall on the expensive side, especially for home use, but is worth it because it is very similar to the types of hybrid machines you find at physiotherapy clinics. For one, the back pad has three reclining positions, which make it perfect for someone who has undergone surgery and needs physiotherapy workouts. You get a comfortable seat that is easy to access due to the low step-through height. Even an individual with mobility challenges can get on and off with a little help. The seat is adjustable such that users of any shape and size can benefit and the stride length ranges from 12″-15″. It boasts above average stability and doesn’t make a noise when exercising.
The Inspire Cardio Strider CS3 is a seated bike that allows easy back and forth movements that are effective in reducing knee pain. With 20 levels of resistance, the machine offers workout options. Additionally, you can try out the 10 preset programs that include focus specific, heart rate specific and auto-resistance programs. Each program starts out with no resistance and gives you a few seconds to warm up. The electromagnetic resistance system doesn’t generate a lot of friction, which keeps the components in good condition for a long time.
There are a few different hand positions on the handlebars, which makes it possible to exercise various muscles in the back, arms and shoulders. This Inspire Cardio comes with a Polar T31 heart rate strap monitor, although there are also pulse sensors built into the handlebars.
Every purchase comes with a toolkit for the assembly process. One person can put the pieces together in roughly three hours, and you may require help to lift the Strider up a staircase. It may take a while, though, to grasp the detailed instructions, so be patient.
The Inspire Fitness Cardio Strider 3 is available on Amazon.
HCI Fitness PhysioStep LTD Seated Elliptical Trainer
The PhysioStep LTD caters to a broad range of needs from the training enthusiast to a stroke patient who has to get movement in different muscles. Compared to other machines this HCI trainer is a bit pricey, but the first-rate quality of the workouts with high level control and feedback is more than worth the price tag. Users get rotating handles with full adjustability and it is a recumbent elliptical with arms that are designed to operate in sync with the foot pedals, so you can’t have separate exercises for the arms and legs.
This hybrid elliptical and recumbent bike offers back and forth leg movements, which helps you strengthen the muscles in those areas. The step-through can be a bit challenging, particularly for someone with a disability, and the seat does not swivel, though you can situate yourself by sliding in slowly with a little help. You can choose between the 16 resistance levels and 18 programs that come pre-set in the bike. Some of the programs to pick from include 1Pulse Recovery, Body Fat, and Heart Rate. With a weight capacity of 325 lbs, the machine is suitable for a lot of individuals, plus the seat position can adjust to 14 different levels to accommodate different shapes and sizes.
The foot pedals on this elliptical are top-notch in that they are complete with straps and a firm grip plate that keeps the feet well-positioned during exercise. If handiwork is not your strong suit, no worries, you only have to do half the work with the PhysioStep LTD because the main body and seat bottom are already put together when delivered. Ensure that every nut is well tightened to avoid a squealing sound while working out; otherwise, the machine runs quietly. The bike’s monitor provides multiple points of feedback such as resistance level, watts, RPM, calories, distance, time, and speed, all of which help you keep an eye on workouts to avoid burning yourself out or going too easy.
The HCI Fitness PhysioStep LTD Seated Elliptical Trainer is available on Amazon.