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Comparing an Upright to Recumbent Exercise Bike for a TKR

Hi my favorite readers! Recently, I was given an upright exercise bike to aid in my total knee replacement recuperation. I thought my flexibility was coming along fine until I used this bike. See, I have been using a recumbent bike for the past 6 months and doing just hunky dory – in my mind, anyways.

What are the differences between using the two exercise bikes? As best as I can describe, here is what I have found:

More difficult to get on and off of.
Seat is like a “real” bicycle. I need to cushion it.
Crotch “chafing” is common due to my body still going “back and forth”.
More intense workout. Sweating comes very easily.
Seat can be adjusted up or down for more knee flexibility. Very helpful.
More “forcing” my knee muscles to stretch and work.
More pain. That’s good and bad. Good – I’m getting a good workout. Bad – I don’t like pain. 🙁

The upright exercise bicycle is what the physical therapist put me on when I went for therapy. When I asked why I couldn’t be put on the recumbent bike, I heard…”That’s for people with more knee flexibility.” I didn’t understand that then. Now I do.

The upright exercise bicycle is superb for increasing my bionic knee’s flexibility during my total knee replacement recuperation. I can, without a doubt, feel my muscles stretch. Sometimes it’s a big “Ouch!”…

An easy on and off of.
Seat is very comfortable, like a lounge chair – almost.
Seat is very cushioned.
Seat is large enough so I don’t get any “chafing”.
Not that easy to work up a sweat.
Seat can be moved forward or backward for flexibility purposes. Still, even at the closest point, my tkr (total knee replacement) knee seems to only get about 95% angle. I don’t get the range of motion that I do when using the upright bicycle.
It’s better than not having any exercise bike at all, in my opinion.

Both the upright and recumbent style exercise bicycles have adjustable tension, timers, and arm workout availability. Nice.

Hope this helps others going through the same thing. Find interesting? Kindly share…Thanks!

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25 comments to Comparing an Upright to Recumbent Exercise Bike for a TKR

  • Great explanation! I have an upright and when I go to pt to work out I can really tell the difference…don’t sweat so much, not the workout.

  • Pauli

    Re: chafing. You might want to invest in some cycling shorts with padding. They’re expensive in the stores, but you can usually find some good deals on the net. One of the most important things about bike shorts is that you DON’T wear underwear with them – which is the point of getting shorts with padding.
    Wearing underwear defeats the purpose of getting rid of anything that can rub you the wrong way or have something bundle up in the wrong place.
    I’m an avid cyclist and I continue to use bike shorts during my recovery -even if I am only on the bike for 15 minutes.

  • Lee Liberto

    I’m not certain where you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend a while finding out more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful info I was searching for this information for my mission.

  • H. Hamberger

    Woah this blog is excellent i like studying your posts. Stay up the great postings! You realize, a lot of persons are looking around for this info, you could help them greatly.

  • Booktoots

    Hi Lee,
    Thanks for visiting my site. I get my information from many soucrces including first-hand experience, thank you.

  • david

    I had a TKR 7 weeks ago and am in my last few sessions on Outpatient Therapy. I have a ROM of 123 and am at a 2 straight wise. MY question is this I have no difficulty riding the recumbent bike at therapy I love it, but at home I set my bicycle up on a indoor trainer thinking this will be great. However I cannot turn the pedals fully; its just like the first time they put me on the recumbent, I get so far and get stuck.

    Any advice?

    Do I just keep gently pushing until it does the rotation?


  • Hi David,
    First of all, I would never trust the instability of an indoor bicycle trainer during tkr rehab, but that’s me. As far as increasing flexibility, I did it by gently pushing back and forth. Rocking in a chair is another option. You may be different, though. Seek the advice of your medical care provider. Good luck!

  • david

    Thanks for your input much appreciated. I’ll speak to my therapist about it on wednesday.

  • Dale Conner

    An Upright to Recumbent Exercise Bike its so good for exercise everybody. Its so comfortable for exercise by this bike at home or any place. I am also same too with your conversation. I have bought a Recumbent Bike recently with my friends. Now I am exercising at my bed room with this bike and i am felling so comfortable exercise. Thanks for shearing this page.

  • Synder Burges

    I like a upright exercise bike. Because:
    – Losing weight faster
    – improve health fester after injuries

  • This is so helpful. I was thinking of getting fit again but for some reason I can never find the motivation to keep at it.

  • Very efficiently written information. It will be beneficial to anybody who utilizes it, including me. Keep up the good work. For sure i will check out more posts. This site seems to get a good amount of visitors.

  • Thank you for leaving such kind words. 🙂 Good luck and keep in touch.

  • Mike

    Great info! I admit, this is a bit late of a response but I stumbled onto this article just today – definitely going into my bookmarks section. Thanks for sharing the info!

  • isabella erickson

    As my own thinking all upright bike is not bad and all recumbent bike is not good. every products are some advantage and some disadvantage. after all i like recumbent bike for my home exercise.

  • Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article!
    It’s the little changes that make the most important changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  • Joni blackwood

    whoah this weblog is wonderful i like studying your articles.

    Keep up the good work! You understand, lots of people are
    looking round for this information, you can aid them greatly. I will keep checking back often throughout my tkr recuperation and beyond. 🙂

  • Nicki Mack

    It is such good topic and detailed description is very much informative.That adds more value.

  • lindsay freeman

    i have had a bilateral knee replacement,was put on a recumbent exercise bike.have used it twice,about 4 hours after exercise i get very bad pain in my thighs,i then have to take ibuprofen for up to 3 days,have been told to only use a upright bike,so i will try that.because i am not enjoying this pain

  • Hi Lindsay,
    Thanks for stopping by and feeling comfortable enough to leave your tkr comment. Welcome to the world of tkr (total knee replacement) recuperation and the associated pain. Take a look around my site to realize you are not alone in your journey. Good luck and stay in touch…

  • Really great post that I’m sure will help a lot of people with the same knee problems. I’m just curious, which one are you using today and would recommend to someone who has had a TKR?


  • Hi Jenny,
    I’ve used a number of manufacturers for both types of bicycles. Not one particular one stands out. Thanks for stopping by and finding my site useful.
    Keep in touch and good luck!

  • Paul

    I am 8 weeks past tkr. I like using the stationary bike. My question is do I keep lowering the seat as my rom improves, or should I leave it at the position that gives my knee a slight bend at the higher seat position. I walk 4 days a week and use the bike 3 days a week. Should I just use the bike, or continue doing both.

    Thank You

  • Paul

    Last week I went to see my os and he said to keep doing what I have been doing. That is walking 2 miles 4 days a week and walking a mile then using the upright bike for 20 minutes. Normally the first mile is just my average day. Then the second mile is a walk around the block, which is a mile. I use a fitness tracker to monitor my walking distances.

  • Hi Paul,
    Thanks for visiting again and leaving your tkr progress comment. It sounds like you’re doing very well. Keep up the great work and stay in touch! Good luck…

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