Best Recumbent Bikes With Arm Exerciser: Upper Body Bike

Most recumbent bikes only have pedals for your feet so it’s a lower body cardio workout. There are some exercise bikes that add upper body work to the normal recumbent bike in the form of arm pedals or similar. Why would you want to use one of these recumbent bikes with upper body arm pedals and what are the best ones? Here’s what you want to know.

A recumbent bike with hand pedals is great for people that want a full body workout while sitting down. This is great especially for seniors and people with disabilities, injuries, etc., since it’s possible to do an upper and lower body workout with one machine that’s easy to get on and off.

Read more about why you would want to use a recumbent bike with arm exerciser and what the best options are below.

Best Recumbent Bikes With Hand Pedals

Let’s take a look at what the best options are for recumbent bikes with hand pedals. There are a few things I’ve taken into account when selecting these bikes;

  • Quality
  • Value for money
  • Features

#1 HCI PhysioMax

You want the absolute best and you don’t care how much it costs? The HCI PhysioMax is for you. It has all the features you could possibly need and is built like a tank. It’s really built for physical therapy and rehabilitation. There are features that make it much more suitable for seniors and less mobile people. If that’s you, this is an excellent choice. HOwever, if you’re just looking for a really tough full body workout, you will be better served with another model on this list.

Mind you, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag.

The HCI PhysioMax (amazon link) has some pretty unique features;

  • Swivel seat for easy mounting
  • Adjustable arm pedal height
  • Independent upper and lower body exercise
  • 16 levels of resistance
  • 500 lbs. user weight limit
  • 9” Display
  • Adjustable hand pedals
  • Seat is height and inseam adjustable
  • Great warranty
  • Very good build quality

As you might have noticed from the features and the pictures, this machine isn’t just for you home gym. This is a machine that is specifically designed for seniors, people with disabilities and rehabilitation. If you think you fall into one of those categories this machine can be a perfect solution for your fitness needs.

Suggested post:Which muscles does a recumbent bike work?

Even if you’re just looking for a good workout, this machine is awesome because you get an incredibly well built recumbent bike with good warranty and tons of adjustability. However, if you’re looking for something with similar build quality but don’t need all the features, take a look at the next option.

Check it out here one amazon (Click)

#2 HCI PhysioCycle XT

Maybe you want something a little better than the value bike but the best of the best is too expensive. Here is a good option that’s in between. In my opinion, this is one of the best options if you’re willing to spend the money.

The quality is the same as the best one since it’s the same manufacturer. It’s advertised as semi-commercial so you can be sure this thing will last. It misses a few features of the most expensive one but at about 1/3rd the price it’s an awesome deal.

The bike in question is the HCI PhysioCycle XT (amazon);

  • Very high build quality
  • Display that shows: Time, speed, distance, calories, heart rate and torque
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Good warranty
  • 300 lbs. user weight limit

This is an awesome machine for people that want something with good options for a workout without all the special features of the number one machine. This bike will last for a long time and be reliable for ages. However, it’s still a pricey piece of equipment.

Check the current price on Amazon

If you’re looking for a better value proposition, the next bike might be a good option for you.

#3 Sunny Health SF-RB4631

Most people are not only looking for the best of the best but also value for money. And those two things don’t often go together. The Sunny Health SF-RB4631 (amazon link) is a relatively cheap recumbent bike with all the features and quality you want.

7 Benefits of using a recumbent exercise bike?

Do you make some sacrifices compared to the HCI? Sure, but it also only costs about 1/10th the money. That price difference makes it available for many people and it does many of the same things as the expensive model.

The Sunny Health SF-RB4631 features;

  • Comfortable recumbent seat
  • 8 step magnetic resistance
  • Adjustable inseam length. (How far the seat is from the pedals)
  • Max user weight: 350 lbs.
  • Easy step through design
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Separately adjustable arm resistance

It also has a few drawbacks:

  • Arm movement isn’t registered on display
  • Arm height isn’t adjustable
  • Not suitable for very tall people (+-6’4+)

This machine is a great option for people just looking for a good workout but don’t want to break the bank. Check the current price on Amazon.

#4 Any Air/fan bike

If you’re interested in a recumbent bike with hand pedals, it’s worth it to take a look at an ‘air bike’ or ‘fan bike’. Instead of a metal flywheel there is a large fan connected to the pedals. This has some benefits like a different feel and airflow during your workout.

However, instead of pedals you rotate, there are levers you push back and forth like on a cross trainer. What you like better is personal preference. Air bikes are good value for money especially compared to the bikes mentioned above.

One downside is that most of these don’t have a backrest. That means it’s a bit more difficult to have a relaxed seating position and you will usually have to grab the levers. That means it’s not a recumbent bike. You’ll need a bit more balance to stay on the machine so it’s less suitable for seniors and disabled people.

If you’re looking for a super tough workout and don’t necessarily need the accessibility and comfort, this is a great option. Air bikes are super tough to work out on and work very well for HIIT type workouts. They’re also smaller and cheaper than most recument bikes while still being built very tough.

Schwinn Airdyne

The best choice for an air bike for a reasonable price is the Schwinn AirDyne series. Especially the AD2 model (Amazon link) is great value for money. Schwinn produces great quality exercise bikes and has a long history in producing them.

The Airdyne series is no exception. All the models in the range are high quality and do exactly what they have to do.

  • The AD2 comes with an LCD console that tracks basic information about your workout.
  • Comfortable seat compared to other upright bikes. Recumbent bikes are more comfortable.
  • Adjustable airflow
  • Resistance depends on speed

Check it out on Amazon. It’s available for a great price at the moment.

#5 LifeSpan Cycle Boxer

This is another interesting variation on the idea of an exercise bike with upper body exerciser. Ok this is not really a recumbent bike just like the air bike isn’t but if a tough workout is what you’re after, consider this thing.

It’s an upright exercise bike so there is no backrest although the seat is pretty comfy. The unique feature of this bike is the punching pad. During your cycling the different parts of the pad light up and you have to punch it. If you’ve ever done any boxing, you’ll know it’s quite a tough workout by itself. Add cycling into the mix and you get something very hard. And it improves your eye hand coordination while out of breath and moving which can be a very useful thing to train for certain sports.

Why Use a Recumbent Bike With Hand Pedals?

What are the benefits of a recumbent bike with upper body exerciser? Aren’t foot pedals alone enough to stay in shape.

Keep in mind; upright bikes and recumbent bikes are slightly different. Upright bikes have a much more ‘aggressive’ seating position. Recumbent bikes have a much more relaxed seating position, backrest and pedals in front of your body.

Adding hand pedals to an upright bike would be much more difficult since you use the bars to rest on. However, an upright bike is a perfect candidate for adding hand pedals.

There are a few reasons why you would want to get one;

  • Upper body workout
  • Tougher cardio workout
  • Good for rehab
  • Do different workouts
  • Light full body workout
  • Good for seniors

Adding a set of hand pedals to a recumbent bike does increase the features and uses and some of these features might make it very attractive for you.

Suggested post: Can you pedal backwards on an exercise bike?

Because you have the choice to move the hand pedals or not you can vary the workouts. Obviously, when moving your legs and arms you involve your upper body into the movement. This does a few things.

Involving the upper half of your body means you have to use those muscles. Pushing and pulling on the pedals makes you use your arms, shoulders, and back muscles as well as your core. For people that have a very low level of muscle development in those areas, you might see some muscle and strength gains.

Besides that, using more muscle mass means a tougher cardio workout. Or, looking at it from another side, more calories burned in the same amount of time.

This type of bike is also great for workouts during rehab. Of course it depends on the type of injury but you don’t need use of all limbs to actually be able to use one of these. Since the foot and hand pedals are connected to the same flywheel, you can use three or even only two limbs to effectively use it. That makes it a great machine to stay in shape if you temporarily (or permanently) don’t have use over all your limbs.

Suggested post: Are exercise bikes suitable for HIIT?

Recumbent bikes with hand pedals are one of the better pieces of exercise equipment for seniors. It’s very safe and you can dial in the resistance from very low to reasonably high. Because there is a seat with backrest, stability issues aren’t a huge problem. The seat of a recumbent bike is low enough (and adjustable) which makes it easy to get onto. The hand pedal addition means you can have a safe, light full body workout in a single machine.

Suggested post: Which muscles does an exercise bike work?

Why not get a cross trainer?

This looks a lot like a cross trainer/elliptical trainer with a seat, why wouldn’t you just get one of those? There are a few good reasons why you would want to go for a recumbent bike with hand pedals instead.

Suggested post: 6 different types of exercise bike

  • Less stability required
  • Puts a little less load on joints
  • More flexible in use (Choose upper/lower body or both)

Largely it’ll come down to personal preference. But, there are certain groups of people that are better served by a recumbent bike with hand pedals than a cross trainer. Seniors, less able and people with injuries for example.

Suggested post: Exercise bike maintenance guide.

Favorite Cardio Machine Accessories

Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:

  • Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high quality choice.
  • Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
  • Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.

To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to I've been going to the gym for about 15 years and am now looking to build my own. In the process I've learned many things I'd like to share with you.

Recent Posts