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Comparing an Upright to Recumbent Exercise Bike for a TKR

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:

Upright:
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!”…

Recumbent:
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.

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2 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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