How many calories can stationary bikes with moving arms burn?

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We all know that the most popular way to burn calories is of course doing aerobic exercises, in other words, cardio. And the most accessible tool for that is the stationary bike.

calories can you burn on a stationary bike with moving handles

Recently, due to breakthroughs of stationary bike innovation, we can now get exercise bike having moving arms, adding a new dimension to exercise.

These dual-action stationary bikes add a full-body exercise to your stationary bike experience. This enables you to burn more calories in the same amount of time. It is estimated that an average person can potentially cut through 300 calories and beyond in 30 minutes.

Compared to the stationary bike, which burns around 260 calories during a moderate workout of 30 minutes according to Harvard Health, the extra burn amount may not be that great, as it only adds 40 more calories burned (due to upper body movement). But this number significantly adds up over time, especially if we are conscious of the science behind it.

Let’s look at some.

Calorie Burning Variables That Matter: The Big Three

1. Your Weight

Your weight itself is a primary determining factor of calorie burn. Keeping other variables constant, the heavier you are the more calories you can potentially lose over the period of exercise. Metaphorically speaking, a larger engine will burn more fuel.

We have decided to divide the weight into 3 categories for an even spread and clear differentiable result: 130 lb, 160 lb, and 180 lb.

2. Intensity of Exercise

The harder you exercise the more calories you burn, that is a no-brainer. An intense aerobic session will utilize more muscles and more muscle tissue used will burn more calories. Even more so in the case of a dual-action bike.

We have divvied up the intensity into three categories for a better average: light, moderate and heavy.

The light is a more casual run where steady breathing may not be a factor. Moderate will take into account form, pace and breathing. And heavy will require the user to be fully conscious of their target muscles’ use. Pushing their body to the limit, almost close to HIIT.


A full-body workout and extensive workout

3. Time Taken

The final major variable we must consider is the time period of the exercise. Taking into consideration how long the average person may have in their daily life for exercise and the average time a high-intensity workout is usually performed in a gym (HIIT, Spin sessions, etc.), we have decided to keep a time period of 30 minutes.

The Data Sheet

calorie burn

Calorie expended can be usually seen on the display

Putting together all that we have learned from the research of calories burned by stationary bikes (Harvard Health, NutriStrategy, and ACE) and by adding the extra burns due to upper body movement, we have composed a sheet that will give you a general idea of how many calories you can potentially burn on a stationary bike with moving arms.

(30 minutes)
130 lb.160 lb.180 lb.

Calories burned in regards to weight and workout intensity on a dual-action stationary bike.

*Note: All the numbers are approximate values with an error margin of ±10 calories.

➥ To know more, we suggest you have a look at the benefits of using stationary bikes having moving arms.

Other Factors For Consideration

These may not be a part of the big three, but they still do factor in the calorie calculation.

Type of Bike

Moving handles are also available in different types of stationary bikes which may impact total calories burned.

For example, moving handles on recumbent bikes, with their very low impact training and leaned back style, may not burn as many calories as an upright bike with handles.

The new breed, the air bikes or fan bikes, are built for high-intensity workouts. They have a fan in the place of the metal flywheel whose resistance depends on how hard its user is working. This means that resistance increases the harder you push the machine. This results in great amounts of calories burned in very short periods of time.

Currently, the record for burning the most calories per minute (87 calories per minute) was done on an air bike by Rob MacDonald.


Metabolism is basically the process through which the body converts what you intake (food and drinks) into working energy. In layman’s terms, the higher your metabolism the more efficient your calorie burned will be. Biologically speaking, the rate of your metabolism fundamentally depends on:

  • Body Size: Larger bodies or people with a higher muscle concentration will burn more calories. Even if they are resting.
  • Sex: Women tend to have more body fat naturally compared to men of the same weight and age, which means that they burn slightly fewer calories than men.
  • Age: The number of muscle tissues that your body has decreases with age which slows down calorie burn.

[Source: Mayo Clinic]

Then we have the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) which determines the minimum energy that our body requires to maintain its physiological functions. Burning more energy than required results in a net weight loss. Burning anything lower than that results in a weight gain. [Source: Mayo Clinic and ACE]
To calculate:



Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why is the air bike so hard?

Ans.: The air bike, or fan bike, uses a fan in place of a traditional metal flywheel. So the harder you pedal the more resistance you experience due to, you’ve guessed it, air resistance generated by the fan. The air bike has the potential to have unlimited resistance and thus it may prove to be hard, especially for those who are not athletes or workout enthusiasts.

Q2. How can I burn 500 calories at home?

Ans.: Doing any form of aerobic or cardio exercise at home can help you achieve that goal. It will be more efficient if you employ the help of cardio equipment, like stationary bikes, ellipticals, or treadmills.

For example, an average person (130 to 150 lb) can burn somewhere greater than 200 calories every 30 minutes on a stationary bike. So if you plan your exercise two times a day, you can easily reach the 500 calorie burn target in two 40 minute sessions.

Q3. How many calories does an assault bike burn?

Ans.: The assault bike, also known as the “Devil’s Tricycle”, is a specially designed air bike manufactured especially for high-intensity endurance training. That said, the average person (130 lb.) can potentially burn greater than 20 calories per minute, and can even reach up to 300 calories burned in 20 minutes. [Source: Fittest Travel]

Final Words

It is important to understand that the more muscles you add to your workout routine the more calories you will be burning in a session. Moving handles on a stationary bike adds that extra layer to get the work done.

If your stationary bike does not offer moving handles, don’t worry, you don’t have to get a new one. The extra calorie burned due to the moving handles can be achieved by adding other forms of exercise to your routine.

But if you want to target upper body muscles during your cycling session, just let go of the handles and add some arm movement to it!

Dion Lewis

My name is Dion Lewis.I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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