What is a Dual Action Exercise Bike?

J. Stuchlik

A dual action exercise bike combines upper-body and lower-body workouts by adding moving handlebars to a common form of stationary bicycle. Most modern gyms and fitness centers have this type of fitness equipment, and its ease of use make it a great choice for a low-impact workout that provides a high level of aerobic and cardiovascular exercise.

Dual action exercise bikes feature moving handlebars.
Dual action exercise bikes feature moving handlebars.

The upright exercise bike was first invented to bring the advantages of traditional biking indoors for added convenience. These bikes consisted of a standard bicycle mounted on a frame and raised slightly off the ground. Pressure placed on either of the bikes tires added resistance and increased the intensity of the workout.

Most modern gyms have dual action exercise bikes.
Most modern gyms have dual action exercise bikes.

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The dual action exercise bike works like a traditional stationary bike, but with an added feature in the form of moving handlebars that are attached to the pedals. This causes the bike to work out not only the user's leg muscles but also the arm and shoulder muscles. If the rider wishes to focus on either the legs or the arms, part of the bicycle can be disabled. The degree of participation also can be adjusted in most bikes to allow for an increased focus on the arms or the legs without completely removing the other from the workout.

Many gyms offer both dual action and traditional stationary bikes.
Many gyms offer both dual action and traditional stationary bikes.

This bike focuses on low-impact aerobic exercise, which means that there is only a little or gradual pressure on the bones and muscles during the workout. This makes low-impact exercise ideal for those who are recovering from injuries or have more permanent conditions such as a bad knee or advanced age.

Aerobic exercises are those that focus on stamina and cardiovascular development. They will help trim off excess weight and help build endurance, but they generally will have only a marginal impact on muscle development. Core muscle groups will be toned but will not experience a major increase in size.

The dual action exercise bike offers all the advantages that modern indoor exercise equipment offers. It can be used indoors and set up away from distractions for those who want to focus on the workout, or it can be placed in front of the television for the easily bored. When the arm function is being used, reading is the only activity that cannot be performed as it could be on a normal stationary bike.

A dual action exercise bike is low-impact, making it ideal for someone with bad knees.
A dual action exercise bike is low-impact, making it ideal for someone with bad knees.

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Discussion Comments


I don't know how well this works, but I have seen people riding the exercise bikes and lifting small hand weights at the same time. I guess a dual action upright exercise bike would be perfect for them.


Riding a bike that is moving absolutely nowhere is boring. Riding a bike outside is nice, but there aren't any safe places to ride near where I live. I tried using the exercise bikes at the YMCA, but I couldn't stay focused. Even with the options of watching TV and listening to music while on the bike were not enough to keep me on the bike and working out.

I finally learned about spinning classes. I really like these classes because there are other people there riding the bikes and the instructor keeps us motivated by varying the pace and encouraging us. This is the only way I can stay focused.


I've never worked out on one of these dual action bikes before, but I am interested in learning more about them. I currently workout on the stationary bike a couple times a week. I now favor the bike over running and other sports because of exactly what this article talks about as far as the bike being less stressful on my joints and muscles.

My knees and ankles get a real pounding when I run and they simply are not able to hold up when I workout regularly doing high-impact exercises. Hopefully, the dual action upright exercise bike can do the same thing for my upper body that the traditional bike does for my lower body.

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