How different is recumbent cycling from upright?

To make it short, how much of the training done in a recumbent bicycle translate into an upright?

Due changing life circumstances, I had leave my bicycles with dual side power meter, smart trainer and trainer road behind and it is going to take at least a year before I’m stable enough to rebuild a comparable setup. The complex of my new apartment has a decent gym… except it has horrible stationary bicycles with nonadjustable, huge seats that are far too uncomfortable for me to use. I was able to do a much better workout on the recumbent bicycle.

If I do my training on the recumbent bicycle, will I be able to maintain a respectable cycling fitness? I have resigned to the fact that my training is going to be suboptimal, but I was hoping to keep an acceptable level of fitness and not waste all of my hard earned 320FTP…

85-95% if I had to take a guess.

But it will feel like 50% when you first hop back onto an upright. Given 3-6 weeks back on an upright your muscles will re-adapt and you’ll be good to go, assuming no orthopedic limitations.

It’s worth doing, for sure.

Rationale for my estimations:

  • Cardiovascular fitness doesn’t have much positional specificity, if any.
  • Muscular endurance and power are very joint angle specific and easily fatigable if not trained in their specific future use.
  • The primarily limiter of cycling performance is cardiovascular.
  • Muscular endurance and power transfer to new joint angles is faster than building it from scratch, by a fair margin.

A friend of mine rode a bent for a few years after a mountain biking injury made it too painful to ride. He did some incredible stuff on that bike, including winning some events which banned his setup AFTER he won (the bent was legal when he entered).

NOw he is back to riding upright, and he seems to be doing just fine. Like the good doctor above said, cardio is cardio.

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It’s very different… I was surprised how different it was. See my post for the back-story

I never really got used to it, and found I could not put out much power so I mostly did endurance style rides. My legs felt sore the whole time, kind of like holding your arm above your head.

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i put my pwr pedals on one at a gym one day it was much harder to put out watts. i think of it more as constantly leg pressing than cycling.; maybe gravity doesnt help you, idk?
Did break a sweat.

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