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Recumbent Lateral Trainers: A New Direction in Fitness


The all-new recumbent Helix delivers many of the benefits of upright Helix training to a much broader audience. Here is an examination of the benefits both for the SilverSneakers population and the casual exerciser:

A certain percentage of the population finds traditional weight-bearing fitness modalities, such as upright Helix and stair climbers, to be too intense. People who cannot support their own body weight (full load bearing) on an upright machine will do one of two things: lean forward onto the machine, thereby putting themselves out of alignment, or stop altogether.  So they end up using the machine wrong, creating shear in the knee and deactivating the glutes, or not using it at all.

The recumbent Helix provides a safe and effective alternative for these users, while delivering many of the same benefits of the upright Helix: multi-planar training, muscle activation in several areas typically left untrained by traditional cardio, and correct knee flexion and hip engagement.

Lateral strength and stability are essential to proper biomechanics for everyone, from seniors fighting functional decline to elite athletes, and everyone in between. There are no traditional recumbent exercise modalities that create the multi-planar stimulus delivered by the Helix.

In fact, recumbent Helixing effectively engages the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and quadriceps (test results are available upon request). This glute engagement helps create power and speed in elite athletes, but for this and other populations, it contributes to stabilizing the knees. For the SilverSneakers population, the lateral strength created by Helix training can increase stability, which can translate to fall prevention.

Exercise bikes — recumbent or upright — and recumbent steppers are antero/posto-linear movements. (NOTE: An upright spin bike or upright exercise bike, when ridden aggressively out of the saddle, can recruit some lateral musculature. However, most seniors will not ride in this manner). What this means is none of the exercise modalities typically prescribed to seniors do anything to help lateral stability. Lateral stability and strength, and balance/proprioception, have the most bearing on fall prevention.

In summary, recumbent Helixing delivers:

  • Bi-directional resistance, for more effective training than traditional recumbent cycles.
  • Correct knee flexion and hip engagement.
  • Engagement of gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and quadriceps, which results in a broad range of benefits: greater muscle activation and metabolic cost (compared to other recumbent exercise modalities), greater knee stability, and greater power generation (for athletes).
  • By improving lateral strength and stability, recumbent Helixing aids everyone from athletes (better performance) to seniors (fall prevention).


Scott Logan is a vice president of sales and marketing, and a principal of Helix Lateral Trainers. He has been in the fitness industry since 1990, and joined Helix five years ago.


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