When I started going to the gym, I absolutely hated the treadmill. First of all, it is boring. Second, it is really boring. That's right, it had to be said twice. One day while I was in my own personal treadmill Hell, I noticed a line of elliptical trainers along the far wall of the gym. I shut my treadmill off, wiped it down, and made my way over to the elliptical. I never looked back.
In 2017, elliptical (sometimes misspelled eliptical) machines had $$$$ million in sales in the United States. I am not alone in my love for the piece of exercise equipment. Many people have a lot of questions about this great piece of equipment, so let's jump right in.
The following are a few of the most frequently asked questions about ellipticals.
What are the benefits of an elliptical machine?
There are quite a few benefits of using an elliptical, we have listed a few of them below.
First of all, an elliptical is a low-impact exercise machine. It is designed to bear the weight of the user and has minimal impact on your knees, hips, and other joints. Low-impact exercises are ideal for people recovering from injuries and people with certain disabilities.
Good for cardio and weight-loss
Elliptical machines are great for cardio workouts and weight loss. Cardio helps you raise your heart rate, which helps strengthen your heart and lungs. There is also some evidence that regular cardio workouts can help lower your risk of dementia, protect your immune system, tone muscles, and help you lose weight.
Provide full-body workouts
Did you know that a cross trainer can help you get a full body workout? Yep! It’s true. Research shows that when you use an elliptical, you will work out most parts of your body. These include legs, glutes (butt), arms, trunk, pelvis, and hips.
The pedals are responsible for exercising your lower body. Most machines incorporate handlebars that will help exercise your arms. And when you pedal it in reverse, you will exercise your calf and hamstring muscles at a higher rate. There are also programs out there that can help you get the full body workout that you need in as low as 30 minutes.
Did you know that you can perform a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on an elliptical machine? Now you know. This has everything to do with the resistance settings on the machine. You can change them to suit your mood and training program. For faster speed, you can set the machine to lower resistance. And for endurance training, you can raise the resistance settings.
Is the elliptical machine better than a treadmill?
Both the elliptical and the treadmill are well-known as go-to options for people looking for cardio-workout machines. So, naturally, comparisons between the two must arise.
For starters, the elliptical is a full-body workout machine, while the treadmill is not. Another benefit that elliptical machines have over treadmills is the lower impact on the body. The design of the cross trainer is such that it is much easier on the joints when compared to the treadmill, which more accurately mimics the running motion. The latter causes you to expend more energy to workout thus having a much more significant impact on your joints.
The treadmill poses a much bigger risk where safety is concerned due to the placement of its handlebars at the side. Higher-intensity training which requires you to run on an incline, can pose severe challenges and raise your risk of injuring yourself. On the other hand, elliptical machines are a bit safer since your feet never really leave the pedals as you work out.
However, treadmills are a much better option if you want to train for the outdoors since they mimic the motions you would be required to make. Additionally, treadmills tend to work out your abs more since your feet are expected to leave the treadmill belt as you run.
How many calories does an elliptical burn on average?
The number of calories that you can lose on the elliptical trainer, however, depends on your weight, the intensity of your workout as well as the amount of time you use it. According to Harvard Health, the amount of calories that you can lose in 30 minutes on the elliptical machine is:
- 270 calories if you are 125 pounds
- 335 calories if you are 155 pounds
- 400 calories if you weigh 185 pounds
Price Range for Elliptical Machines
The price range for elliptical trainers varies quite a bit. A used machine will be much cheaper than a new one. Models with advanced features and from well-known high-end brands will also be more expensive.
A look at multiple online retailers shows a broad range in prices of ellipticals. But that's excellent news because it means that there is something for everyone, to fit all manner of budgets.
How We Reviewed
We took the time to go through different models and reviewed our ellipticals based on various factors. We determined the best models based on the design features, the weight capacity of the trainers, how affordable the elliptical machines were, their portability as well as customer reviews.
Where To Buy
PORTABLE, QUIET AND EFFICIENT CARDIO: This mini strider is compact and lightweight, making it easy to use and transport to any home or office space. It’s quiet and unintrusive, too. The minimal space required is 23.5 x 17 inches
AIR WALK TRAINER: The non-slip pedals will help simulate a slow walk or work up to a full run while maintaining a continuous motion capability without interruption. Maximum weight capacity is 220 Ibs. 30 inch stride length
Goal Track capability enables users to set individual exercise goals
The 13in Stride Length provides a no impact, smooth flowing workout for your upper and lower body. Perfect for a user who wants all the benefits from running, but is safer on the knees and incorporates more upper body movement for a total body workout
Set, track and monitor your progress throughout your fitness journey with the free Bowflex Results Series app
Best Elliptical Machines
The following are our choices for the best ellipticals on the market.
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
The Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer is a lightweight, portable machine. It includes an adjustable dial that will help you vary the workout intensity as you stride. It also has a small monitor that allows you to see your stats as you exercise. You can sit, stand, peddle forward, and backward with this elliptical.
It is rated 4.0 out of 5-stars on Amazon. Customers like it because it is easy to assemble and can be used while sitting down. However, its lack of handlebars means it takes a while for customers to get their balance. It may also make squeaking noises after a period of use, thus making it inconvenient for use in a shared office environment.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/LCD Monitor
This elliptical trainer has non-slip pedals to help simulate slow walking and can work up to a full run without interrupting the machine's continuous motion during the transition. It has a compact design, holds up to 220 pounds, and can fold for easy storage. It comes with an LCD monitor and a 30-inch stride length.
It has an Amazon rating of 3.9 out of 5-stars. Customers love it for its compact design and ease of use for beginners. However, for serious fitness fans, this machine is not intense enough.
Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
The Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer features a DualTrack LCD multi-display console that can be used to set and track exercise goals. It also comes with 22 workout programs. It has a 20-inch precision stride path length and large, cushioned footplates. The elliptical has 6-position manual ramp adjustment capabilities,12 levels of resistance, in-console speakers with a media shelf and adjustable fan, as well as ports for MP3 player and USB media charging.
This Nautilus elliptical machine has an Amazon rating of 3.9 out of 5-stars. Customers like it for its features and the fact that it has an adapter for running the machine board via electricity. It also accommodates weights of up to 300 pounds, which is great for heavier users. It is, however, not compact and requires a high vertical clearance for taller users.
EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer w/LCD Monitor and Pulse Rate Grips
This exercise machine has an LCD monitor to enable users to keep track of their fitness progress. It also has a slot to prop up the user's smartphone or tablet. The belt driven flywheel system allows for a quiet and smooth workout that requires minimal machine maintenance. The machine’s transportation wheels allow for mobility and easy storage of machine. It also features stationary bars, hand pulse sensors, 8-level
The stationary bars have hand pulse sensors to allow for heart rate monitoring. An eight-level magnetic resistance system allows for varying of workout intensity. The non-slip footpads allow for firmer and safer foot grips during intense workouts.
This elliptical is rated 3.4 out of 5-stars on Amazon. Customers love it for its ease of assembly. They also like the fact that it allows users to run backward. However, it's weight limit makes it unsuitable for those who weigh over 220 pounds.
Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical
The Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical utilizes Switch Select Pedal Suspension Technology and includes a large foot pedal with cushioning that decreases the workout impacts. The system also allows for three-level adjustments of foot pedals to enhance muscle activation. The handlebar buttons are designed for easy reach to enable users to stay in control while working out.
The cross trainer has Bluetooth, a free Results Series app, and a RunSocialApp. It has a full-color LCD screen allows for viewing of intuitive workout programs. This machine has fixed and moving handlebars and a 22-inch stride length for smooth and stable movements. It has a 30-pound effective flywheel for smooth movements, a maximum weight of 375 pounds, and 25 levels of resistance for varying workout intensity programs.
The elliptical has an Amazon rating of 3.5 out of 5-stars. Customers love it for its robustness that accommodate heavier users. However, it is not as mobile as other elliptical machines.
Buy an Elliptical Today
If you are looking for the most portable elliptical trainer around, then the Stamina In-motion elliptical trainer beats every other machine hands down. It is lightweight and portable. However, the Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk elliptical trainer is by far one of the best options if you are looking for an entry-level elliptical machine that works the whole body and is affordable to boot. It's very affordable price makes it a great option if you intend to start your fitness journey and have a limited budget to do so.