Elliptical vs Treadmill Workouts

Recently I join a local gym I found very hard to decide whether to use the elliptical trainer or the treadmill.  I decided to do research to determine which is best and why. It is the ultimate elliptical vs treadmill comparison, and find some interesting facts about both.  Now I decide to share all the required facts about both with you so you all can quickly decide which trainer you have to use and why to use.

What is an elliptical trainer?

An elliptical trainer also is known as the cross trainer. This stationary exercise machine you will see almost in all gyms and people’s homes. You can say these are most familiar tools they offer a way to exercise with little to no impact on your joints. This machine is specially designed to give a cardiovascular rather than a resistance workout. Due to the low impact, it is even suitable for you to use when injured. (Depending on your circumstance, of course, check with your doctor first.) The design of the cardio machines means that your lower body and upper body is used to perform the movement.

Are there different types of elliptical trainers?

While the machines generally work in the same way, simulating a walking or running motion as closely as possible while reducing the impact on your joints there are different designs that you may need to consider if you were considering buying an elliptical trainer yourself.

The machines are either feature belt resistance or magnetic resistance. Both offer comparable levels of resistance with cheaper machines normally featuring belt resistance and more expensive models magnetic. There are always advantages when a machine has less moving parts as there is less to go wrong, and also the magnetic machines tend to be smoother and quieter when in use.

What else do I need to know?

As we are all different shapes and sizes machines are sometimes not suited to us out of the box. A good elliptical trainer will allow you to adjust the stride length to suit your body. This is very important to ensure you avoid injuring yourself when using the machine. While I am on the topic of fitting the machine to your body, you should also consider the size and shape of the footplates and the shape and ergonomics of the handles. It is these that connect your body to the machine, and it is these that will quickly become uncomfortable if badly fitted.

I don’t think I have ever seen an elliptical trainer that doesn’t allow you to train both forwards and backward but it is worth checking that the machine is able to do both as each direction offers you an entirely different workout targeting different muscle groups. I would also recommend getting a good computer display with plenty of programs built in as while you can visit sites like The Body Blogger to research how to use the machine once bought it is easier to use out of the box with this functionality built in.

What is a treadmill?

A treadmill is also a stationary exercise machine found in most gyms and commonly in peoples homes. It too allows you to perform a walking or running motion but differs as the exercise does cause impact to your lower body joints. This in itself is not a bad thing but does need to be considered. While a treadmill doesn’t always have a motor, I will assume that they do as most gym machines usually do and most home machines will too. There is a belt which you will walk or run on that is pulled in the opposite direction to your travel. You remain walking or running on the spot. You can increase of decrease the speed of the motor and in turn the speed at which you are walking or running.

Are there different types of the treadmill?

In comparison to the elliptical trainers which offer belt and magnetic options treadmills are all conveyor belts attached to motors. There are options available such as the ability to incline the belt and monitor your heart rate while exercising and also the machines differ in build quality, top speed, and impact absorption. Some machines are more comfortable to run on as they absorb the impact of your bodyweight more than others. This should be a consideration when picking a treadmill to use.

What else do I need to know?

In the same way as an elliptical trainer needs a good computer display with plenty of built-in programs it is a good idea to get a treadmill with these features. You should also have the ability to attach a safety cord to your body so that if you travel too far away from the front of the treadmill the motor stops operating. This may seem silly to some of you reading, but I have seen people fall and get thrown backward when running on the treadmill because they were not using the safety cord.


Ensure the belt length is sufficient for you is you have a long stride. I am tall and have found in some smaller gyms that I struggle to run with a normal stride due to the short belt length. I should have mentioned previously that if you are looking at buying either of these pieces of equipment, you should consider warranty as there are moving parts and they are likely to be complicated and expensive to replace so I would suggest getting the longest warranty available while taking everything else into account.

Elliptical vs Treadmill, The Conclusion

I hope that I have been able to provide you with enough information above for you to make a decision as to which to use or buy. It is hard to compare both items in terms of results as both machines are usually used at different intensities. If I had to pick and was able to compare both at the same intensity, I would prefer to use the elliptical trainer because of the lower impact on my joints. However as I am a savvy trainer I tend to use both machines, treadmill less frequently, in order to keep my body from getting used to the routine. This is the best way to keep the results and the benefits coming.

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