Are Elliptical Trainers Better Than Treadmills?

The treadmill has been a staple for home fitness equipment for many years. However, elliptical trainers may soon eclipse them and become the dominant force for fitness equipment. They promise a workout that exercises the full body, while maintaining low impact. However, are they really better than a treadmill for a workout? in this article, we will take a look at two important scientifical studies to answer this question.

In the first study, a NordicTrack ellipse elliptical trainer was compared to a treadmill, a stairstepper, and a cycle ergometer by researchers at the University of Wisconsin (La Crosse). Things that were measured were oxygen consumption, heart rate, how many calories were burned and so on, to determine which machine produced the best workout. It was found that the treadmill and elliptical produced the best workout.

More importantly, the elliptical trainer was found to lessen the impact of ground reaction forces compared to the treadmill. In this case, the elliptical offers the same intensity workout with less of a chance of muscle soreness or orthopedic injury.

So at lease one study has shown that elliptical trainers are better than treadmills for working out. Another study, performed by Dr. Len Kravitz at the University of Mississippi, decided to test different elliptical trainers against each other to see which one provided the best workout. The four machines were the Ellipse, the HealthRider Elliptical Crosstrainer, the PowerTrain, and the Cyclone Crosstrainer.

14 subjects were tested on each elliptical. In fact, almost all the ellipticals were found to have about the same range of changes in the subject’s heart rate, physical exertion, calories burned up and stride speed. In essence, each offered a workout that was challenging yet still comfortable.

Also, at the end of the study the researchers asked each person to rank which machine was their favorite to use. The winner? NordicTrack Ellipitcal was favored both by males and females in the study. Additionally, the researchers themselves made several comments related to the ellipticals that were less expensive. For example, the powertrain and the cyclone were said to look like they were intentionally made inexpensively to be priced competitively.

The researchers also concluded that the Ellipse seems to be the most solid built elliptical out of all of the four that they tested.

In this case, it looks like you do get what you pay for. The elliptical by NordicTrack is more expensive than the other three models tested, but it has seemed to be proven as the most comfortable and most durable option currently on the market for elliptical trainers.

Elliptical trainers are great pieces of home workout equipment because anyone can use them. This is true whether you’re just beginning to get in shape, or even if you are a professional athlete. It doesn’t take any sort of skill level or fitness level to get benefits from elliptical trainers.

Another benefit about ellipticals is that the rate of perceived exertion is lower. In other words, your burn more calories while feeling like you did less work.