Elliptical machines are are an effective way of getting cardio exercise while reducing stress on the lower body. They are one of the most common workout machines, often used as an alternative to treadmills. Elliptical machines can help people with knee issues, reducing impact during exercise. They put less strain on the joints in the knee, leading to less swelling and pain (1).
Furthermore, elliptical machines engage muscles in the upper body, making them more useful for people who want a full-body workout. They can help tighten your core by strengthening the abdominals and muscles in the lower back. Since elliptical machines engage both the upper and lower body, they burn more calories in shorter periods, making workouts much more efficient (2).
They also put less strain on muscles in the legs, leading to less soreness and pain after exercise. Elliptical machines are one of the safest cardio machines, and they have a lower accident rate than treadmills. However, do take caution while on an elliptical if you have a heart condition.
1Elliptical machines help reduce the strain on joints. Elliptical machines are designed to follow the natural motion of your ankles, hips, and knees as you exercise. This prevents wear on the joints, reducing strain as you move.
Studies show that people who have arthritis in their knees have less pain if they exercise three times a week (3).
However, running can worsen arthritis by putting too much strain on joints. Elliptical machines make it easy to get the proper amount of exercise each week without further damaging cartilage in the knees. Exercise on an elliptical increases blood flow to the knees and strengthens muscles, reducing pain in people with arthritis (4).
2Elliptical machines provide varying levels of difficulty. Many elliptical machines are designed with multiple resistance levels, allowing you to adjust the difficulty of your workout as needed. To get the most from workouts, it’s important to vary your exercises constantly. Elliptical machines make this easy, leading to more effective workouts.
3Elliptical machines combine upper and lower body workouts. Unlike most other cardio workouts, which only target the lower body, elliptical machines also work out major muscle groups above the waist. Elliptical machines engage the abdominals and lower back muscles, helping you improve your core strength (5).
This can also lead to better posture, which in turn has been shown to improve breathing and energy levels. Since they target muscles all over the body, elliptical machines also lead to faster calorie burning. This makes workouts more efficient, and you won’t have to stay on the machine as long to burn the same amount of calories as you would on a treadmill.
4Elliptical machines can help prevent osteoporosis. Regular cardio has been shown to improve heart health and slow the effects of aging on the body. However, cardio alone is not enough, with research indicating that weight-bearing exercise is also crucial for healthy aging. Elliptical machines allow you to combine cardio and weight-bearing exercise into one workout. Weight-bearing exercise has been shown to improve bone density, reducing the chances of developing age-related osteoporosis (6).
Since elliptical machines are low impact, they are one of the best ways for those with fragile bones to get enough weight-bearing exercise.
5Elliptical machines can supplement running for more effective training. If you are training for a marathon, the constant running can put a significant amount of strain on your knees. Elliptical machines are an effective way to continue training without extra impact on your joints.
Although elliptical machines cannot fully replace running while training, they make an effective supplement on rest days, allowing you to workout while your body recovers.
6Elliptical machines can burn more calories in shorter periods. One of the main benefits of using an elliptical is efficiency. Unlike a treadmill, an elliptical works to engage muscles in the upper body, including the biceps, triceps, and abdominals. This means that you could burn more calories (depending on the intensity) as you workout, as more of your body is active.
Elliptical machines also are better at evenly spreading out the work during exercise. That means that the muscles in your lower body don’t have to expend as much energy, leading to less stiffness and fatigue after a workout.
7Elliptical machines provide less strain on ankles. Many runners suffer from pain and stiffness in their ankles, as repeated high impacts damage joints. Elliptical machines prevent any impact on the ankles, reducing strain and stiffness.
Many elliptical machines also come with foot pads that pivot as you move, preventing stiffness and pain in the ankle joints.
8Elliptical machines easily integrate HIIT into your workouts. Research has shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is one of the most effective forms of exercise, burning more calories and leading to quick weight loss (7).
Elliptical machines make it easy to integrate HIIT into your workouts. Most elliptical machines have preset HIIT workouts, with short sprints at high resistance alternated with longer periods of lower speed exercise. These workouts also tend to be much shorter than normal cardio training. This allows you to squeeze more exercise into your schedule.
9Elliptical machines increase your heart capacity. Studies have shown that regular cardiovascular exercise can increase heart capacity, leading to more efficient blood flow (8).
This lowers the risk for a wide range of cardiovascular diseases.
Elliptical machines are just as effective as other forms of cardio for increasing heart and lung capacity, as well as reducing the risk of mortality (9).
10Elliptical machines provide a good cardio workout with less effort. Elliptical machines are one of the most efficient ways of burning calories. Although other training methods can lead to more calorie burn, they often require significantly more exertion.
People working out reported that they felt less tired after using an elliptical than running. This allowed them to exercise for longer, leading to more calories burned.
11Elliptical machines activate the quadriceps and hamstrings better. Elliptical machines are often used as a replacement for treadmills or for running outdoors. Studies have shown that they are more effective at activating the quadriceps and hamstrings, leading to increased calorie burning (10).
12Elliptical machines are more compact than a treadmill. Elliptical machines are smaller than most treadmills, making them a better option for those who want an exercise machine to use at home.
Elliptical machines are also much quieter than treadmills, making them more suited for use in dense areas where you don’t want to bother nearby people.
13Elliptical machines increase the range of motion in the hips. Elliptical machines are often used during the recovery period after injuries, as they put significantly less stress on joints in the legs. Research has also shown that elliptical machines are an effective way of increasing the range of motion after an injury.
14Elliptical machines make it easier to read. Many people like to multitask as they workout. However, it can be difficult to stay focused while on a treadmill, as the bouncing motion constantly moves your head. Elliptical machines keep your head in a stable position, allowing you to easily read as you workout.
15Elliptical machines strengthen the calves. Although running will target the calves, it relies much more on other muscles in the legs. Elliptical machines allow you to engage all of the main muscle groups in your lower body, including the calves.
Most elliptical machines also move in reverse. This motion uses the calves and hamstrings more, making it easy to target muscles that are often ignored during workouts.
16Elliptical machines may extend your lifespan. Researchers have long believed that regular cardio exercise was crucial to a healthy life. Studies have confirmed this, showing that runners have a much lower risk of mortality compared to people who do not workout. Other studies have shown that these same results apply to anyone who gets cardio exercise multiple times per week.
Studies have shown that it only requires 5 to 10 minutes per day of moderately-paced cardio activity to significantly reduce the risk of mortality from a number of cardiovascular diseases (11).
Cardio exercise also greatly helps elderly people with hypertension, reducing the risk of mortality, and improving quality of life. (12).
17Elliptical machines can be more affordable than treadmills. Most elliptical machines are significantly cheaper than treadmills, making them a more affordable machine for getting your cardio. Since elliptical machines often run on the power generated by rotation, they also don’t use any electricity, making them, even more, cost-effective than treadmills.
1Elliptical machines can catch clothing and cause injury. The most common accidents with elliptical machines occur due to clothing or other items getting caught in the machine. Avoid wearing loose-fitting shorts or tops, and always make sure that headphones won’t get caught as you move.
2Elliptical machines may not be safe for individuals with a heart condition. If you have a heart condition, speak to your doctor before using an elliptical or doing any other cardio exercise. They are usually safe, provided that you go at a slow pace and don’t raise your heart rate too much. Consider wearing a device that monitors your heart rate to ensure you stay within a safe range.
3Elliptical machines can cause dehydration. Make sure to stay properly hydrated throughout your workout, as you may lose more fluids than you expect, especially while on high resistance settings.
4Elliptical machines can strain muscles and joints. Avoid hunching over as you workout on an elliptical. This leads to less engagement of your core, and it can also put a strain on your back. Elliptical machines are much safer than treadmills for people who have recently had a knee injury. However, you should still take extra caution while using the machines, as they can cause further damage to your knee if used in excess. Avoid stopping suddenly while using an elliptical, as this can cause your knees to jam. Let the machine slowly come to a rest before getting off.
When starting your workout, make sure you input the proper weight. This allows the machine to track calories more accurately. Start with slow speed and low resistance as you adjust to the machine, working your way up as you feel more comfortable.
One of the biggest benefits of using an elliptical is that it allows you to customize your workout. Take advantage of this by changing your workout throughout the week. This will make your workouts more effective and help you target different muscle groups.
Make sure to hold on to the handlebars as you exercise. This will give you support, as well as engage muscles in your arms and abdomen. Avoid locking your knees, as this can increase strain and cause injuries.
Avoid leaning on the handlebars as you exercise. This curves your back, which can worsen posture and lead to pain. It also keeps the upper body muscles from getting engaged as you move, putting added strain on your legs. Monitor your heart rate throughout exercise to make sure it does not rise too high. Speak to your doctor before using an elliptical if you have a heart condition.
Are elliptical machines more effective than treadmills? Elliptical machines and treadmills will both engage many of the same muscle groups, and they are both an effective cardio workout. However, elliptical machines will engage more upper body muscle groups, making them more effective for people who want a full-body workout.
Since elliptical machines engage more muscles throughout the body, they tend to burn more calories in shorter periods than treadmills. However, the effectiveness of either machine largely depends on the intensity of your workout.
Do elliptical machines require maintenance? Yes, although most maintenance is fairly simple. Most elliptical machines will come with instructions on how to properly maintain the machine. This usually involves adding lubricant to ensure that the machine moves smoothly.
Are elliptical machines safer than treadmills? Yes. Elliptical machines have a much smaller risk of falling, making them a safer machine than treadmills. However, there are some safety risks, and you should avoid wearing any loose clothing or using headphones with long cords, as these can get stuck in the machine.
Do elliptical machines engage arm muscles? Yes. Elliptical machines engage both the upper and lower body as you move, including the biceps and triceps. However, elliptical machines will not serve as a replacement for weight exercise. Although they engage the upper body, most of the work is still done by muscles in the legs.
How long will an elliptical machine last? How long your elliptical lasts will largely depend on how much you use it. The average lifetime of elliptical machines is around 12 years. You can extend this by taking care of the machine, making sure to regularly lubricate the parts so that they rotate fluidly.
How many calories does an elliptical machine burn? The rate of calorie burn will depend on the specific workout you choose, as well as your weight. However, the standard rate is around 800 calories per hour.
How often should you work out on an elliptical machine? The exact workout schedule that is right for you will depend on your fitness goals. Research has shown that just 10 minutes per day of moderate-paced cardio on an elliptical is enough to reduce mortality. However, there are added benefits from working out more than this. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends working out at least 3 to 5 times per week for around 30 minutes for weight loss. If you would like to lose a significant amount of weight (more than 20 pounds), you may need to workout up to an hour per session.
What’s a safe heart rate while using an elliptical machine? The maximum safe heart rate while exercising varies widely depending on your age and fitness. A standard rule is to take 220 and subtract your age to find out your max heart rate. While working out, you should try to stay around 60% of your max heart rate. If you are during interval training, try not to raise your heart rate above 90% of your max heart rate.
Does using an elliptical machine burn belly fat? The treadmill burns slightly more calories compared to the elliptical machine, but it also puts stress on your joints. Elliptical devices provide a low-impact workout and allow you to use your arms. As long as you stick to your workout and eat clean, your belly fat will melt away.
What is better treadmill or elliptical? Neither is better or worse. An elliptical trainer combines arm and leg motion. Some studies have shown that you can burn the same number of calories with an elliptical as you can with a treadmill, only it may actually feel easier. The lack of impact gives you the impression that you’re putting in less effort, which is not the case.
Does the elliptical help flatten your stomach? Even though elliptical trainers don’t focus on your stomach muscles, they are still effective for flattening your abs. That’s because they provide an effective cardio workout, an important aspect for losing weight.
Do elliptical machines work abs? Keep in mind that an elliptical workout is, in essence, cardiovascular. It uses your muscles, but won’t sculpt and tone them in the same way resistance training will. You’ll burn calories, which helps you lose weight to reveal flat abs, but it can only do so much when it comes to building a better backside.
Is elliptical better than walking? Minute for minute, using an elliptical machine is likely to burn more calories than walking. On the other hand, walking provides a substantially better workout than elliptical machines for the hamstrings, calves, and small muscles around the ankles, according to biomechanical studies.
Do elliptical machines help with preparing for a marathon? Yes, you can certainly use the elliptical to keep up your cardio conditioning and shed some weight. But only running will properly prepare your body—bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments—to pound out 26.2 miles. Once you’re within four months of race day, try to get your scheduled runs in.
Do elliptical machines help tone the buttocks? An elliptical machine is one of the best ways to tone your buttocks. An elliptical machine works the same muscles as a stair climber, but with less stress on the knees. When targeting the buttock muscles, you must increase the resistance to at least level three.
Is an elliptical good for knees? Using an elliptical machine is generally considered a low-impact activity, and it shouldn’t cause knee pain if you are using it correctly. Since elliptical machines provide low-impact aerobic activity, they can be a good alternative to running or jogging for someone who has joint pain due to arthritis.
Does the elliptical work the core? Elliptical trainers are popular ways to exercise because they are low-impact, total-body, and easy to use. Although they don’t target the core specifically, there are ways that you can work your entire body and engage your abs on the elliptical. But you need to be aware of your core throughout your workout.
Are elliptical miles accurate? On a treadmill, distance generally is accurate. It’s a measure of the revolutions of the belt over time. On elliptical trainers, stationary bicycles, stair climbers and other cardiovascular machines, the distance is an estimate from a formula worked out by the manufacturer.
Which exercise machine burns the most calories per hour? Machines which work the big powerful leg muscles burn the most calories. Stationary bikes burn 500-1000 calories an hour, rowing machine 700-1100 and treadmills 600- 1200 calories, or 100 calories per mile.
Elliptical machines are one of the most widely used pieces of workout equipment. They are a safe and efficient alternative to treadmills, engaging more muscle groups while putting less strain on joints in the lower body.
Research has shown that low impact cardio three times a week can significantly reduce symptoms in those with arthritis (13). Elliptical machines can help slow the progression of arthritis by improving blood flow to cartilage, as well as reducing impact on joints.
Other studies have shown that elliptical machines are equally as effective as treadmills for reducing the risk of mortality. Just 10 minutes of cardio per day using an elliptical reduced the risk of death from a wide range of cardiovascular diseases (14).
Elliptical machines are also more efficient than many other forms of cardio exercise, as they engage both the upper and lower body at the same time. This leads to more calorie burn as you workout, as well as less strain on muscles in your legs.
Although generally considered safe, there are some risks associated with the use of elliptical machines. Avoid wearing loose clothing while on an elliptical, as it may get caught in the machine. People with a heart condition should speak to their doctor before using an elliptical, and monitor their heart rate as they exercise.