The Elliptical Machine

History of the Elliptical

People have been thinking of new ways to lose weight since the beginning of time. Before the elliptical machine was introduced to the fitness world in 1995, there was not much equipment like it. The elliptical made it possible for individuals to get a gym workout in the comfort of their home. The elliptical home trainer not only delivers a low-impact aerobic workout, but also provides a full body workout that is safe. This is the primary reason the elliptical is popular. The elliptical has made quite a statement in the world of fitness and caused many gyms to set treadmills to the side because it cannot compete with the many features of the elliptical, including balance, flexibility, cardio and strength.

Types of Elliptical Trainers

There are three primary types of elliptical machines. They are categorized by the motor and design. The motor is commonly referred to as the drive. Elliptical trainers operate many different ways and have evolved with technology. When first introduced to the market, they featured rear-drive operation. The second generation edition of the elliptical was operated by front-drive. Today, many machines operate using the latest design technology; center-drive. The three different types of ellipticals, including, the elliptical trainer, elliptical cross-trainer and elliptical glider.

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i

The FreeStride Trainer FS7i features a floating suspension design that allows strides up to 38 inches. Take short up-and-down steps, smooth elliptical-like strides, or stretch a wide running gait. Photo Credit:

Elliptical Trainer

The elliptical trainer is designed for a lower body workout. An elliptical trainer features stationary handlebars and foot pedals. These trainers workout your quads, hamstrings and glutes. In order to get a successful workout on these trainers, you need knee and hip extension.

Elliptical Cross-Trainer

Many people are fans of the elliptical cross-trainer because it offers the body an upper and lower body workout. Similar to the elliptical trainer, the cross-trainer features the same pedal platform and elliptical pattern. The cross-trainer works the upper body via the moving handlebars when you operate the pedals. The elliptical cross-trainer differs from the other trainers because it targets the elbows and shoulders in addition to targeting the legs.

Elliptical Glider

The elliptical glider resembles the elliptical trainer in appearance. The handlebars are stationary and the pedals of the elliptical glider operate in an up and down motion at a slightly backward angle. Unlike the elliptical trainer and cross-trainer, the pedals of the elliptical glider do not operate in a circular motion. An elliptical glider provides a workout for the legs via hip and knee extension. This allows you to pedal forward and backwards. If you would like resistance from this machine, only the forward pedal motion will achieve this goal.


Top 5 Ellipticals for home use

These are the “Top Buys” ellipticals; they are the most popular and best reviewed for home workouts and residential use.  When considering buying an elliptical for home use these are great options to consider:

  1. Bowflex Max Trainer M3
  2. Sole Fitness E95
  3. Schwinn 430
  4. Sole Fitness E35
  5. Horizon Fitness EX-59-02

Top 5 Ellipticals for Commercial use

Top commercial ellipticals are those that are popular in gyms, these are top 5 choices when considering commercial gym equipment or even high-end home gym exercise equipment:

  1. Precor EFX 576 Experience
  2. NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer
  3. Precor AMT Series
  4. Octane Zero Runner ZR8
  5. Sole Fitness E98 Light Commercial


Elliptical or Treadmill, Which one is better?


Ellipticals are often compared to treadmills ad some people still prefer to use the treadmill over the elliptical. Photo Credit:

Elliptical trainers are often compared to treadmills. Treadmills have been around for years and are dinosaurs compared to the ellipticals. Some people still prefer to use the treadmill over the elliptical because they are stuck in their old ways of using a treadmill and are not fully aware of the benefits of using an elliptical. Here are a few advantages the elliptical machine has to offer over the treadmill and other trainers that are available.

Anyone Can Use It

The elliptical, unlike the treadmill, can be used by almost anyone. It is not as complex or dangerous as using a treadmill. The elliptical can be used by children, teens and adults of all ages and various fitness levels. Ellipticals can often give people a sense of security and operates in an easy fashion. People are beginners or advanced users can benefit from using an elliptical, whereas a treadmill takes a lot of effort to set up and safety features are not as secure for younger users.

Get Your Heart Racing

When you get your heart racing, you’re in business. When you are using an elliptical, it gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Although the treadmill gets your heart racing, it doesn’t get the job done like the elliptical can.

Not as Time Consuming

Completing your workout routine on a treadmill can be tedious and frustrating. When you are training on an elliptical, you can fit a 5, 10 or 30 minute workout into your schedule and be more than satisfied with the results thanks to HIIT workouts.

Competition Elimination 

When you’re in the gym on a treadmill, you can’t help but look at the person beside you on the treadmill or vice versa. They may be looking at your mileage and your current speed. With the elliptical, you do not have to worry about that. When you’re on the elliptical, you are too focused on your workout to notice what anyone else is doing.

The Desired Upper Body Workout

With a treadmill, your upper body workout is out of the window. You can give your lower body a great workout, but your upper body is stationary. When you use an elliptical machine, you get a lower body and upper body workout.

The Basics 

An elliptical, in comparison to a treadmill, is more quiet and cheaper. An elliptical allows its users to get the workout they desire whether it’s in the middle of the night or early morning without waking other people in their home. An elliptical doesn’t use half the space as a treadmill.

What an Elliptical Machine Can Do for You

Full Body Workout Benefits

A total body workout allows you to burn more calories in a short amount of time. Most people are tied up with work, school, children and other things, and a full body workout could take one hour or more on a treadmill. On an elliptical machine, you can get a full body workout in as little as 15 minutes. When you engage in a full body cardio workout, you can build more muscle. Many people want to be muscular in size, but do not have the time for an isolation workout. In some instances, an isolation workout is not for everyone. Using an elliptical gives you a full body cardio workout and helps you gain muscle. Anyone who wants to increase strength will appreciate a workout on the elliptical. Full body movements promote strength using your weight. There are many different full body movements you can perform on an elliptical that you can use as the foundation of your workout to improve your strength.

Low-Impact Workouts

low-impact workouts improve the body in many different ways, including cardiovascular health, weight loss and decreased joint damage. Low-impact workouts are one of the best ways to prevent and treat cardio vascular disease and it’s development. Many people participate in low-impact activities and workouts because there is a decreased risk of damage to their joints and bones. Another benefit of low-impact workouts is weight loss. A lot of people are starting to take their health more serious. People want to lose weight to feel better, look better and lead a healthier lifestyle. Low-impact workouts promote weight loss. One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. A low-impact workout can remove at least 300 calories per hour.

What Muscles Does an Elliptical Workout?

An elliptical trainer works out many different parts of the body and muscles

An elliptical trainer works out many different parts of the body and muscles. The primary muscles include Triceps, Chest, Biceps and Deep core muscles. Photo Credit:

An elliptical trainer works out many different parts of the body and muscles. The primary muscles include:

  • Triceps (upper arms)
  • Chest
  • Biceps (front of the arm)
  • Deep core muscles

How to Choose an Elliptical

There are a few essential factors you need to acknowledge, including your workout needs, budget, space and style. Considering these factors will put you in the right direction of purchasing an elliptical trainer you are satisfied with.

Workout Requirements

Although all elliptical trainers are great, there are some ellipticals that are better than others, depending upon the goal you wish to achieve. You may only want to target your legs one day and work on a full body workout the next. You can mix and match elliptical workouts to create a unique workout routine.


When you are choosing an elliptical machine, you need to consider your budget. Your budget will determine the style and type of machine you purchase. The more functions and features you require from an elliptical, the more money you will spend.


When you are considering the available amount of space you have, think of the location you would like to place the elliptical and how much space the elliptical you plan to purchase requires. When are accounting for space, make sure the door to the room is accounted for opened and closed. In some instances, you can move a few items around in the room you wish to place the elliptical, including a bookshelf, nightstand or dresser. When you are factoring space, make sure you have enough room to use the elliptical. Many people make the mistake of properly placing the elliptical, but not having enough room to use the elliptical.

Written by Treadmills & Ellipticals