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31.12.2012

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Is an elliptical or a treadmill more effective at burning calories?   Which machine should you choose for cardio workouts?  These questions and more will be answered in this introductory article, which will examine the pros and cons of each exercise method and explore some research studies. Versatility– From a brisk walk to an uphill sprint, treadmills offer a wide range of options in terms of speed, incline, and multiple training programs. Emulates Natural Movements– As technology continues to develop, fitness moguls are developing new machines that can be awkward or confusing. Weight Bearing Effect- Contrary to popular belief, running and walking can help strengthen your bones and muscles which can aid your posture and sustainability as you age.
Safety Issue– High intensity training such as incline sprints can be dangerous if your skill level is not adequate to be performing these exercises. Unnatural Handles– Often times, people like to know their heart rate and find their target heart rate zone. Posture Problems-Some studies show that the size of the belt can cause people to change the way they walk or run, leading to muscle imbalances and posture problems.  The quality of treadmills can vary significantly. Non-Impact Conditioning– The elliptical allows your body to emulate a running motion without causing the strenuous impact on your joints that occurs on a treadmill.
Cross-Training Ability– Most elliptical trainers are now equipped with moveable handles which allow you to exercise your upper body and lower body simultaneously. Reverse Stride– Most elliptical allow you to stride in reverse which can activate different muscle groups and put more emphasis on your quads and offer an adjustable variety mid-workout. Perceived Exertion Is Lower– Studies show that people are actually working harder than they actually perceive when operating an elliptical.
Less dynamic– With a treadmill, adjusting the incline and speed can lead to exceptional variation in intensity, whereas most ellipticals either lack this incline feature, or it is not nearly as effective. Less Weight Bearing Effect– While less impact can help prevent injury, there is a downside. In terms of fat loss and increased aerobic capacity, another study found that people using a stair climber, treadmill, and elliptical at similar exercise intensities experienced similar physiological changes in 12 a week program.
If you have a nagging injury that is made worse by the weight bearing effect of running, then the elliptical may be the most suitable option.  Consider incorporating both machines into your regimen to reap the most benefit. Similarity of joint kinematics and muscle demands between elliptical training and walking: implications for practice.
Physiologic response to a prescribed rating of perceived exertion on an elliptical fitness cross-trainer. Mechanically Braked Elliptical Wingate Test: Modification Considerations, Load Optimization and Reliability. Comparison of elliptical training, stationary cycling, treadmill walking and overground walking. Physiological changes following a 12 week gym based stair-climbing, elliptical trainer and treadmill running program in females.
Metabolic cost of stride rate, resistance, and combined use of arms and legs on the elliptical trainer.
Due to an ankle injury, I was ordered to only perform low-impact exercises for a number of months. I’m now about four weeks into the built-lean program, and the results have been fantastic.
Marc, helpful article and I also enjoy the striding in reverse tip that many are unaware of. I personally like the treadmill rather than the elliptical even tho they both offer great benefits health wise.
With a treadmill, adjusting the incline and speed can lead to exceptional variation in intensity, whereas most treadmills either lack this incline feature, or it is not nearly as effective. I understood it either way, thanks for the information and the fact that it was unbiased without treadmill or elliptical ads.
This makes the elliptical a good choice for people who may be injured (or more prone to injury). The crosstrainer - because of the upper body arm bars - has what is called a 'lower perceived rate of exertion'.
Or you may just be able to workout for longer periods of time because you don't feel as tired as you would after a treadmill workout. Plus, there's something completely new in the elliptical world these days - the variable motion trainer. These give you different elliptical pathways to run - from a short step-like stride to a long hurdling-type motion.
Treadmills are so easy to use - they're good for any exerciser - from the complete newbie to the experienced athlete.
And if you get a poorly constructed machine, they may even be in pain after a workout - and not want to use the machine again. But treadmills are easy to use - and have been around so long that almost everyone feels comfortable using them, regardless of age or fitness level. Some people feel that ellipticals (maybe because of the upper arm bars?) only give tough, heavy-sweat workouts. Treadmills, because they've been around a bit longer, tend to have more 'toys' like fitness tracking tools, carb counters, TV's etc. No matter what you choose to buy, remember that there are good value (and poor value) machines in each category.
Both burn the same number of calories, so the best workout for YOU depends on your personal fitness and weight loss goals. In a nutshell, treadmills are a better simulation of real walking or running, while ellipticals feel easier. But depending on your specific needs and goals, one might be a better choice than the other.
You are most interested in hiking or walking: you can save some money by buying a less expensive model.
You are using it at home and have limited space: you could benefit from a folding treadmill. You want to include both an upper and lower body workout: an elliptical works more muscles. Most models also include amenities such as cup holders and a stand or shelf to hold your magazine or book. While some people prefer the motivation of the gym, it’s certainly more convenient to be able to get a solid cardio workout at home. For most people who try both an elliptical trainer and a treadmill, they perceive that the elliptical provides a more effortless workout. Although the elliptical machine simulates running or walking, it’s not actually either one. So if your goal is to get in shape for a 5k, you’ll certainly want the treadmill over the elliptical.
Similarly, if you prefer walking or hiking and you are using the treadmill to replace that exercise during bad weather or challenging schedules, then you’ll want to stick with a treadmill.


Another difference is that ellipticals give you a much lower-impact workout than treadmills. Treadmills do typically include some cushioning that limits the impact as compared to running outside on concrete or asphalt. Ellipticals on the other hand were invented specifically to create a low-impact approximation of running. So an elliptical is a good choice if you are recovering from a running injury of if you have other conditions that could be negatively affected by a high-impact workout. You should note, however, that while the high-impact of the treadmill might be tough on your joints, such activities do help to promote better bone health and have been shown to help protect against osteoporosis.
If you are considering one of these machines for you home, you need to make sure you have space for it! If noise is an issue, ellipticals are usually a little quieter than treadmills because they don’t have an electric motor.
Consumer Reports took a look at both elliptical machines and treadmills and found that you need to spend at least $2,000 to get a quality machine that will hold up to serious workouts. Once you hit the $2,000 range, any quality treadmill or elliptical from a good manufacturer will serve you equally well. In the end, perhaps the most important factor in deciding on an elliptical vs a treadmill is thinking about which one will motivate you the most. Great article, there is a real difference between them and it is important to get what is right for your workout. I’ve always recommended elliptical trainers for their superb advantages over treadmills. In the battle of the cardio machines the treadmill reigns supreme, but the elliptical cross trainer could be a contender.
Experts say treadmills give your workout the extra oomph of a motor, while ellipticals promise a smoother ride, and both have their champions. Williford, a physical education and exercise science professor at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama, said as a runner he favors the treadmill. One reason may be the so-called "silver tsunami" of 78 million baby boomers, the oldest of whom turn 65 on January 1. The elliptical user glides rather than pounds, and that can mean a kinder, gentler workout for boomers' aging muscles and joints.
She said the elliptical positions the user to exercise more mindfully because the hand placements encourage a better posture. Check out the celebrity hotties looking fabulous and defying Hollywood's over-40 stereotype. The two most popular fitness machines that fit this qualification are treadmills and elliptical trainers. Although relatively new in comparison to a treadmill, the elliptical trainer is growing in popularity. Most power treadmills offer a number of pre-set programs and intensity levels from which to choose. Then, you may choose a pre-set program (such as 'killer hill,' ‘interval training’ or 'weight-loss'), and the unit will automatically adjust the workout to fit your specifications. You can bypass the pre-set programs and manually adjust the incline, speed, and the time yourself. Running on a treadmill with a nicely cushioned running surface provides less impact on the knees, shins, ankles, back, and joints than does running on pavement.
Outdoors, you could possibly trip over a rock or twist your ankle in an unseen hole in the ground. Treadmills not only efficiently burn calories, but their impact reducing surfaces decrease the chances for injuries. Elliptical trainers allow the user to burn a similar number of calories as they would from walking or jogging - but without the risk of injury to the back, knees, hips, or ankles. As a result, an elliptical is very low-impact and significantly reduces the pressure on your joints. Because of the low impact quality of an elliptical trainer, this machine may be the best choice for older people or individuals who are recovering from injuries. Elliptical machines mimic the normal elliptical motion of the foot, the extension of the leg, and the rotation of the hip during walking or running. But what makes an elliptical workout so enticing is you also get a upper body workout (unlike the treadmill, which works only the lower body)!
Because elliptical trainers DO work the upper and lower body simultaneously, the heart rate climbs more quickly. Another advantage of elliptical trainers are the foot pedals can be worked in a forward or reverse direction.
When you change the direction of the pedals, you'll target your lower body in different ways.
The intensity level can be adjusted on elliptical equipment to fit your personal level of fitness. Studies show working out on an elliptical trainer can trick the body into believing it is working easier than it actually is. The appeal of an elliptical is the combined upper and lower body workout, and the low-impact. The treadmill is familiar and emulates natural movement for walking, jogging, or sprinting.
Naturally, they have been researched, developed, and perfected more than any other piece of cardio equipment.
Trying to hold on to the treadmill handles while you are running can be challenging and awkward.
Most people will inherently gravitate towards machines they find to be the most comfortable and use that specific machine as a way to burn calories. Subjects in the studies were asked to rate their perceived output when operating an elliptical and the majority of research showed subjects underestimating actual output based on their heart rate. Varying exercises and machines will help to avoid monotony and activate different muscle groups versus doing the same exercise on a continual basis.
For an effective workout program that takes the guesswork out of losing fat and getting strong, check out BuiltLean’s 12-Week Body Transformation Program. I’d been running up to that point, so after research, I found that the elliptical would be a good alternative, as long as I implemented HIIT while elliptical training. All of my pure cardio has come from HIIT elliptical training and a weekly low-impact boot camp session. Great that you mention striding in reverse with elliptical…it amazes me how much i focus and pay attention in reverse developing control, balance and coordination as well. I agree with marc and implemented interval training to my clients workouts and my own workouts and they have seen fantastic results.
Because your feet are not hitting the platform with every step you take, you get less stress on your knees, hips and back.


While this is not the case, if you just want a light exercise like gentle walking, then a treadmill may be the best choice for you. For example Nordic Track has come out with some impressive machines like the Elite 15.0 which has a built-in web browser and 2 HD Video workouts. So do your research, take your time and find a well-constructed machine with a solid warranty to protect your investment! With both ellipticals and treadmills, the features you get vary by manufacturer and price — more expensive models from better manufactures will have more bells and whistles than the lower priced models. By enabling you to work out at home, they can really boost help you reach your fitness goals.
You don’t have to brave bad weather (too hot or too cold or too wet) to exercise outside or travel to the gym. They feel the workout is easier or less intense, even though they are actually burning the same number of calories. But running on a treadmill is still a relatively high-impact activity, and it can be hard on your knees, shins, ankles, back, and joints. The elliptical trainer is a weight-bearing exercise, so it will also promote healthy bones much more than other cardio exercise such as swimming or biking. They are big machines and can easily take up as much space as dining room table or a good sized sofa.
You can get cheap treadmills and cheap elliptical trainers, or you can spend a small fortune.
If you plan to walk on your treadmill instead of running, then it’s OK to buy one of the cheaper treadmills.
If you work out equally hard on either machine, you’ll get the same fitness benefits. I found myself getting bored on the treadmill so I decided to purchase an elliptical trainer and have seen tremendous results. My first choice for a cardio workout is to run outside — weather and location permitting. They accounted for 56 per cent of all fitness sales in 2009, according to the latest National Sporting Goods Association report. Whether you are a casual walker or a serious runner, a treadmill can accommodate your exercise needs. And, even if you've chosen a pre-set program, you have the option of changing the incline level or speed level at any time. They have increased in popularity during the last few years, and the rate of growth is surpassing treadmills.
In fact, whereas exercising on a treadmill requires your body to absorb the impact of walking or running, exercising on an elliptical can be compared to running in midair. As the feet go through their elliptical motion, the hands grip the moving handlebars, exercising the arms. It is nice to be able to add versatility to your elliptical workouts, and such a change works to ensure optimal training of the leg muscles. Resistance may be added as desired to increase the workload on your legs throughout the forward or backward stride.
Therefore, as you're burning more calories in less time on an elliptical trainer, your body feels as though it doesn't have to work as hard to achieve its goals. You exercise more muscle groups, while avoiding the kind of impact that can result in injuries.
Question, if I’m looking to gain muscle mass verse weight loss, which machine would be better suited? Well, this article will outline the advantages of each - so you can decide for yourself which one to choose. Some ellipticals also have incline (which changes the slope of the elliptical motion), which also crosstrains and targets different muscle groups.
Most also include pre-programmed workouts that vary the duration and intensity of exercise to target your specific fitness goals, such as weight loss, fat burning, or cardiovascular conditioning. And you never have to wait for someone else to finish their workout and free up a machine for you to use! For example, researchers from that University of Mississippi found that ellipticals provide the same cardio workout as treadmills.
While these issues might be covered by warranties, you will likely waste a lot of time and energy tracking down the manufacturer and coordinating the repairs. You won’t give it as much of a beating and the flimsy, shaky feel of lesser models will be minimized if you are only walking. Yes like you said it is a little tricky to get used to at first, but once you get the feel for it things are amazing. By setting the speed and incline you can adjust your cardio workout to any level ¬ from casual walking to heart pounding running. Elliptical trainers and treadmills are two of the most popular exercise machines out there. I am starting to reach my endurance and weight loss goals in a short period of time, and after my workouts on the elliptical I feel my like my upper and lower body have been totally drained. Because of its low impact, there is less wear and tear of the machine, making maintenance quite low.
If you plan to start walking but then move up to running, you should get started with a better model that will work well for both activities. However, because you are including the upper 30% of your body in your workouts, the results will be more efficient exercise in less time. Both will give you a great cardio workout and both machines will burn about the same number of calories. And, as with the treadmill, it allows you to exercise in a controlled environment for more comfort and convenience.
You can see that you move both your arms and your feet at the same time in opposite directions and both your feet and your arms move forwards and backwards. Research studies have shown that the elliptical actually gives you the same workout intensity as a treadmill. But it’s a very good simulation of walking or running outside, so it feels much more natural and people get used to it much more quickly. And since you’re pounding your feet running, a treadmill is also a little bit harder on your joints than an elliptical. But if you’re looking for more of a full body workout that’s also easier on your joints, then the elliptical trainer is a better choice. You’ll also find tons of useful tips on diet, exercise, and nutrition that will help keep you healthy and fit.



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