The Benefits of Using an Elliptical Over a Treadmill

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Treadmills and elliptical machines are two of the most popular pieces of workout equipment in the whole gym. They are both good tools for getting an excellent aerobic workout indoors. Treadmills have been around a lot longer than ellipticals, and both have pros and cons. Let’s compare the two, so you can see why I prefer using an elliptical over a treadmill:

Photo by Elliot Cable 0n Flicker


When you compare these two machines, you can’t help notice that a model like this compact elliptical machine offers an impact free workout. If someone has joint problems or pain when running, an elliptical machine offers no impact with the ground, making it much more comfortable for them while still offering an intense cardio workout.


If you’re training for some kind of marathon or race, then using a high quality treadmill is probably the best thing for you. Having said that, the elliptical always offers an excellent cardio workout with maximum efficiency. You get an all over body workout with an elliptical, as the arms allow you to move your entire body while working out, whereas the treadmill focuses more on the lower half of your body. You can pretty much burn the same amount of calories with an elliptical, but exert much less pressure on your joints!


The elliptical also has a lot of features, which is great for someone who gets bored easily. Treadmills have features like incline, but ellipticals often have the most features for you to take advantage of when looking for a great, challenging workout. You could program the elliptical to stimulate climbing a mountain, or perhaps a hill climb. One major difference is that you can even go backwards on the elliptical, something you can’t do at all on the treadmill. This focuses on your legs in a totally different way and gives you a great workout!


So, in conclusion:


  • Using an elliptical machine can be much less stressful on your knees, hips, and back than running on a treadmill.
  • Elliptical machines have moving upper body handles or poles, similar to ski poles. These let you exercise all over your body for a great workout.
  • You can pedal an elliptical in reverse, working your hamstring muscles harder than in forward motion.


Using one of these machines is considered to be low impact, and a great alternative to jogging and running. If you’re using it properly, it shouldn’t cause you any knee pain. If you’ve decided to use the elliptical machine, then you should remember to keep a good posture, with your shoulders back, head up, and your stomach muscles tight. Look straight on and avoid looking at your feet. Don’t lean on the handles too much, and allow your lower body to support the weight.


As cardio is a necessary part of any exercise routine, it’s important you work out what’s best for you. If you’re training for a race of some kind, then a treadmill can probably help you better. However, an elliptical offers much more variety and health benefits!

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