Here, fitness experts reveal what cardio equipment — the elliptical or treadmill — better depends on your health and fitness objectives.
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The cardio room is more acrimonious with rivalry than Kanye vs. Taylor. Of course, we’re talking about elliptical vs. treadmill.
Certainly, both components are classified as cardio machines, but they each have their own pros and downsides. We asked exercise experts to determine whether the elliptical or treadmill is superior.
Best Recommended Treadmill
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Best for progress tracking: Treadmill
Mackenzie Banta, a personal trainer with Trainiac, says that everything you need for a personal training app is just on your screen. It’s easy to use and micro-programmable.
Because treadmills are now high tech, they are wonderful data tools, says Karli Alvino, a running instructor at New York City’s Mile High Run Club.
“Time, distance, time and pace can be tracked on most Treadmill models, so that your progress may be tracked easily.”
The screen is not lying, which makes it a terrific tool and means to see gains over a week. (Related: The 30-day workout challenge of the Treadmill that is actually fun)
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As there is more difference across various elliptical machines and brands, an elliptical mile can demand a different amount of work than one kilometer on the other.
Best if you have an injury:
The major advantage of the elliptical is that it is less effective than the treadmill, says the certified strength and conditioning coach, Manning Sumner, C.S.C.S., with RSP Nutrition.
Your foot is continually on the pedal, eliminating the strength to pick your foot up and put it back down with all your body weight, he explains.
This makes it a perfect option for both those who are beginners, come back from a gym or have injuries.
“The elliptical system has a much less effect on the main joints and is a safer and more accessible method to ensure a solid aerobic workout for persons with knee, hip or behind issues,” adds Banta.
Even if you do not have a previous lower body injury, it can occasionally help reduce wear and tear on your body by adding the elliptical.
Best for the race: Treadmill
While treadmills can have a higher impact than ellipticals, compared with the pavement they are a reduced impact jogging choice. “Treadmills get a terrible rap because they’re a tool with a tremendous impact, but they’re not,” she explains. “The treadmill provides less effect on the body than it does on pavement, especially the feet, knees and hips, as the treadmill is designed to absorb certain impacts.” (BTW, did you know there’s a pace-matching cutting edge treadmill which could make pacing even easier?)
The treadmill offers you the chance to focus on running, in contrast to the elliptical which works on a fixed moving pattern, which will transfer both the pavement and trails – a key asset for people’s preparation for outdoor races. (Related: 8 Treadmill errors you make)
Best for a complete body training: elliptical
Most elliptical trainers combine the movement of the leg and arm. “Because you push and pull handlebars against resistance, you are receiving a full-body workout,” adds Banta.
Yes, your arm is moving sufficiently to develop your upper body, Allen Conrad, D.C., C.S.C.S., a certified chiropractor and strength and conditioning coach agree. (Your triceps, top back, shoulder, and chest muscles specifically.) Increase the resistance or add an even better arm pump in some arm-only intervals.
Plus, because you simultaneously use your lower and upper body, your core must work to balance your body, Banta says. You can also try to pedal backwards to vary the working muscles and target your hamstrings, glutes and calves differently.
Best to reinforce your legs:
Sorry, people, but running cannot replace the day of the leg. (Why, though, would you like, given all the advantages of heavy lifting?)
This means that your leg muscles can be strengthened by the treadmill if you use the machines’ tilt range, explains Conrad. Moving on a path is like running hills, but steroids. Running on a number of paths, you can use more of your quads, glutes, calves and core. Why? Because even if the inclination degree is not too steep, you have to struggle against gravity.
Friendly PSA: “If it is too difficult to sprint or run, you can walk up the slope and achieve still excellent strength,” explains Sumner.
The best way to burn more calories:
Let’s be clear: both cardio machines are better than zero cardiovascular alternatives, and both may be utilized to burn calories, says Alvino.
But when you compare apples to apples, you will get more calorie burn from the treadmill than the elliptic,” she says. This is because your body will expend more energy when you have to collect your foot from the ground than when your foot is placed. (Here are some suggestions to add more benefits to your training on the treadmill.)
Having stated that, how hard you work is important: For example, a moderate 20-minute jog on the treadmill will not burn as many calories as the H-A-M in the elliptical system.
Whatever equipment you use to burn calories, Alvino proposes that you adhere to interval training, which has been demonstrated to burn fat and enhance the metabolism. (If you’re on the treadmill, try these interval exercises. Try this interval schedule if you’re on the elliptical).
Best for loss of weight:
You undoubtedly question which machine is superior from a point of view of weight reduction. Sumner thinks that on this front there’s no clear winner. “You don’t have to figure out ‘better’ either,” he said. This depends on the computer you prefer, if you have any previous injuries and which computer can assist you attain your goals personally.
The treadmill and the elliptical are both wonderful weight loss aids,” says Banta. “Both can allow people to log the calorie deficit required for weight loss when combined with a healthy diet.” (More: How to create your own weight loss workout routine).
Saving money: Elliptical
When you read this because you don’t know if you are going to get a treadmill or elliptic for your home gym, you know that ellipticals are less expensive generally. For example, the best-selling elliptical on Amazon is only \$260, compared with the \$600 price tag on the top treadmill.
Note: no strength training can replace neither a treadmill nor elliptical workouts, explains Banta. You can therefore consider getting an elliptic and saving money on other reasonable gym equipment such as dumbbells or kettlebells. (What elliptical to invest in is not sure? See the Elliptical Shape choices.)
So, which is better: treadmill or elliptical?
“It depends ultimately on your body and your goals,” Conrad adds. The treadmill imitates the natural movement of running outside, making it a superior option for sports and racing. But the elliptical is the less-impact solution for both, so for people who have ankle, hip and knee problems, this is a safer and better option.
As for weight loss and calorie burning, it is better to take a training course. So, hey, if you’re not in the mood, there’s always the escalator or the room.