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Cardiovascular Exercise Face-Off: Treadmills versus Elliptical Trainer

February 15th, 2014 · No Comments ·


I have written about elliptical machine. Some readers are puzzling whether treadmill is a better choice to help them burning more fat. In fact, some are planning to buy either one of them to use at home but not sure which one should they choose.

So, question here, which one is better, treadmill or elliptical exercise machine (also known as cross trainer)?


Before go further into this topic, I suggest you to read my post on elliptical machine.

Now, let’s do the face-off:

  1. First thing first, people have different preferences when it comes to exercising. In fact, different goals, some to lose weight, some want to build stamina and others just want to sweat out.
  2. Second, understanding how treadmill and elliptical machine work is important:
    • Some prefer treadmill because it accommodates walking and running. Neither takes any special coordination. As for elliptical trainers, it exercises both your upper and lower body. It allows you to exercising more of your leg muscles than a treadmill. You can reverse the motion with elliptical trainer, thereby exercising even more muscles.
    • Both treadmills and elliptical machines are equipped with a variety of challenging pre-set programs to motivate you to exercise. With treadmill, you can adjust the incline and speed. The machine can simulate running on hills and other interval training exercise programs. With elliptical machines, you can adjust the intensity level. Resistance may be added to increase the workload on your legs throughout the forward or backward stride.
  3. Now, let’s look at the impact to your knees:
    • Treadmills are designed to absorbed impact, and reduce the stress to you ankles, knees and lower back. The reduced impact is still there, but definitely less than what you experience when you run on asphalt or concrete outdoor.
    • Elliptical trainers offer much low-impact workout. Because your legs follow an elliptical motion, the impact to your lower body, especially knee is reduced significantly. When you run on treadmill, you may experience as much as 2.5 times your body weight when you strike the deck. Therefore, elliptical trainers are ideal for aging elderly or people suffering from strains and injuries.


So which is better in achieving your fitness goals – a treadmill or an elliptical trainer?

  • If your goal is to finish a 10 kilometer marathon, you have better chance to win if you run on treadmill for preparation. The elliptical machine might stress the cardiovascular system, and cause it to adapt, but in order to develop the muscles and technique necessary to be a runner, you need to run. So, for people who thrive on walking and running, the treadmill is an ideal choice.
  • For those looking for a more total body workout, with less impact, then an elliptical trainer is perfect.


In short, no clear cut winner. It depends on which machine is most likely going to motivate you to use it.



Category: Fitness Gadget/Equipment

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