Treadmill vs Elliptical

by | Jun 8, 2021 | Gym equipment shopping tips

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The elliptical machine and home treadmill are probably two of the most popular cardio fitness machines in a home gym environment. Both offer a great cardio workout and simulate a natural running or walking motion.

Home Treadmills allow you to walk, jog or run on a rotating belt. Treadmill running allows you to control the speed as well as the incline. Whilst an elliptical works by placing your feet on a platform and then moving in an ellipses, or oval circle.

Both ellipticals and treadmills offer a great cardio workout, but also have some key differences. With regards to asking “Is a treadmill or elliptical better?” Well it depends on factors such as:

  1. Your workout goals
  2. Physical health
  3. Space
  4. Key features

Both types of cardio machines have positive and negatives when it comes to working out. Read on to learn if a treadmill or elliptical is better for you and your training.

Elliptical pros

Low-impact workout that is easy on your joints

The elliptical offers a low-impact workout. If you suffer from low-back pain, knee or hip pain or just find it hard to tolerate the motion of running or walking. Then the elliptical provides a good option to you.  I

And don’t let the word “low-impact” fool you. It may sound less strenuous, but it still offers a good cardio workout.

Maintaining fitness after injury

If you are trying to recover from injury, then the elliptical offers a great HIIT workout on a low-impact machine. Meaning that you can still work on recovery whist maintaining fitness.

Experience a good upper and lower body workout

Most ellipticals hae arm handles that you can push back and forth at the same time as you you’re your legs. Providing a good upper and lower body workout.

Elliptical cons

New movement to get used to

If you haven’t trained on an elliptical before, there might be a learning curve to get use to the movement. It may feel awkward at first, but once you get the movement right, you will be on your way to good cardio fitness training.

Less muscle development

The elliptical offers a good workout, you may not have the same muscle development as that of a treadmill. But try adding weights to your elliptical workout to gain more muscle.

Treadmill pros

You’re in control

A benefit of treadmill running is the control that you have over the speed and incline. Switch froma brisk walk to an intense run with a push of a button.

Treadmills also offer a variety of training programs and having more control over your workout will make it easier to reach your goals. If your goal is to run a faster 5km, then set your average speed that will push you to reach this goal.

Builds lower body strength

Running or walking on the treadmill can strengthen your lower body muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. A treadmill run can also strengthen your hip flexors and glutes.

To further strengthen your legs, add in lunges and squats during the week to build leg muscles.

Treadmill cons

May lead to injuries

In comparison to elliptical training, running or jogging on a treadmill can put more stress on your bones and joints.

To reduce the risk of injuries, always start your treadmill workout with a warm-up and end with a cool down. Also be sure to stretch after your treadmill session.

How to choose the right gym equipment machine for you

For some people, the elliptical offers benefits that the treadmill can’t. For example, if you’re prone to injuries, then the elliptical may be a better choice because:

The treadmill may be a better fit for you if you aren’t prone to injuries, training for a 5km or 10km road race, or if you want to build strength in your glutes and lower body.

Bottom line

The treadmill and elliptical both offer effective cardiovascular workouts and your decision will depend on your own unique needs.