Benefits and Disadvantages of Elliptical Versus Treadmill
It’s not about which machine is better, it’s more about what you’re trying to achieve when working out. Treadmills burn more calories in a shorter amount of time, while elliptical trainers condition the body more effectively.
If a person has trouble running or is overweight and needs conditioning, then an elliptical trainer would be the best option because of the low impact stress on your joints.
If you want to lose weight quickly during a short workout session, then going for a treadmill may help get rid of that excess fat off faster since it works with gravity and doesn’t have any moving parts that will slow down your workout progress.
However, if you have injuries on some parts of your legs/knees/hips etc, then an elliptical is the right workout equipment for you because it won’t cause pain to any of your joints.
If you want a full-body workout that targets different parts of your body, then going for an elliptical trainer would be your best option. It works with most muscle groups in your body depending on how you position yourself and move the pedals/arms of the machine. This way, you’re getting a good lower body workout while at the same time getting a good upper body workout simultaneously.
Treadmills are usually found in gyms so if you want to have access to one when not working out with a personal trainer, then going for a treadmill might seem like a better option. However, if you don’t have access to one in your area, then you can just purchase an elliptical trainer for yourself. This way, you will have no problems working out in the comfort of your own home when time permits.
Treadmills are designed to simulate walking or running on the natural ground so they mimic this stress to a certain extent with the use of their moving belt and its inclination. Elliptical trainers work with resistance so it is more effective in toning your body than treadmills because it works only your muscles instead of making them do both high impacts as well as low impact movements such as those caused by walking/running on natural ground.
Treadmills burn more calories than elliptical machines but this doesn’t mean that using ellipticals would not work for you. Elliptical trainers are designed to train the heart and lungs during workout sessions, while at the same time targeting different parts of your body depending on how you position yourself on the machine.
Elliptical machines come with programs that allow you to set a certain level of difficulty based on what your fitness goal is: whether you want to lose weight fast or tone muscles and increase endurance and strength/stamina etc.
Treadmills, on the other hand, don’t have these features because they’ve been around for a long time already since their invention in 18th century England so they’re just simply walking belts that help people get back into shape without having too many complex things going on behind its mechanics.
On average, treadmills burn around 700 calories per hour while elliptical machines only burn around 350-500 calories on average per hour. However, an elliptical trainer is more of a conditioning and toning workout machine than a calorie burner because you might not lose weight fast but it helps give shape to your body faster than treadmills do due to its resistance and low impact movements that strengthen and tone muscles (depending on which types of workouts you perform on the machine).
Treadmill belts are bigger in size compared to elliptical arms/pedals so if you’re planning to work out with both your upper and lower body, then this would definitely be an advantage for treadmill users. If you want something that focuses mainly on your lower body too, then elliptical trainers are the right workout equipment for you.
Treadmills need more maintenance compared to elliptical trainers because it has moving parts that need lubrication and a sturdier build to withstand the weight of users who weigh over 200 pounds (treadmill can hold up to 500 lbs.) whereas an elliptical trainer is very lightweight which means its build isn’t sturdy enough for bigger people.
Treadmills are around $500-3,000+ (depends on what treadmill you purchase) while elliptical trainers start at about $100-1,000+. So if your budget is limited, then investing in an elliptical trainer might be a better option than purchasing a treadmill especially since they’re made only for low impact and resistance workouts and not for heavy people.
Treadmills are bulky because they have a bigger frame compared to elliptical trainers so you might need to spend more money on storage space or keep them in your garage/basement if it’s big enough. If this is an issue, then having an elliptical trainer will be better because of its smaller size made with lightweight materials that result in fewer storage problems.
Lastly, if you’re the type of person who loves sharing gadgets with friends or relatives then you can’t do that with treadmills since they’re very expensive workout equipment to purchase whereas anyone can own one by purchasing their own elliptical trainer for under $500.
Disadvantages of elliptical:
It provides a small stride length as compared to treadmill and stair stepper which makes it a little bit difficult for new users to start with elliptical training because stride length is directly related to the speed of movement and speed of movement during exercise is directly proportional to calories burning.
Low height adjustment:
Elliptical has limited height adjustment as compared to cardio machines like treadmills, stationary bicycles, etc. that’s why you need to be very conscious about your height while starting a workout on an elliptical trainer, choose a machine that perfectly fits your body otherwise you will feel discomfort after the first week of use.
Less rotation range:
Elliptical provides less rotation range because it uses the only front part of the moving arm whereas in the case of stepper elliptical cross-trainer presents rotating upper body for a more effective workout.
No variation in movement:
The elliptical machine doesn’t provide variation in the movement so it is not at all helpful for your lagging muscle groups, to overcome this disadvantage you can use high incline because you have adjusted the resistance level during exercise so by increasing the resistance level you can also increase the angle of inclination and thus indirectly target your lagging muscles groups because higher the angle of inclination more will be the involvement of targeted muscle group.
Less flexible as compared to other cardio machines which are already discussed above that’s why if you are looking for a good cardio session then choose another cardio machine instead of an elliptical trainer because apart from low rotation range elliptical doesn’t provide flexibility.
Low level of acceleration:
Elliptical provides a little amount of acceleration that’s why if you are looking for cardiovascular improvement then choose another cardio machine because not much intensity can be added during a workout session on an elliptical trainer whereas other cardio machines provide more variation in the movement and thus help to increase the intensity of workout session as compared to ellipticals.
Elliptical has a damping system which makes it stable but this is also one type of disadvantage because damping causes slippage so there is always a chance that your feet may slip from pedals, so it’s better to wear proper gym shoes while doing exercise on an elliptical trainer otherwise you may get hurt because of slippage.
No upper body movement:
As discussed above the elliptical doesn’t provide any movement of the upper body during exercise so if you are looking for a total body workout session then choose other cardio machines instead of elliptical, which is one more disadvantage of an elliptical trainer.
Low foot grip:
Elliptical provides a little bit less grip to the feet because it uses a combination of rubber and metal in its construction whereas treadmills use a metallic frame with a diamond-shaped steel pattern on the deck which gives it a strong foot grip, therefore proper care must be taken while using an elliptical trainer because your foot may slip from pedals due to low foot grip.
Ineffective in losing weight:
Often people think that an elliptical trainer is very effective in losing weight but it’s not true, because if you want to lose weight then keep your exercise intensity high on an elliptical trainer otherwise it will be the same as any other cardio machine, there are some tips for losing weight while doing exercise session on the elliptical which you can read below.
treadmill or elliptical for weight loss:
Best time to use an elliptical trainer for weight loss:
You can use it at the end of your workout session because by that time the intensity will be below and you will not able to burn many calories because earlier you have used other cardio machines like treadmill, stationary bicycle, etc.
Quick tips to lose weight on an elliptical:
If you want to use an elliptical trainer for losing weight then keep the following points in mind
Increase resistance level as high as possible so that it becomes difficult for you to continue exercise but keep in mind that during a workout session always listen to your body because if any type of pain is being felt while exercising on it then stop the exercise immediately otherwise overusing may lead to injury.
If possible then try to use a combination of upper and lower body movement because it will help you in losing weight.
Sometimes during exercise keep your hands on the handlebar so that you can add more resistance and thus lose more weight, but while doing this exercise only support your body with your legs otherwise you may get hurt.
While doing a workout on an elliptical trainer doesn’t break your style because if you stop for a while and then start again then it’s useless, always try to maintain proper style while exercising on an elliptical trainer.
Don’t cross the safety point:
Always remain within the safe zone or never overdo because by overusing (beyond the safety limit) you may get hurt which is not good for your health.
Cycling is also good:
If you like to do a cycling workout then it’s better because you will get both types of movement (upper and lower) and thus it will be helpful in losing weight faster, but always choose the right bicycle according to your body type or physical conditions otherwise you may suffer from backache or leg pain if the wrong bike is chosen.
Overdoing is bad:
As discussed above the elliptical doesn’t provide much movement of the upper body so don’t overdo it while exercising on it, because if more movement would have been there then you could have increased the intensity level which can help in burning more calories/fat during the exercise session.