Elliptical Exercise Machine vs. Treadmill: Which Is Better?

Elliptical Exercise Machine vs. Treadmill: Which Is Better?

Whether you’re a fitness aficionado, new to the routine, or anywhere in between, odds are you’ve encountered the battle of elliptical versus treadmill.

As two of the most popular fitness machines in gym line-ups and home workout arsenals, each offers unique benefits. But the ultimate question is: which one suits your fitness needs better?

In the gym battle between these two cardio titans, we’re diving into their pros and cons and their key differences. Let’s hash out the elliptical vs. treadmill conundrum and hopefully help you choose a trusted workout companion that aligns with your fitness, health, and body goals.

The Treadmill: Like Running on Pavement, but Indoors

Running, either on the open road or on a treadmill, has been a favorite way to get hearts racing and muscles working.

What to look for when buying a treadmillThe treadmill allows you to control the speed and incline and, in some advanced models, even simulate outdoor conditions. But the experience is not merely confined to enthusiastic sprinters. It’s also perfect for leisurely walks or skill-building for serious marathons.

Treadmills have stood the test of time for multiple reasons. They offer several distinct benefits:

  • Versatility: With varying speeds and inclines, treadmills offer a range of intense running workouts to leisurely walking sessions. They cater to everyone, regardless of fitness background and goals.
  • Imitates outdoor running: Treadmills provide a similar experience to outdoor running, helping you prepare for races in a controlled environment where weather is no longer a concern.
  • Calorie-burning: Since treadmills involve weight-bearing exercises (where you work against gravity), they can burn significantly more calories compared to non-weight-bearing machines like stationary bikes.
  • Bone strengthening: The high-impact nature of treadmill workouts promotes an increase in bone density, enhancing your overall bone health and reducing the likelihood of osteoporosis.

Creating Effective Treadmill Workouts

To maximize the results from a treadmill workout, consider the following tips:

  • Gradually increase intensity: Whether you’re increasing speed, incline, or both, making the changes gradually limits the likelihood of injury and ensures effective results.
  • Try interval training: Incorporate periods of high intensity followed by recovery periods. This form of training can increase your calorie burn and boost your cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • Set achievable goals: Aim for realistic and specific goals. This keeps you motivated and makes your workouts more productive.
  • Maintain good posture: Keeping your body in the correct position with your arms in a natural swing reduces strain and enhances workout efficiency.

Safety Precautions

While exercising on a treadmill has many benefits, you need to make sure you’re doing it safely to avoid injury.

    • Wear good-quality shoes: Invest in a pair of running shoes with sufficient cushioning to absorb the shock of each stride.
    • Avoid holding onto handrails: Unless you need them for balance during warm-up and cool-down periods. Holding onto the rails can throw off your running form, causing strain and reducing the workout’s efficiency.
  • Don’t skip the warm-up and cool-down: These phases prepare your body for a workout and allow it to recover, respectively.

Exercise on a treadmill is an effective and versatile way to improve fitness. With the right plan in place, the treadmill can become your go-to machine for a rewarding workout regimen.

The Elliptical Exercise Machine: An All-Rounded Low-Impact Workout

elliptical for toning - Fitness ExpoThe elliptical exercise machine is a popular workout option, providing a low-impact, full-body workout that enhances overall cardiovascular fitness. Let’s take a look into the elliptical unique qualities and how to make the most of your workouts with this versatile equipment.

Elliptical exercise machines have become immensely popular for the following benefits:

  • Full-body workout: With movable handles, ellipticals engage both your upper and lower body, working together to provide a well-rounded workout experience.
  • Low-impact exercise: The smooth, gliding motion of an elliptical machine minimizes pressure on the joints, making it ideal for those with joint pain or injuries.
  • Variety: Ellipticals allow for forward or reverse striding, activating different muscle groups and adding diversity to workouts.
  • Cardiovascular fitness: Elliptical workouts help improve cardiovascular endurance, contributing to heart health and overall fitness levels.

Creating Effective Elliptical Workouts

To optimize your elliptical workout experience, follow these tips:

  • Increase resistance gradually: Raising resistance levels progressively enables your body to adapt and ensures results while minimizing the risk of injury.
  • Incorporate intervals or HIIT: Building periods of high intensity followed by recovery phases into your workout boosts cardiorespiratory fitness and can enhance calorie burning.
  • Set achievable goals: Establishing realistic and specific objectives keeps you motivated, making your workout sessions more purposeful.
  • Focus on maintaining proper form: Maintain an upright posture, engage your core muscles, avoid putting excessive pressure on the handles, and distribute your weight evenly on the pedals. The correct form ensures efficient workouts and minimizes the risk of strain.

Safety Precautions

To safely enjoy your elliptical workouts, follow these recommendations:

  • Wear proper footwear: Choose well-fitting athletic shoes that provide good arch support, stability, and cushioning to help you maintain balance and avoid slipping off the pedals.
  • Check the machine: Before starting your workout, inspect the elliptical machine to ensure everything is properly in place to avoid accidents.
  • Warm-up and cool-down: Warm-up prepares your body for the workout, while cool-down allows your heart rate and muscles to return to normal, reducing the risk of injury.

Exercising on an elliptical machine delivers a fantastic, low-impact, full-body workout solution for those looking to improve cardiovascular fitness or lose weight. 

With its unique benefits and versatility, the elliptical can become your go-to piece of equipment for an effective and enjoyable fitness regimen.

Elliptical vs. Treadmill: Which One Tips the Scale?

As you can see, both machines can have a great impact on your overall fitness. However, not everyone has room in their home for more than one machine. To that end, let’s take a closer look at how treadmills and ellipticals compare in various categories:

Cardio Benefits

Treadmills provide a more natural running or walking motion, engaging a broader range of muscles.

This weight-bearing exercise strengthens bones and muscles, contributing to overall cardiovascular health. The ability to adjust speed and incline makes treadmills suitable for various fitness levels, from beginners to seasoned runners.

Elliptical machines offer a low-impact alternative to treadmills. 

The elliptical motion minimizes the impact on joints, making it an ideal choice for individuals with arthritis or joint pain. Elliptical workouts still provide effective cardiovascular exercise, engaging both the upper and lower body muscles.

Joint Impact

While treadmills offer an excellent workout, the repetitive impact of running or walking on a hard surface may contribute to joint stress, particularly in the knees and hips. Individuals with pre-existing joint issues should approach treadmill workouts with caution.

Elliptical machines, with their smooth gliding motion, significantly reduce joint impact. This makes them a preferred option for those with joint concerns or individuals recovering from injuries. The elliptical gentle movement minimizes the risk of jarring impacts, promoting a more comfortable workout experience.

Caloric Burn

The intensity of a treadmill workout can lead to a higher caloric burn compared to an elliptical session. The weight-bearing nature of treadmill exercises engages more muscles, resulting in a potentially greater energy expenditure.

While elliptical workouts may feel less strenuous, they still offer an effective calorie burn. The combination of upper and lower body engagement ensures a comprehensive workout. The low-impact nature of elliptical exercise also allows for longer, more sustained sessions, contributing to overall calorie expenditure.

Variety in Workouts

Treadmills offer a variety of workout options, from steady-state jogging to interval training. The ability to adjust speed and incline adds versatility, keeping workouts challenging and engaging. Many treadmills also come equipped with pre-programmed workouts to suit different fitness goals.

Elliptical machines often feature handlebars that allow for both upper and lower body movement. Some models also come with adjustable resistance levels, enabling users to customize the intensity of their workouts.

While ellipticals may have fewer built-in programs compared to treadmills, they still provide diverse training options.

Experience and Enjoyment

For many, the rhythmic sound of footsteps on a treadmill and the sensation of outdoor running can be invigorating. Treadmills offer a sense of progression as users cover distance, which can be motivating and mentally rewarding.

Elliptical workouts provide a smooth and controlled experience. The absence of impact and the elliptical motion can be gentler on the mind and body, making it an attractive option for those who want a low-stress, enjoyable workout.

Highlights for Your Decision

In the showdown of elliptical exercise machines vs. treadmills, determining the “better” option lies solely within your fitness goals and health considerations.

Choose a Treadmill if…

  • You enjoy the sensation of running or walking outdoors.
  • Weight-bearing exercises are essential for your fitness goals.
  • You prefer a machine with a wide range of speed and incline options.

Choose an Elliptical if…

  • You have joint concerns or are recovering from an injury.
  • Low-impact workouts align with your fitness needs.
  • You appreciate the smooth, gliding motion of an elliptical exercise.

Consider trying both machines to see which one aligns better with your body and goals. Remember, the most effective exercise is the one you enjoy and can sustain over the long term. So, lace up those running shoes or step onto the elliptical, and let your fitness journey begin.

And don’t forget, if you need any fitness equipment or advice, Fitness Expo is your go-to store. Visit or contact us today and take advantage of some of our special offers.