Elliptical Vs Treadmill – Which Is Better?

Often, we compare things, especially when those things are close. Sometimes we compare things to choose one that best suits us.

Elliptical and treadmill are no exception. We compare these two things to know which one is better to use and which one to buy for home use. Because in the gym, you get the chance to use them both.

People use these machines for cardio exercises. But they have some benefits and drawbacks on their own. We talked with some fitness experts to determine the answer to the question, ‘which one is better.’ Let’s figure out which machine is better.

Treadmill: For Tracking The Progress


A trainer from Trainiac, a training app, Mackenzie Banta, said that treadmills are micro-programmable and easy to use. You will find your progress details on your screen, which is the most significant advantage of a treadmill.

A trainer of a famous running club, Karli Alvino, agrees that modern treadmills are high-tech and can be an excellent tool for tracking data.

He says that almost every treadmill for monitoring the progress offers you to follow your pace, time, segment time, and distance. You can see your improvements on the machine in real-time. And it will keep you motivated week after week.

On the other hand, the elliptical machine has more variation, and the measurement varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. The amount of exercise for one mile may differ from one another.

Elliptical: For Injured Person


A certified trainer for R.S.P. Nutrition, Manning Summer, C.S.C.S., says the most crucial advantage of elliptical is low-impact gym equipment. Treadmills are a higher impact machine than oval.

He added that your foot would be on the foot pedal, it cancels the pressure of picking feet up and down with your body’s weight. A beginner or left the gym a while ago or injured can use this low-impact machine pretty quickly. It can be an excellent choice for them.

Manning says that elliptical is a better and safer choice for people suffering from back, hip, and knee injuries to perform aerobic exercises because it has a lower impact on the joints. If you don’t have injuries, occasionally using elliptical can reduce your joints’ pressure from high-impact activities.

Treadmill: Training for Race


Mackenzie Banta says a treadmill can be a high-impact workout machine than the elliptical, but it lacks impact considering running on pavement. She says that the treadmill has a wrong impression as a high-impact exercise machine, but it is not that much a high-impact machine as people think it is.

She added that compared to the running on the road or pavement, the treadmill has a lesser impact on your knees, hips, and feet because treadmills design less on your body while running.

If you’re training for outdoor running or races, you can focus and improve your running form on the treadmill while elliptical runs on a set of moving patterns.

Elliptical: Workout for Full-body


Elliptical trainers can cover your full-body workout. Almost every elliptical machine has an arm and leg motion. Mackenzie says that you can perform full-body exercises by pulling and pushing the handlebars.

A certified chiropractor and strength and conditioning coach, Allen Conrad agrees that enough arms movement can strengthen your upper part of the body in elliptical, enough arms movement. For a better arm workout session, you can add arm-only intervals or increase the resistance level.

Mackenzie adds that the core of your body needs to keep the body balanced because both the upper body and lower body are working at a time. For targeting muscles like glutes, calves, and hamstring, you should pedal backwards.

Treadmill: For Strengthen the Legs


Conard says that if you can use the incline range correctly, you can benefit from this particular treadmill feature and strengthen your legs.

Running on quality like incline will feel like running on hill tracks. You can target various muscles like glutes, calves, core, and quads using different rising levels. The critical thing is you need to walk or run against gravity to get the benefit.

As Sumner says, if running or sprinting is hard for you, walking on the incline mode can significantly benefit you.

Treadmill: For Burning More Calories


In Alvino’s opinion, you can use a treadmill or elliptical to burn calories,(1) (2) and performing on either of the trainers is better than doing zero cardio. She adds that if we compare both machines, then the treadmill will be the winner.

The reason behind this is, in elliptical, you have to keep your feet planted on the pedal, wherein the treadmill, you need to lift your feet, and that requires more energy. So, in this sense, the treadmill burns more calories.

But burning calories also depend on how intense your workout session is. If you’re working out on the elliptical at a high resistance level, it will burn more calories slowly, walking on the treadmill.

Alvino suggests that no matter which machine you choose, do the interval-based exercises to boost your metabolism and burn calories and fat fast.

Either: For Weight Loss


You may ask which machine would be better for weight loss. No single winner is Comparing these two machines based on weight loss.

Summer said that both are equal between the treadmill and elliptical; one needs to find out which one is better for him or her. You have to choose which one better suits you. It will base on your fitness goal or if you have any injury and many other factors.

Banta also agrees that for losing weight, elliptical, and treadmill, both are equally great.

Elliptical: For saving money


At the starting of this article, we mentioned that in the gym, you get to use both machines, so the money-saving point is not valid for the gym, but if you are thinking about home use, then you may be confused about which one to buy if you’re low in budget.

In that case, usually, the elliptical is less expensive than a treadmill. If we look at the best-selling treadmill and elliptical on the Amazon, we will notice that the top-selling treadmill costs almost $600, where you can get a top-selling elliptical at $400.

The difference is enormous. If you want to save money and want a cardio machine for home use, which will help you achieve your fitness goal, you can go for elliptical.

If you don’t have any issue with the money, go for any based on your preference. But Banta says, no cardio machine can fulfil the need for strength training. So, you should save some money for buying strength training equipment like kettlebells or dumbbells for your home gym.

Last but not least: Which one is better?


Conrad says that ultimately the answer will depend on your goals. In the treadmill, you can practice your race training, and it gives a feeling about running outdoors and can modify your routine by setting up the incline level.

On the other hand, in elliptical, you can do a low-impact workout. If you have issues with back, ankle, knee, or hip, it can be a better option for you.

But in the end, it depends on which workout you prefer. And choose one according to your preference.

Last Updated on October 6, 2020

Edwin Ingram

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