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Finding the Right Elliptical for Your Workout

Unlike treadmills, ellipticals are very complex machines. Their unique design allows you to target multiple areas of the body within one workout. You’ll find a huge range in terms of design and functionality, which can make it hard to choose what’s best for you. That’s why the team at Reviews.com took a look at leading ellipticals on the market to find out what really matters when you’re shopping for what’s right. They discovered three major differences between different elliptical models:

Drive System Location

The location of the drive determines the size of the machine and its ergonomics

The drive of an elliptical can be in the rear (placed behind the pedals), in the front (for more of a stair-stepping and forward-pitched position), or the center (maximum range of motion, but also at a higher price). You can think of these positions as corresponding to different price points:

Front drive: more compact and less expensive, but because of the design, they may require more long-term maintenance costs.

Rear drive: mid-range in price and bigger, but allow for a wide range of motion that tends to feel natural like jogging.

Center drive: more expensive and luxurious, these also have the high-tech options that feature on-board entertainment.

Drive Mechanism

There are two different ways to mechanically increase the resistance to pedaling and intensify your workout

Air resistance is a more simple strategy. Pedaling on the machine turns a weighted fan, which is an easy way to add resistance the faster you pedal. In terms of maintenance, these types of machines are easiest to repair yourself. It is hard to control the resistance on these machines, however, and tends to be a less comfortable workout (especially for those looking for low-impact movement.

Magnetic resistance uses magnets to control the intensity of the workout. It gives you more a more fine-tuned resistance range and a smooth ride, but can be more expensive to repair if needed.

Pedal Design

The way the pedals move determines the length and path of your movement during a workout.

Wheel-track ellipticals incorporate tracks on the bottom of the machine and anchor your feet to the pedals. Since you’re anchored to the tracks, these tend to be less ergonomically-designed, but you can usually make some adjustments to the incline and stride. These tend to be less expensive options.

Suspension ellipticals don’t utilize tracks, rather, your feet are suspended in the air as you move. This is by far the most ergonomic design because of its adjustability, and they tend to be quieter. With better design comes a higher price point, suspension ellipticals tend to be more expensive.

After determining which options work best for your budget and workout, the decision comes down to personal preference and experience. Models can come with a variety of features like TV and entertainment, and there is a range of styles of handlebars and adjustability. To read more about elliptical options and to find out which models worked the best, you can take a look at another full article here: https://www.reviews.com/elliptical-machines/

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