How to Choose an Elliptical Trainer


If you want to lose weight, strengthen major muscle groups, improve endurance and work of the cardiovascular system, we recommend that you exercise regularly on elliptical trainers. Such a device is a symbiosis of a stepper and a treadmill – the trainee puts his feet on the platforms and moves them along an ellipse, imitating the process of running.

The platforms are connected with tall handles that move in a reciprocating manner. During classes, the athlete holds on to them, which allows you to train not only the legs but also the muscles of the back, abs and arms. Let’s consider how to choose an elliptical trainer for exercising at home and what types of trainers are available.

Important Nuances

Before you buy a modern home simulator, there are seven key parameters to consider:

  1. Manufacturer’s choice. Today ellipsoids are produced by dozens of companies, but there is no clear market leader. Manufacturers can be divided by country and price range: American brands are considered to be the most expensive and high-quality ones, European manufacturers produce exercise equipment in the middle price range, Asian ones – cheap and affordable models.
  2. Step length. The longer the stride, the more natural the movement, but the higher the load. It is believed that the stride length is chosen according to the height of the athlete, it can vary from 33 to 55 cm. With a height of 155 cm, you can do with a simulator with a stride length of 35-40 cm, and with an increase of 175, it is better to choose models with a step of 45-50 cm. that even short people can work out on an elliptical trainer with a step of 45-55 cm, so if you choose a model for the whole family, then take the device for the largest person.
  3. Q- factor (distance between pedals). The smaller it is, the more comfortable it is for people with short stature to exercise on simulators. For classic ellipsoids with a rear flywheel, the distance between the pedals is 20 cm, for front-wheel drive, it is 10 cm. It is recommended to try out different types of equipment before buying to find out which width will be best for you.
  4. Flywheel location. It can be located at the back or front. There is not much difference in location, except that the front-wheel-drive elliptical trainers are more compact and better suited for use at home. When training on them, the body is almost vertical, while on rear-wheel drive it leans forward, which provides an additional load on the spine.
  5. Maximum weight. Each elliptical trainer has a weight limit for the exerciser. When choosing an ellipsoid for your home, take into account the weight of the heaviest family member who will be exercising. It is recommended to take exercise equipment with a 15-20% weight reserve so that they do not work for wear during training, that is, if the weight of the practitioner is 95 kilograms, then you need a device designed for 95+ (95 * 0.2) = 114 kg.
  6.  Load type. Elliptical trainers with mechanical, magnetic and electromagnetic drive are on sale. We will analyze this issue in more detail a little below, but in general, it is recommended to purchase magnetic and electromechanical devices.
  7. The presence of handrails. Additional handrails make weight loss workouts more effective by increasing the amount of exercise and increasing the load on the arms, back and abs.

Note: If you have small rooms, it is better to choose folding models or models with a front flywheel. They take up less floor space and make cleaning easier.

Types of Elliptical Trainers by Load Type

There are three types of simulators:

  1. Mechanical stress. The principle of operation of the mechanical unit is simple – the platforms are connected to a flywheel that spins up during training. Load regulation is carried out by compressing the brake pads – they create resistance when the flywheel rotates. This is the simplest version of the simulator, but it has several significant drawbacks – rapid wear of the pads, increased noise, and uneven travel. Today, such devices are practically not produced.
  2. Magnetically loaded. The principle of operation is similar to the mechanical one, but the flywheel is decelerated by permanent magnets. The user can adjust the load level by rotating the mechanical handle, which changes the location of the magnets. Such simulators are considered optimal for home workouts in order to lose weight. They have an affordable cost, operate almost silently compared to mechanical ones, and also do not require an electrical connection.
  3. With electromagnetic load. An elliptical trainer of this type is equipped with electromagnets, which create a load depending on the selected settings. This is a good option for home: during training, the device makes almost no noise, the load is smoothly regulated, the rotation occurs evenly and without jerks. Electromagnetic trainers require plugging in and consume energy, but they have a wide range of functions, ranging from built-in programs to increase the efficiency of training to speakers, the ability to connect wireless heart rate sensors or connect a mobile phone as a player.

Attention: an elliptical trainer with an electromagnetic load is more expensive than mechanics and magnets, but at the same time, it has many advantages. The only thing to consider is the need to be connected to the mains, during training, it consumes from 10 to 350 watts.

How Do I Pick a Good Elliptical Trainer?

So, we have already told you about the main types and parameters of simulators. Next, we will analyze how to correctly choose an ellipsoid for the right workouts in order to become slim and fit, getting the most out of the exercise.

  1. Consider how much free space you will allocate for the unit. On average, one and a half square meters are needed to place a simulator – it can be placed in a corner or hidden behind a door. If there is little space, then choose the folding or compact front-wheel-drive options, if there is enough space, then get a full-size unit since they are more stable.
  2. Find out the weight and height of the participants. If you choose elliptical trainers for yourself, then focus on your parameters. If the unit is selected for the whole family, then we recommend making a selection for the largest person. There are models in which you can change the position of the platforms – perhaps this unit will suit you.
  3. Choose which type of load is right for your purpose. It is recommended to choose from magnetic and electromagnetic models since they are considered the best for use in residential areas.
  4. Consider whether you need built-in programs. With their help, you can increase the efficiency of training and competently lose weight, but models with built-in programs are somewhat more expensive than the classic ones.
  5. Think about what additional options you need on the elliptical trainer. Modern models are equipped with speakers, stands for a book or tablet, stands for glasses or bottles, heart rate sensors and other nice little things that will make your workouts more comfortable.

I would also like to say about the flywheel. The heavier it is, the smoother the simulator works and the better the load can be controlled. Modern models are equipped with flywheels from 4 to 12 kilograms. Athletes recommend purchasing elliptical trainers with a flywheel mass of at least 7 kilograms, and if the person involved is more than 100 kg, then at least 9 kg.

Is it worth overpaying and buying smart devices with modern built-in computers? It all depends on your preferences and capabilities – if you want to watch movies or listen to music while exercising, then you can purchase an option with a large multimedia display, if you want to monitor your heart rate, then buy options with built-in heart rate sensors, limiters, simulators, etc., “Smart” devices make training easier and increase the effectiveness of training – built-in programs allow you to work at a given pace and achieve high results.

Before buying, study the rating of the simulators to find the best option. If you have never exercised on them, then go to the gym or to the store to try out different models and find out which one is right for you. 

By admin

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