best elliptical machines

Elliptical Machine: Test & Reviews

Author: Manuel Heitmann

Coach & Fitness Expert

Elliptical trainers are considered innovative sports equipment. Our team of experts has viewed various tests on the Internet to make your purchase decision easier. In the following table you will find the ten best elliptical trainers with their performance data clearly listed.

Questions to Consider Before Buying An Elliptical Machine

What is a Elliptical Machine?

According to an analysis, an elliptical trainer is an endurance exercise device. According to a study, it can be found both in local gyms and in many athletes’ homes. In comparison to a conventional exercise bike, not only the leg muscles are stimulated here, but all muscle groups are used compared to other sports equipment. You can adjust the motion sequences on the elliptical trainer individually based on a survey.

Mostly elliptical and cross trainers are often equated in comparison tables, analyzes, proficiency tests or when they are placed side by side. We’ll go into the differences in fitness equipment later. The fact is, however, that an elliptical trainer differs a little from the sequence of movements of a cross trainer and the movements are gentler on the joints. Nevertheless, according to an evaluation of consumer behavior, many beginners opt for a cross trainer, which is usually a little cheaper in price. When searching, also consult comparisons, comparison tables and side-by-side views! After inspecting and weighing the products with the test grade “very good” and in accordance with your wishes, you will soon find your test winner!

Visually, an elliptical trainer looks similar to other fitness equipment, a bicycle home trainer without a seat. According to a suitability test, this piece of sports equipment must be used in a standing position as part of an experiment. The large flywheel with integrated magnetic brake, which is located at the front of an elliptical trainer, is striking. The long pedals are attached to this magnetic brake via an intermediate joint. They enable stretched movements that correspond to the sequence of movements in Nordic walking. Test the motion sequence of the elliptical trainer for yourself and decide on a device based on weighing and congruence with your ideas!

According to a sample, an elliptical trainer has two angled arm bars for arm movements that follow the movement in opposite directions. They are so long that the person exercising can hold on to them with arms bent and alternately slightly stretched.

Although elliptical trainers are extremely heavy due to their very heavy flywheel, they are also exceptionally stable. The lateral outriggers ensure a high level of stability. According to a study, small rollers are also integrated under a boom so that the sports equipment can be stowed away to save space when not in use. Simply test and compare the fitness equipment yourself on Amazon or a comparison portal!

How does a elliptical machine work?

Before we dive into the comparison, you should also learn about how an elliptical trainer works. Just looking at this piece of sports equipment, we can easily imagine how it should be operated and which other fitness equipment it is similar to. First, stand with both feet on the adequately dimensioned pedal pedals. The two arm bars in the front area of ​​the sports equipment ensure a secure hold. Depending on your physical fitness level, you can start with the exercises immediately!

The arm bars are slightly angled and support the upper body when running. As with the cross trainer, the pedals and arm bars act asynchronously. We are also talking about a crossover movement here. If the foot with the heel is put down while running, the tread understandably goes down. At the same time, the arm bar is fed to the body on this side. On the other side of the body or training, this happens in the opposite direction. The step sequences, which are larger than on a cross trainer, are striking.

By the way, you don’t have to hold on to the arm bars. They automatically follow the leg movement. Nevertheless, they give you a certain support and security during training. You can use the integrated training computer with LCD display at any time to see

  • the training distance covered,
  • the training time,
  • the running speed,
  • the cadence,
  • calorie consumption and
  • the pulse.

Advantages & areas of application

If you want to train at home as well as at the local fitness center, an elliptical trainer is the perfect solution. Many important areas of the body muscles are stressed here. It is not for nothing that elliptical trainers are considered endurance sports equipment.

According to test results as well as evaluations of various practical tests and samples, the very inexpensive elliptical trainers do not always meet expectations. Studies, experiments, controls and investigations by Stiftung Warentest have confirmed this several times. Here you should rely on a model from a well-known brand manufacturer that guarantees high quality workmanship and durability.

With an elliptical trainer you will experience a feeling of weightlessness. This is because the feet always remain on the pedals and move with a gentle swing. This elliptical movement is particularly gentle on the ankles, hips and knees. The gentle running movements are carried out without the hard impact that occurs when running or jogging.

You can use an elliptical especially well on a test run if, for example, you have a few extra pounds on your ribs. This allows you to slowly increase your condition and lose weight at the same time, taking into account and after checking a training plan. The cardiovascular system is strengthened and you feel much more balanced after the workout.

The advantages of an elliptical trainer

  • joint-gentle training,
  • high calorie consumption,
  • also suitable for people who are overweight,
  • can be stowed to save space,
  • low maintenance and
  • high stability

What types of elliptical machines are available?

We have already discussed the differences between a cross trainer and an elliptical trainer. However, there are also different types within the elliptical trainer. Although most models are visually similar, there are also slight differences to be found here. For example, the dimensions can be slightly larger or more compact. Some elliptical trainers can be folded up to save space and can therefore be stowed away when not in use.

Important distinguishing features are, for example:

  • the weight of the flywheel,
  • the braking system,
  • the number of resistance levels,
  • the stride length,
  • the adjustable training program and
  • the maximum permitted body weight.

The flywheel and the brake system must be considered together. Usually the flywheel takes up most of the weight of the training system. This can weigh between 10 and 20 kg. The brake system is either an electronically adjustable magnetic brake, a permanent magnet brake system or an induction brake system.
Various levels of difficulty can be set using the integrated training computer. These are so-called resistance levels that indicate a power in watts. On some models, for example, between 10 and 350 watts can be set in 5 watt increments. With other high-quality models you have the option of setting 20 resistance levels individually, for example.

The stride length is also interesting. As already explained, the stride length on an elliptical trainer is much longer than on a cross trainer. But also among the elliptical trainers there are different models with which you can even change the stride length individually. Find out when comparing in the test which step length is best for you!

We find the respective functions of the training computer particularly interesting. Not only all important status data, such as heart and pulse rate, training duration, distance covered, etc. are displayed here. There are also a large number of motivational training programs available here. Depending on the manufacturer and model, up to 20 different programs can be called up. Some devices also offer you the option of connecting an MP3 player or a smartphone. So you can listen to your favorite music while exercising.

Furthermore, elliptical trainers differ in terms of the maximum permitted body weight. Usually this is around 150 kg.

Advantages in the external test

  • high weight of the flywheel ensures an even elliptical run,
  • Magnetic brake systems,
  • stable construction and therefore suitable for up to 150 kg without any problems,
  • large stride length,
  • many varied training programs.

Disadvantages in the external test

  • only Nordic walking is supported,
  • good elliptical trainers are expensive,
  • some models cannot be stowed away to save space,
  • cheap devices can only be adjusted mechanically.

Muscle building with the elliptical machine

An elliptical trainer is actually the typical endurance machine and is primarily used for cardiovascular training or fat burning. You can also build muscles with the right training.

The following are used on the elliptical trainer:

  • Calves
  • Thigh
  • Buttocks
  • Belly
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Chest muscles
  • Back

According to other magazines, the elliptical trainer always trains the large muscle groups. If you don’t just want to move the muscles on the elliptical trainer “on the side”, but want to build and define the muscles in a targeted manner, you should adapt your training accordingly.

Instead of training with little resistance as long as possible in order to boost fat burning, short training units are sufficient for building muscle.

After a five to fifteen minute warm-up with easy difficulty, you set the elliptical trainer to a high level of difficulty and accelerate for two minutes. This is followed by a break of one minute and for the next two minutes you go one step higher, another one minute break and for the third and last round you increase to the maximum strength you can achieve yourself. Let it “run out” for another five minutes to calm your pulse and the training is over.

Anyone who feels sore muscles after the first workout of this type knows that the muscle training was successful.

What do I have to look out for when buying a elliptical machine?

Understandably, good fitness equipment is a not insignificant investment in sports. Remember that home devices can cost anywhere from $200 to $5,000 on average. The professional elliptical trainers for fitness studios also cost a lot more.

In the first step, consider how often you would like to train with such sports equipment. If you only step on an elliptical trainer once in a while, then it can be an inexpensive entry-level model. For regular training with continuous success monitoring, you should rely on high-quality equipment. Then an elliptical can cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

Another purchase criterion is the maximum permitted body weight. This is a so-called maximum exposure limit. With this, the sports equipment can be operated over a longer period of time without damage. As a rule, most elliptical trainers are designed for up to 150 kg.

Find out more about the braking system, the possible resistance settings and the functions of the integrated training computer in experiments. All functions should be coherent and easy for you to use. Also remember that very inexpensive devices can only be set manually. Some inexpensive models even do without a computer entirely. Also consider whether you want to optionally connect a wireless or wired chest strap. Perhaps the arm bars on the handle should also be equipped with a heart rate monitor.

If you have shortlisted an elliptical trainer, you should also check whether this sports equipment can be stowed away to save space.

Finally, a little tip: the larger and heavier the flywheel of an elliptical, the smoother its elliptical run.


Foldable elliptical machine

The elliptical trainer is a wonderful fitness and sports device for endurance training – if only it weren’t that big! Many people simply do not want to have the elliptical trainer in their living room permanently. Some manufacturers like cardiostrong are now trying to counteract this problem by offering an elliptical trainer that is foldable.

The Maxxus CX 4.3 elliptical trainer requires e.g. B. for training a footprint of 174 cm in length and 70 cm in width. When it is folded in, the length is only 124 cm * instead of 174 cm. The elliptical can be folded away and stowed away using the transport rollers on the front stand.

The skandika Pro SF-3200 can also be folded as an elliptical trainer and its dimensions are even 10 cm more space-saving. If the skandika elliptical trainer is otherwise 164 cm long and 60 cm wide, when folded it is only 117 cm ** long.

Admittedly, the elliptical trainers are still quite bulky when folded and of course it is easiest if you always have the elliptical trainer available for training at home, so that the structure does not inhibit motivation. But this is where you know yourself and your home best. In any case, it is a positive extra.

Differences between cross trainers and elliptical machines

In general, you have to differentiate between an elliptical trainer and a cross trainer. Both have a flywheel, which can be driven by two approximately one meter long, horizontal pedals and vertical arm bars. Ideally, walking and running are simulated, although the occurrence of stress on the joints is eliminated.

An elliptical trainer is a further development of a cross trainer. Therefore, the elliptical trainer is very similar to the cross trainer. The motion control was designed to be more and more ergonomic and the running motion was thus represented even better. Often both sports equipment find the same name. For an elliptical trainer, the elliptical motion sequence that the feet reproduce on the device. Nevertheless, the movements with feet and arms are directed crosswise, so that we can also speak of a cross trainer here.

As a further development, an elliptical trainer has received another intermediate joint in the horizontal strut of the pedals. This provides additional relief for the knees, hips and spine. Arm work on an elliptical trainer is easier if your own upper body has already been trained. As a result, higher heart rate readings can also be achieved. People with weak upper body muscles, on the other hand, find it a little more difficult to train. They have to work harder to get a higher heart rate.

In the following we would like to take a closer look at the differences between a cross trainer and an elliptical trainer:

Cross trainer

  • the flywheel is usually located at the rear,
  • A magnetic or eddy current brake is used as the braking system,
  • the trainee is set in a strong upward and downward movement,
  • Cross trainers usually have a short stride length,
  • sometimes the hip joints can be stressed a little more.

Frequently Asked Questions: Elliptical Machines

What is an elliptical machine?

The elliptical trainer is a special training device that can be used to train endurance and fitness at home. The elliptical trainer is part of the basic equipment in fitness studios. Its structure is reminiscent of a bicycle home trainer.

How does the elliptical machine work?

The function can easily be derived from the appearance. The feet stand on the pedals and the hands grasp the existing bars. The feet set the elliptical trainer in motion through the running movement and the arms support the running with the movement of the bars.

Who can use an elliptical machine?

The elliptical trainer is suitable for all people who want to train the body with the help of the training device in order to stay fit and healthy. The movements are very easy on the joints and therefore the elliptical trainer is suitable for everyone.

Can I lose weight by working out on the elliptical machine?

“Yes”, because the elliptical trainer trains the entire body. The training engages many different muscle groups and boosts fat burning. This can result in weight loss that is further improved by a healthy diet.

How long should you train on the elliptical trainer?

The recommendation of experts is at least 25 minutes for each training session. From the first minute on, calories are consumed. However, the 25 minutes should not be exceeded if you want to build muscle.

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