Elliptical Buying Guide
An elliptical machine provides a total body workout while allowing you to target more muscle groups than traditional exercises. Its fluid, non-pounding motion minimizes impact on joint areas, including the knees, hips and back.
How Does An Elliptical Trainer Work?
- Elliptical trainers are driven primarily by the legs as the feet move back and forth in an elliptical motion
- Most models are dual action, which means that they have handlebars attached to each pedal link, to work both upper and lower body at the same time
- Elliptical trainers use a resistance mechanism and the force required to move the foot pedals and handlebars to determine the intensity of the workout
- The resistance is generated by either a magnetic or electromagnetic brake system and a flywheel which spins within the magnetic field; the closer the magnets are to the flywheel, the greater the resistance
- The more powerful the magnetic field, the more resistance to the foot pedals and handlebars
What To Consider When Buying An Elliptical Trainer
Who will be using the elliptical trainer and how often?
- If intended for a single user, a lower-end machine could be most satisfactory
- If there will be frequent multiple users, consider a heavier flywheel and larger brake
What is your fitness level?
- If starting on a fitness program, basic features and simple controls are a great way to begin
- If you have a high fitness level, consider an elliptical with a heavier flywheel, larger brake and a variety of preset and custom programs for a broader fitness program
How much do you want to spend?
By spending more, you may get :
- A heavier, smoother and more durable flywheel
- A greater range of resistance
- A longer stride length
- More programs
- A longer warranty
How will you use the elliptical?
- For simple fitness or recreational use, a basic model will offer adequate features and durability
- For a more rigorous, regular workout plan, select a model with club-level features and durability
Is space a concern?
- Front-drive models take up less floor space
- Rear-drive models require less overhead space
Elliptical Trainer Anatomy
- Frame Design - Ellipticals are either front drive (flywheel at the front) or rear drive (flywheel at the back)
- Under the Shroud - The flywheel and drive belt determine how smooth the elliptical motion feels The heavier the flywheel, the smoother and quieter the machine performs A magnetic brake provides frictionless resistance, which makes it very quiet and durable since there is no contact between the flywheel and the brake
- Stride Length - The stride length is the distance the pedals travel in the elliptical motion. Longer stride length generally offers better range of motion. Stride should mimic the feel of walking or jogging, without the impact. Stride length ranges from 12 to 20" so try several models to see which best suits you. Some models offer variable stride length. The taller you are, the longer stride length you will usually need
- Pedals - Look for pedals that are placed closely together to mimic natural walking or jogging. Pivoting pedals support the natural movement of the foot
- Electronic Controls - Range from feedback like time elapsed, speed, distance, calories burned, pulse and more, to programming selections
Ellipticals feature a frame-brake-parts-labour warranty
Frame: Entire metal structure of the elliptical
Brake: Separate warranty coverage as it appears in Owner's Manual
Parts: All parts of the elliptical excluding frame and brake
Labour: The cost of in-home repair
Always consult a physician before starting any exercise program