For nearly 3 decades, people have been reaping the health benefits of elliptical machines.

Ellipticals have surpassed the treadmill as the most popular cardio machine in gyms and health clubs. It wasn’t long before they started to compete with the exercise bike and rowing machine as the most popular cardio machine for our homes.

7 Best Elliptical Machine Benefits

But what is it that makes these machines so popular? Why have they become the go-to cardio choice of millions?

Hopefully, you’ll understand just why once you’ve read all the elliptical machine benefits in this article. We’ll explain all the advantages of using an elliptical machine for your cardio workouts, from weight loss to muscle toning.

woman exercising on an elliptical in her front room of house

1. Calorie Burn

Exercising on your elliptical is one of the most effective ways to burn calories. There’s a ton of research carried out on how many calories we can burn on an elliptical, and one of those studies was done by  Harvard Health.

According to Harvard Health, you can burn up to 400 calories in 30 minutes. That’s an impressive amount. Still, the amount of calories burned depends on your body weight. To burn 400 calories in 30 minutes, you’d need a bodyWeight of 180llb.

A heavier body will always burn more calories as it requires more energy and calories to perform the same movement.

125lb person will burn 270 calories in 30 minutes

155 – 335

185 –  400

The workout intensity also plays a huge part in how many calories you’ll burn per elliptical session. Intense workouts burn the most calories, while light workouts burn the least.

Let’s say you workout at a medium intensity 3 times a week for 30 minutes, and you weigh 155lb. Your average calorie burn for the week would be around 1000  calories.

2. Low Impact – Protect Your Knees

One considerable advantage of using an elliptical machine is that it is a low-impact form of exercise. This is mainly due to your feet not making contact with the ground. You are basically walking in mid-air.

The elliptical trainer is an excellent alternative to high-impact running on a treadmill where the user’s lower joints can impact up to 2.5x their own body weight.

However, it’s important when exercising on an elliptical to maintain a good posture to help ensure the most effective workout.

Keep your head up, shoulders back, and your core muscles tight. Try to keep looking forward and not down at your feet. And don’t lean on the handles. Let your lower body support your weight.

woman selecting resistance levels on schwinn 430 elliptical

3. Full-Body Work

The treadmill and the exercise bike can not offer you a full-body workout, and it’s one of the main reasons the elliptical has become so popular as this impressive machine works your lower and upper body at the same time.

You’ll tone and strengthen your muscles in your upper and lower body when exercising on an elliptical trainer, as well as burning more calories thanks to increased muscle activation.

Let’s take a quick look at what muscles are worked.

  • Glutes and hamstrings where you are reverse pedaling
  • Quads when you are front pedaling
  • Biceps and lats when you are pulling the handles
  • Triceps and pecs when you are pushing the handles
  • Core – Skipping the handles altogether gives you a chance to focus on your core. Just place your hands on your hips and keep the movement as smooth and steady as possible.

4. Versatile

Good elliptical trainers are equipped with monitors that include a variety of workout programs. You can choose from hill climbs, gentle walks to intense calorie-burning workouts.

Some ellipticals come with HD screens that let you exercise while viewing different locations all over the world. Some elliptical machines can self-adjust the resistance according to the terrains.

And certain fitness apps allow you to hook up with your friends so you can race against each other and anyone else who is using the app.

Most ellipticals include heart rate monitoring, a useful feature that allows users to work out in their chosen heart rate zone.

5. Low Maintenance

When you buy a treadmill, one of the drawbacks is maintenance. It has more moving parts than an elliptical, so things like bearings, motors, and the belt need regular lubrication and maintenance. And they often have to be sent back, which can be a huge hassle.

An elliptical is less likely to require regular serves and far less likely to break down. It has fewer moving parts and, in general, is more reliable than a treadmill.

6. Increase Your Aerobic Capacity

Training on an elliptical machine is a form of aerobic exercise every time you set foot on the elliptical trainer. It will increase the amount of oxygen your body can process. In no time at all, you will start to notice an increase in stamina and endurance.

7. Easy To Use

One of the reasons why a lot of people like using an elliptical machine is because they are so easy to use. Just hop on the machine, press a few buttons, and away you go.

Elliptical are one of the only machines that can offer a full-body workout so there’s no need to set up intense exercise routines and circuits training its all there just one simple exercise. Easy to use machine, and the exercise itself is just as easy.

Tips For Getting the Most From Your Workouts

And lastly, here are some tips from NordicTrack to get the most of each of your elliptical sessions.

To make your workouts even more effective, you need to follow these 3 simple steps while training on your elliptical.

  1. Step backward on the elliptical from time to time, thus working your muscles in a different way
  2. Give your calves an extra workout by stepping on the tips of your toes
  3. Don’t lean on the elliptical’s fixed handlebars: this bends your back, and you won’t be working your abs

And there’s one more thing the guys at NordicTrack recommend especially if you want to work your abdominals and thighs extra hard, and that’s to “step with your knees bent slightly outwards. This is a somewhat unique way of training; you may want first to practice this while a training partner watches, as it’s not the easiest movement to master, but it will prove very effective.”