Exercise Equipment Review

Elliptical Trainers Examined

A powerful competitor to the ever-popular treadmill, elliptical trainers have been on the market for more than ten years and continue to be one of the best-selling pieces of personal exercise equipment due to their ease of use and overall effectiveness. If you are looking to purchase one or several pieces of exercise equipment, the standard elliptical is definitely one you should consider.

Why Choose an Elliptical Trainer?

Whether you are using this piece of equipment in a public gym or in the comfort of your home, elliptical cross trainers are unique in that they offer a rigorous total body workout with a very low impact. Most exercises meant to rival the use of an elliptical by way of burning calories and increasing bone density are weight-bearing exercises, such as jogging, that have a high impact on the body and place an excess of unnecessary stress on your major joints and back.

An elliptical machine combines the effectiveness of weight bearing exercises, with a smooth impact free movement that is not only exponentially more effective in helping users tone and lose weight but is also much less damaging and fatiguing to legs and joints.

While early machines of this variety were not always capable of effectively raising the heart rate before the user's legs became fatigued, the inventors behind this product added upper body arms to the elliptical to provide stabilization and support. This then provided a weight-bearing exercise that was not only impact free, but also one that raised the heart rate higher than any other standard piece of exercise equipment.

One of the best features about using an elliptical trainer is that the user will see definite results. Recent studies have shown that among those trying to lose weight, those who used an elliptical for a certain period had higher energy expenditure than those using a treadmill or stationary bicycle for the same amount of time. The simple truth is that with these machines, even though you are getting a more beneficial workout, your body is less fatigued than it would be from the use of other exercise machines.

Five Important Features

If you're considering the purchase of an elliptical, most have five important features that greatly benefit the user, making them more capable of achieving their fitness and weight loss goals. Look for these features in the brands you are considering to make sure that you are getting a high quality machine.

Upper Body Motion

While many pieces of exercise equipment only provide a low body workout regimen, the elliptical trainer gives you the benefit of receiving a total body workout that burns a large number of calories without leaving you feeling drained and tired. When shopping, be sure to choose a model that incorporates upper body movement as well.

Adjustable Resistance

Most quality elliptical machines have an electronic or magnetic adjustable resistance feature that allows you to control the intensity of your weight-bearing workout. Avoid purchasing cheaper machines as changing the resistance on these machines results in a louder and less smooth range of motion.

Quiet Operation

Although those using an older model of an elliptical may experience issues with the amount of noise that the machine makes, those using newer, quality machines do not often find this to be an issue. If you are thinking about a purchase, consider some of the brands listed below as they tend to have 'quiet operation'.

Adjustable Pedals

Some elliptical trainers allow you to adjust the angle of the pedals on the machine so that you can target different muscle groups and body issues. This feature really allows you to get a more personalized and effective workout. If you want this feature on your machine, you may have to search a bit harder as not all brands offer it.

Warranty and Servicing

In most cases, when you purchase your elliptical trainer there will be a warranty and service package that comes with it. These packages ensure that your machine works properly for you and for the most part prevents you from having to pay for repairs if something goes wrong within a certain amount of time. The manufacturer is usually responsible for these repairs and the standard length of warranty on this type of item is roughly 12 months but can go up to three years, depending on the manufacturer. Be sure to read and understand what your warranty covers before making any agreements to purchase.

An elliptical trainer is an excellent choice of personal exercise equipment; however, it is important that you remember that not all machines are created equal. Remember the five important criteria while you are shopping and always keep in mind that if it is dirt cheap, then it is probably not a quality machine. If you are interested in finding out about a few quality brands, check out our recommended list of elliptical manufacturers below for more information and user reviews.

Technogym Cardio Wave
Its not exactly an eliptical trainer but as we move toward more hybrid types of equipment a new category will emerge. This one could replace an elliptical trainer.

Cybex Arc Trainer
It is basically a machine that is designed to move your lower body in an arc motion so that your toes never go behind your knees.

EL 3000i Elliptical Trainer
Will you be able to see your fitness levels increase with th included online analysis tool?

Lifespan EL 1000 Natural Fit Elliptical
The strengths of this machine are suppose to be the natural fit but does it live up to the name

Octane Fitness Q37e
The Q37e is not a European sports car but it does command top dollar

Precor 5.31 review
With nearly 15 years of experience, Precor is putting Ellipticals in the gyms as well as homes.

Audio Strider 990
NodicTracks ipod friendly addition to it's elliptical lineup

Vision Fitness x6100
Consumer Reports rated this as the best buy

SportsArt E83 Elliptical
SportsArt has a reputable name but is somewhat quietly advertised on the internet

Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer
Schwinn has been in business for a very long time. They have had a quality product since day one and has a name that is a force to be reckoned with.

Offers a great aerobic workout and is much more affordable than traditional elliptical trainers. Click for a full review.

Smooth Ellipticals
As value for money goes Smooth is hard to beat. They are respected for their quality equipment, customer service, and popular for their factory direct prices. Their warranties and servicing lead the industry...

Precor Ellipticals
Precor are about as "top of the range" as you can get. If you want the very best and money isn't an issue look no further...