Ellipticals versus Treadmills

Elliptical versus treadmill

The choice of an elliptical versus treadmill for cardio depends on personal preference, fitness goals, and any physical considerations. Both machines offer great cardiovascular workouts, but they have some differences:

    1. Impact on Joints: Ellipticals tend to be lower impact as they have pedals that support the feet and move in a gliding motion, causing less stress on the joints compared to running on a treadmill, which involves more impact.
    2. Calorie Burn: Both machines can provide effective calorie-burning workouts. The exact amount burned can vary based on the intensity and duration of the exercise, but generally, both are efficient.
    3. Variety of Workouts: Treadmills allow for running, walking, incline variations, and speed adjustments. Ellipticals offer forward and backward motion, different resistance levels, and often have handles to engage the upper body.
    4. Muscle Engagement: Ellipticals engage both upper and lower body muscles, while treadmills primarily focus on lower body muscles like the calves, thighs, and glutes.
    5. Accessibility: Some people find the elliptical motion to be more accessible, especially for those with joint issues or injuries.

Now lets add in a caveat. A treadmill with incline versus an Elliptical. Both a treadmill with an incline and an elliptical offer unique benefits and determining which is “better” depends on your fitness goals and personal preferences.

Treadmill with Incline:

Incline treadmill

  • Simulates outdoor terrain: Inclines simulate outdoor conditions like hills, which can help increase the intensity of your workout and engage different muscles.
  • Calorie burn: Working out on an inclined treadmill generally burns more calories compared to walking or running on a flat surface.
  • Specific muscle engagement: It targets different muscles, including the calves, hamstrings, and glutes, in addition to the cardiovascular benefits.

In terms of calorie burn, an inclined treadmill might have a slight edge due to the increased intensity it offers.


True Fitness XC400 Elliptical rear view

  • Low-impact workout: Ellipticals are easier on the joints compared to running or walking on a treadmill, making them suitable for individuals with joint issues or injuries.
  • Engages upper and lower body: Ellipticals engage both upper and lower body muscles simultaneously, offering a full-body workout.
  • Versatility: They often have adjustable resistance levels, allowing for varied intensity workouts.

If you’re looking to engage multiple muscle groups and have a full-body workout, an elliptical might be more suitable

Ultimately, the “better” option depends on your preferences, body condition, and fitness objectives. Some people prefer the more natural movement of a treadmill, while others appreciate the low-impact nature of an elliptical. Some people prefer the varied terrain simulation of an inclined treadmill, while others appreciate the low-impact, full-body workout of an elliptical. Mixing both can also add variety to your routine and help target different muscle groups.

It might be beneficial to try both and see which one feels more comfortable and enjoyable for you. Mixing both can also add variety to your workouts and engage different muscle groups.

Share this post