Elliptical vs. Treadmill

Elliptical Trainers

Elliptical vs Treadmill

Both an elliptical and a treadmill can be used indoors to boost your cardio workout. While there are a lot of similarities between them, there are some key differences. 

This makes each one of them more suitable for different workout goals.

Which one should you use if you are looking to improve your muscle tone or lose weight? Which to use to minimize injuries? What are the benefits of each, and why should you use them?

This is what we will help you figure out through this article so stick around.

Treadmills 

Everyone knows how to use a treadmill. You simply walk or run on the moving platform, with the options to adjust the incline and speed. But how does that benefit you?

Why Do you need to use a treadmill?

1. Race training 

 If you are looking to improve your running form, treadmills are the way to go.

They help you strengthen your bones and muscles, especially your legs. This is because while using a treadmill, you are bearing the weight of your entire body on your legs.

The treadmill targets your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, abs, and heart muscles.

2. To warm up before other exercises 

It feels natural to use a treadmill. We all walk or run every day. This is why it only takes a few seconds to adapt to the moving belt of the treadmill. 

A few minutes on the treadmill will make you feel active and get you ready for the following exercise, and it doesn’t require any skills. 

3. Versatility and control

Unlike ellipticals, treadmills possess a variety of speed and incline controls. They allow you to choose a training program that serves your goal. For example, it can be used as a part of rehabilitation programs – of course, under supervision – you can use it to stay fit or to relieve stress as well. 

4. Health improvement 

 It’s no secret that using a treadmill helps your circulation, improves your heart functions, and increases your lung activity as well as oxygen capacity. 

5. Fat blasting workouts

We all know that using a treadmill could be an essential corner in your weight loss program. If you run at 8 mph for 20 or 30 minutes, you burn around 350 calories. Treadmills are the best to slim down and get rid of extra fat. 

6. Not affected by the weather

Who doesn’t enjoy a run outside? You get to breathe some fresh air while doing your routine exercise, and you can choose different parts of town to run through.

However, a lot of times, the weather makes it difficult to keep practicing regularly. This is why using a treadmill is a more effective way to keep up with your routine or your training program. 

Now that we have gone through a list of reasons why you should consider using a treadmill, let’s take a look at some of the downsides in addition to some situations where using a treadmill could be more harmful than useful. 

Disadvantages of using a treadmill

1. Safety

Injuries are more common when using a treadmill in comparison to using an elliptical. Incline sprints can be very dangerous, especially if you are not qualified for such exercises. Most of the injuries are shin splints, knee injuries, and stress fractures as well. 

 Tips : 

– To reduce the risk of injuries, try to start your training with a simple warm-up.

– If you are someone who doesn’t have an issue running outside but feels a little dizzy while using the treadmill, it’s better to consider using lower speeds or switching to other cardio workouts that are less stressful to your body like riding a bike or swimming.

 2. Targets fewer muscles 

As mentioned above, treadmills focus more on your lower body parts.

This is not the case when it comes to ellipticals because they allow you to engage most of your body’s muscles. Add to this the fact that unlike treadmills, ellipticals can help you focus on isolated body parts. 

3. Avoid using the treadmill in the following situations:

  • If you have had recent heart surgery or you are suffering from severe cardiac conditions. 
  • If you are someone who has been experiencing back pain, recent falls, and joint or bone injury in addition to plantar fasciitis. 

Ellipticals 

With ellipticals, you put your feet on the pedals and move in an ellipse or an elongated circle.

Why use an elliptical?

1. Full-body workout

While using an elliptical, you are engaging your upper as well as your lower body parts. You can pedal backward and thus approach the lower muscles differently. 

2. It is best if you have an injury 

Ellipticals are low-impact machines; they are more gentle on your joints and don’t aggravate your injuries. You can use ellipticals if you are suffering from low-back pain, hip or knee pain, as well as other medical conditions like osteoporosis.

3. More pocket-friendly 

It is safe to say that ellipticals are generally less expensive than treadmills. If you want to start your home gym, it’s probably a smart idea to get an elliptical and invest the rest of your money in getting another piece of equipment. Though if you can find a used treadmill or elliptical, it’s common to find deep discounts as people are sometimes happy to clear the space.

Disadvantages of using an elliptical

1. Less muscle development and bone strengthening

This is because they have a less weight-bearing effect. True, this is an advantage in case of an injured joint; however, if you are looking to build stronger muscles and strengthen your bones, then a treadmill is the way to go.

2. They are not dynamic

You can’t increase resistance while using ellipticals. However, you can do so with a treadmill by increasing the incline degree.

Conclusion

To sum it up, treadmills are best for race training and tracking your progress, burning more calories, and strengthening your legs. They should be avoided in case of injuries, and they are not as safe as ellipticals.

On the other hand, ellipticals are safe to use if you have previous injuries and are typically more affordable than treadmills. However, they are less dynamic and don’t help as much with developing your muscles. I hope you found this article useful and it is now clear which is better for your needs!