Since we posted about treadmill workout for beginners and experts, we have been receiving so many emails and queries from you guys regarding the difference between treadmill and elliptical trainer and how does it affect the weight loss. Well, everything you need to know is right below –

Difference between Elliptical Trainer and Treadmill

Calories Burnt in Elliptical Trainer vs Treadmill

You may doubt it, but the truth is there’s not a huge difference between the calories burnt by a cross trainer and treadmill. According to Harvard Medical School, a 155 lb person (70 kg) can burn around 670 calories in one hour on the elliptical trainer. On the other hand, the same person can burn 660 calories in an hour by running on a treadmill at a speed of 9 kph. See, not a big difference at all.

Workout Intensity in Elliptical Trainer vs Treadmill

Excessive cardio may just be a little tough on your joints. There are chances that too much of cardio be it jogging or running can damage your spine, knee and ankle joints over the years. Fortunately, there’s a way out it.

You may want to choose elliptical trainer (cross trainer) for low-intensity cardio routines as they are quite easy on your joints and enables you to exercise your upper and lower body at the same time. However, as we mentioned earlier, both treadmill and elliptical trainer burn an almost same number of calories in an hour.

Having said that, high-intensity cardio workouts can be done more efficiently on the treadmill than an elliptical trainer.


Benefits of Running on a Treadmill

  • Treadmills come with a variety of options including a low-speed walk to moderate speed brisk walks and even high-speed incline sprints. You can also choose between different training programs to find the one best for you.
  • Treadmills have been around for a long time. And of course, they have been well researched, optimized and customized with each new version.
  • Foldable treadmills are among the best options available for people who find it more comfortable to work out at their home instead of a gym. Not only this kind of treadmills save you a lot of bucks (which you would have otherwise paid for a gym), but they also occupy minimum floor space.
  • Several stand-apart training features like uphill training and rate settings make running on treadmill challenging.

Drawbacks of Running on a Treadmill

  • High-intensity treadmill workouts are certainly not meant for beginners. Propelling your body weight over incline or uphill setup can be unsafe and a sure way to injury. You need to master the basic moves before making your way towards the tougher ones.
  • As you all know, running on a treadmill puts a lot of stress on lower body joints specifically on knee and ankle joints. Skipping warm-ups and dynamic stretching before a running session will make your problems even worse. Although the use of technology in the production of these high shock absorbing treadmills is better than ever, the dreadful impact on joints is still at large.
  • There’s no doubt that we all love to see how hard we are working out whether it is regarding heart rate or calories burnt. And the treadmill does the exact same thing. But there’s a little catch. You need to hold on the treadmill handles to know your heart rate and that is quite discomfited and unmanageable while running at high speed.

Benefits of Working Out on an Elliptical Trainer

  • One of the main advantages of training on an elliptical trainer is that it can help you cease the taxing impact on your joints produced while running on a treadmill. It simply allows your body to imitate a running motion rather doing it in real. Moreover, the upright position in elliptical trainer ensures minimum strain on the lower back which you may experience while running on a treadmill.
  • Well, certain types of elliptical trainers come with a movable handle which allows you to work on your arms and legs at the same time. Moreover, many elliptical trainers can be pedaled in reverse, thereby allowing you to hit your calves and hamstrings.
  • This study shows that while operating on an elliptical trainer, people are working harder than they actually perceive which is, in fact, one of the major difference between full body elliptical trainer v/s lower body treadmill workout.
    Simply put, the elliptical training is more effortless and less intense, even though a person is actually burning the same amount of calories as he would while running on a treadmill.
  • This lower rate of perceived exertion makes your workout easy and when you can achieve something easily, you tend to stay motivated.

Drawbacks of Working Out on an Elliptical Trainer

  • Although elliptical trainers provide safety for joints, they take away much of the essential “weight-bearing” effect which is quite helpful for strengthening bones and muscles for aged people. Remember what we mentioned in the earlier section of the article regarding propelling your bodyweight while jogging on a treadmill. This propelling action actually increases the weight-bearing effect and hence lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Unlike treadmills, you don’t have many adjustments to choose from in an elliptical trainer. Even if they are equipped with such variety of adjustments, they are just not as effective as its counterpart treadmill.

The Final Word

When everything is said and done, the choice between elliptical trainer and treadmill is quite easy, and it largely depends on an individual’s fitness goals.

An elliptical trainer is best suited for people who just want to burn as many calories as they can with minimum effort (remember: lower rate of perceived exertion in elliptical trainers). On the contrary, running on a treadmill requires serious effort.

Treadmill workouts are beneficial in terms of improving speed and endurance while elliptical workouts are less intense and easy on your knees. The choice is yours.

Also published on Medium.

Tags : Elliptical trainer benefitsElliptical V/S TreadmillTreadmill benefits
MFF Terminator

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