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Treadmill or Elliptical??

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning' started by TroopSarge, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Here is my situation...I run 5 to 7 miles a day, 4 days a week, on pavement. Recently, an old injury has been giving me foot/ankle pain, and my doctor has advised a lower-impact form of aerobic exercise. He specifically mentioned either running on a treadmill or using an elliptical machine. I was wondering if anyone here has experience with both types of machines, and if so, which do they prefer...especially with respect to effectiveness of the aerobic workout. Thanks in advance for any and all help.

  2. Glockgirl26


    Aug 30, 2004
    I used to use a treadmill, lately I've switched to the elliptical machine for my cardio. It is a smoother motion, doesn't jar the knees and ankles nearly as much. Plus, I can turn up the resistance for a better workout. I use one of those that works out your upper body too, so it's a good aerobic exercise.

    I do not own one, I use the equipment at the gym where I have a membership, so if you are looking to buy I can't help much there.

  3. Glockgirl26,
    Thanks for the reply. Yes, I am lookiing to buy a machine. I have a fairly extensive home gym going now, and I'd like to add to it. Do you feel like the aerobic benefit is more intense with the elliptical machine, if it was used for an equal amount of time as a treadmill? Thanks in advance.

  4. Glockgirl26


    Aug 30, 2004
    Sarge, yes I do feel like the workout is more intense with the elliptical machine, this was another reason to switch IMO. For me, it is a more physical workout, yet easier on the joints, joint pain is a major concern for me. I've been slowly working up the resistance level as my endurance gets better.
  5. Glockgirl26,

    Thanks again for the reply. I really appreciate the help. I am going out this weekend to check out and price some elliptical machines.

  6. kestrou

    kestrou Pin Member #4

    Jul 3, 2000
    In The Pocket

    I'll echo GG26 that the elliptical is a better aerobic workout, but one quick question before you lay your money down: is pure cardio your goal, or do you occasionally want to run a race? The elliptical is obviously not the best method if you like to do an occasional 5K, 10K, marathon, etc.

    Food for thought, buddy! ;f

  7. Kestrou,

    Thanks also to you for the reply. No, I do not ever run any races. I am just looking to continue my aerobic workouts, to complement my lifting routine.

  8. TxDoc


    Jul 31, 2005
    At the gym, I use a Precor efx556i and at home and office, I have a KeysFitness (that I got at Cardiomax 705 . I can use it at noon or after work on days when I know the gym is going to be right after Jan 1 with new year's resolutions and right before Summer with those who are going to lose 80 pounds so they will look good at the lake, lol.

    I like the ellipiticals better than treadmills for four reasons:

    1-you can go forward or in reverse. Turn up the resistance and your stride count and go as far as you can. Then stop and go in reverse. Different muscles are worked in the opposite direction that a treadmill does not hit. It is like doing regular bicep curls and when fatigued, you can still do hammer curls as your brachioradialis is not fatigued.

    2-you can turn up the resistance and increase your leg strength and endurance.

    3-you work your arms, shoulders, back and chest, whereas the treadmill does not require this activity. You get more muscle groups recruited and burn more calories.

    4-you do not have the impact, as noted above, upon your joints. The motion is more like treading water as it is smooth and uses more muscles.

    If you have a TV close by, that helps a great deal, too. You can have a ralatively controlled climate with your elliptical indoors that you do not get with running or cycling outdoors. I hate to ride in a crosswind.
    Good luck on your workout.
  9. jacquejet


    Oct 18, 2004
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I travel a lot and use the equipment available at hotels and YMCA's around the country. Over the past couple of years, my ankles have expressed a preference for ellipticals. The ones made by Precor seem to have one of the smoother motions. I like the ones that have a heart rate function built in, not one that uses fixed contacts, but receive signals from Polar X-mitters. I have a Polar that I use with my home rowing machine (Concept 2). If you have some flexibility in your decision about type of machine, you might give a look at the Concept rower. The motion is smoother than an elliptical, works the entire body, doesn't need a power source (except for a D-cell battery) and you'll never wear it out.
  10. tag

    tag Secret Member

    Apr 18, 2001
    Middle TN
    I bought a NordicTrac Elliptical about 16 months ago and couldn't be more pleased. That machine, combined with a BowFlex (don't laugh) helped me to lose 50 lbs.
  11. Zombie Defense

    Zombie Defense Pow pow

    Jul 21, 2002

    Some women retain weight after giving birth. I'm sure you'll lose more in time.
  12. 45acp4me

    45acp4me Pissed puppet

    May 11, 2001
    Farmington, MI
  13. tag

    tag Secret Member

    Apr 18, 2001
    Middle TN
    Poor, poor Shane. So sad.

    BTW, your inbox is full.....
  14. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

    My back wont stand for too much treadmill time, but I can pretty much go to exhaustion on the eliptical. I think the treadmill is probably better overall exercise cause it works an actual motion that you use in life, but building cardiac fitness or for burining calories it works well without putting a lot of mileage on your joints.
  15. RENEA

    RENEA Black Rifle guy

    Mar 9, 2005
    I own an elliptical and use it 6 days a week when I'm home wathcing TV. I put on a sweatshirt and pants and use it 45 mins. Not only does it burn a ton of calories but you do get a total body workout (as opposed to sitting on the couch) but it does , like you say, go easy on the joints.;c
  16. B_Easy


    Oct 17, 2005
    Precor makes the smallest elliptical I've seen, but I don't like the angle much.

    Ellipticals are way more expensive than treadmills, but much better for you.