Is Elliptical or Treadmill Better for Weight Loss? Which is More Effective?




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Deciding between an elliptical and a treadmill can be tough when you’re focused on weight loss. It’s important to know that both machines can ignite calorie burning and help you shed pounds.

This article breaks down the benefits, drawbacks, and effectiveness of each machine to guide your decision-making process. Keep reading; we’ve got the insight you need for your fitness journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Treadmills burn more calories per hour for a 155-pound person than ellipticals. A treadmill burns about 590 calories while an elliptical burns around 540.
  • Ellipticals offer a full – body workout, involving your arms, legs, and core. They are low impact and better for people with joint pain or arthritis.
  • Treadmills can be better for improving running endurance and speed but may not be suitable for everyone due to high impact on joints.
  • Space is important when choosing equipment; treadmills usually take up more space but some models fold up. Ellipticals are shorter but need room for their moving handlebars.
  • Consistency in using whichever machine you choose is crucial to losing weight. Pick the one you will enjoy using regularly to stay motivated.

Understanding Treadmills

A person jogging on a treadmill in a modern gym.

When looking at the treadmill, we’re delving into a classic cardio machine that’s become a staple in gyms and homes worldwide. Renowned for its straightforward design, the treadmill offers a familiar and effective way to ramp up your heart rate and chase those weight loss goals head-on.

Treadmill Benefits

Treadmills are great for cardio workouts and can really help you track your progress. They show how far you’ve run or walked, which is motivating. You can use them to get better at running without leaving your house.

Treadmills focus on leg muscles, making them stronger with each step. They’re good options if you don’t have much room because some models fold up.

Using a treadmill can also boost your heart health. It pumps up your heartbeat and keeps blood flowing smoothly. Running on a treadmill might even make you feel happier since it releases feel-good chemicals in the brain.

Plus, they’re simple to use; just hop on and start walking or running!

Potential Drawbacks of Treadmills

Treadmill workouts focus on your legs and lower body. This means you might not get a whole-body workout like you would with other machines. If you use treadmills often, be careful of joint pain.

Running can hit your knees, hips, and ankles hard. People with bone or joint problems should think twice before using treadmills too much.

Safety can also be an issue on treadmills. You could trip or fall if you’re not careful. Bad posture is another problem to watch out for while running on a treadmill. Make sure to keep your back straight and don’t slouch! Next up, let’s take a closer look at elliptical trainers and see how they stack up against treadmills.

Understanding Ellipticals

A person exercising on an elliptical machine in a modern gym.

Elliptical machines glide into the fitness conversation with a whisper-quiet motion, promising a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on the joints yet effective for burning calories.

They’re an intriguing choice for those seeking a cardiovascular workout that also includes an upper body engagement—a dynamic duo of full-body fitness potential.

Elliptical Benefits

Elliptical machines offer a low-impact exercise that’s gentle on your joints. They’re ideal for anyone dealing with knee, hip, or back pain. These cross trainers do more than save your joints from stress; they engage multiple muscle groups all at once.

Imagine working out your arms, legs, and core during the same exercise – that’s what an elliptical machine does. It provides a full body workout without the harsh impact of running.

Another big plus is calorie burn. Hop on an elliptical and you could torch approximately 324 calories in just half an hour – if you weigh around 155 pounds. This makes ellipticals efficient tools for fat loss and cardiovascular workouts.

Their smooth gliding motion keeps up your stamina without wearing down your body, making it a smart choice for long-term physical fitness goals.

Potential Drawbacks of Ellipticals

Ellipticals are gentler on your joints, but this low-impact exercise may not strengthen your bones as much as running does. Your body misses out on the bone-building that comes from the high impact of hitting the treadmill.

Also, ellipticals might not mimic natural walking or running movements perfectly. This could mean you’re not preparing your body for everyday activities outside of your workout routine.

Using an elliptical can feel strange at first if you’re new to it. The motion is different and takes some getting used to. They may also limit how you vary your workouts compared to treadmills.

You might find fewer ways to change up what muscles you’re working and how intense the exercise is.

Treadmill vs Elliptical: Muscle Groups Targeted

Treadmills are great for runners focusing on their legs and lower body. As you walk, jog, or run, your thighs, calves, glutes, and feet work hard with each step. This type of exercise is weight-bearing which can strengthen bones as well as muscles.

But treadmills mainly leave out the upper body.

Ellipticals offer a different workout by involving more muscle groups. They come with handlebars that move back and forth. This motion lets you engage your chest, back, shoulders, and arms along with your legs.

It’s like getting a full-body workout in one go! Plus, ellipticals have a low joint impact which makes them ideal for people with joint issues or chronic pain.

Next up we’ll see how these machines stack up when it comes to burning calories.

Comparing Calorie Burn: Treadmill vs Elliptical

Shifting focus from muscle engagement to energy expenditure, let’s compare the calorie burn offered by treadmills and ellipticals. These fitness staples are often pitted against each other in the quest for optimal weight loss results, and a key factor in this rivalry is their calorie-burning abilities.

Here’s a straightforward comparison in HTML Table format, highlighting the potential calorie burn differences:

Exercise MachineCalories Burned per Hour (155-pound person)
Treadmill (6mph)590

This table showcases that a 155-pound person jogging on a treadmill at a speed of 6 mph can burn approximately 590 calories per hour. In contrast, the same individual might burn around 540 calories per hour on an elliptical. Personal intensity levels and resistance settings on the elliptical can influence this figure, just as the incline and speed settings can alter the burn on a treadmill.

Remember, the key is consistency and maintaining a heart rate that elevates energy expenditure. Whether gliding on an elliptical or pacing on a treadmill, the one that keeps you motivated and active is the true winner in your weight loss journey.

Is Elliptical or Treadmill Better for Weight Loss? Which is More Effective?

Ellipticals and treadmills are both great for losing weight. You can burn a lot of calories using either machine. Treadmills may have the edge if you’re doing high-intensity interval training or running at a steady pace.

They get your heart rate up quickly, which helps melt away pounds.

Yet, ellipticals should not be overlooked—they provide a full-body workout. They target more muscle groups than treadmills do. This can increase overall calorie burn because you’re engaging your upper body too.

Plus, they’re easier on your joints, making them a good choice if you have back pain or arthritis. With an elliptical, you can still lose weight effectively without putting too much strain on your body.

Size Considerations: Treadmill vs Elliptical

Treadmills often take up more space than ellipticals. They have a long deck for walking or running and sometimes are foldable to save room when not in use. Still, they need enough room to be safe for stepping on and off.

Ellipticals are usually shorter but might be wider due to their handlebars. They also require some clearance around them for the moving parts.

Before deciding, measure your space carefully. Think about where you will put the machine and how much floor area it needs. Check if there’s enough ceiling height too — especially important with an elliptical that adds height as you step onto it.

Remember doorways and hallways; you must get the equipment into your workout spot!

Choosing Between an Elliptical and a Treadmill: Factors to Consider

Space isn’t the only thing to think about when picking your workout machine. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing between an elliptical and a treadmill:

  • Your fitness goals matter. If you want to improve your running speed or endurance, treadmills are great. They let you practice walking, jogging, or running. Ellipticals are good for low-impact exercise and might be better if you’re just starting out or have joint issues.
  • Think about your joints. Treadmills can be hard on your knees and hips since you’re hitting the ground with each step. Ellipticals are softer on joints because your feet never leave the pedals.
  • Consider muscle work. Treadmills work well for leg strengthening and can give a good lower body workout with incline settings. On an elliptical, you can target more muscles like arms, shoulders, and back by using the handlebars.
  • Look at calorie burn. Both machines can help you burn calories effectively. But high-intensity workouts on a treadmill might burn more calories compared to an elliptical.
  • Factor in boredom levels. Some people get bored on an elliptical because it has less variety than a treadmill, which offers changing speeds and inclines.
  • Pay attention to safety concerns. If balance is a problem for you, an elliptical may be safer because it has handrails and a steady footpath compared to the moving belt of a treadmill.
  • Think about bone health. Weight – bearing exercises like walking or running on a treadmill help strengthen bones as well as muscles, which is important especially for older adults or people at risk of osteoporosis.
  • Weigh in the intensity option. For those into high intensity interval training (HIIT), treadmills allow quick changes in speed and incline that can challenge even seasoned athletes.

Top Treadmill Models

9. Top Treadmill Models: Discover the leading treadmill options on the market, meticulously engineered for durability and performance to elevate your weight loss journey—dive in to find your perfect fitness partner.

Sole F63

The Sole F63 stands out as a leading choice for individuals aiming to shed pounds and improve fitness. It’s designed to cater to both beginners and seasoned exercisers with its user-friendly interface.

A 155-pound person can burn an estimated 288 calories in just 30 minutes of running on this treadmill, making it an efficient tool for weight loss.

This full-sized machine covers roughly six feet in length, comparable to that of a standard elliptical. Regular workouts on the Sole F63 have shown positive results for those committed to their weight loss journey.

Its versatility allows users to mix up their routines, preventing exercise boredom and encouraging long-term use.

NordicTrack Commercial 2450

Moving from the Sole F63 to the next model, let’s talk about the NordicTrack Commercial 2450. This treadmill steps up the game for those on a weight loss journey. It’s packed with features that make workouts varied and enjoyable.

You can walk, jog or run on a spacious deck that gives you plenty of room to move.

The Commercial 2450 shines with its interactive capabilities. It comes with a touchscreen that lets users track their fitness milestones easily. For those who love to push their limits, it offers an array of workout intensities which can be tailored to any fitness goal.

Busy homes will appreciate how this treadmill folds away—saving space without sacrificing quality or performance. Its durability makes it a popular choice for anyone serious about dropping pounds and improving health.

Top Elliptical Models

10. Top Elliptical Models: Dive into our detailed reviews of leading ellipticals like the Nordictrack FS10i and Sole E95, discovering their unique features that could elevate your home workouts to new heights.

Nordictrack FS10i

The NordicTrack FS10i stands out as a stellar elliptical model. It’s designed to give users an immersive workout experience with features that cater to different fitness levels. This machine boasts adjustable resistance and incline settings, making it versatile for everyone from beginners to advanced athletes.

The stride is smooth and the handlebars offer an upper body workout option, ensuring you engage multiple muscle groups during each session.

Users love the NordicTrack FS10i for its interactive training sessions provided through a built-in screen. You can travel the world virtually while breaking a sweat or join high-intensity classes that get your heart pumping.

Plus, it’s known for being gentle on joints while still offering a challenging workout – perfect for those wanting low-impact exercise options that aid weight loss without straining their bodies.

Sole E95

Sole E95 stands out as a top elliptical model for those wanting to shed pounds without strain on their joints. Its smooth gliding motion makes it easy on the knees and hips, so you can focus more on working out and less on pain.

This machine not only helps with weight loss but also caters to anyone needing a lower-impact exercise option.

This elliptical invites more muscles to the party compared to treadmills, giving users a full-body workout. Fold it up after your session, and it tucks away neatly—ideal for tight spaces.

Burn an impressive 324 calories in just half an hour! The Sole E95 is perfect if you’re looking for effective cardio that respects your body’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dive into our Frequently Asked Questions section where we tackle your most pressing curiosities about these cardio machines, shedding light on how they measure up in sculpting your physique and amplifying your fitness routine—discover more insights below!

Which machine is better for toning your stomach, the elliptical or the treadmill?

If you want to tone your stomach, the elliptical might be your best bet. It works more muscle groups than just the lower body. You engage your core along with your chest, back, and arms when using an elliptical.

This full-body movement can help strengthen and tone those stomach muscles. On a treadmill, you’re mainly targeting legs and glutes with walking or running motions.

Ellipticals offer a low-impact workout too. They are kinder on your joints while still allowing you to work that core effectively. If you’re aiming for defined abs and a stronger midsection, mix up high-resistance sessions on the elliptical with some strength training exercises like planks or squats for even better results.

Is the treadmill or the elliptical a full body workout?

The treadmill works mainly your legs and lower body. It’s like walking or running outside, but you’re indoors. Elliptical machines do more; they get your whole body moving. Your arms, chest, back, and core muscles all pitch in while using an elliptical.

This means it can be called a full-body workout.

Ellipticals are gentle on the joints too. They’re good for people who want to avoid high impact from running on a treadmill. Since ellipticals engage more muscles at once, you might even use up more energy during your workout! Next up: Size matters when choosing between these two machines.


When choosing between an elliptical and a treadmill for weight loss, think about your specific needs. Consider which muscles you want to focus on and how much space you have. Remember, both machines can help you burn calories.

Consistency is key – choose the one you’ll enjoy using regularly! Enjoy your workouts and watch as your fitness journey unfolds.

For a more in-depth look at which machine can help you reach your weight loss goals, check out our detailed comparison of treadmills and ellipticals.


1. Which is better for weight loss, elliptical or treadmill?

When it comes to shedding pounds, both the elliptical and treadmill are great for burning calories. However, treadmills can boost your metabolic rate more because they often allow high-intensity training.

2. Can using an elliptical help with bone strengthening?

Absolutely! An elliptical offers a low-impact cardio exercise that’s kinder on your joints, and it also gives you some bone-strengthening benefits as you push against resistance.

3. Will I burn more calories on a treadmill or an elliptical?

Typically, running on a treadmill can burn more calories than working out on an elliptical because it’s higher impact—especially if you ramp up the speed or incline.

4. Is there less impact on my joints with an elliptical compared to a treadmill?

Yes indeed! An elliptical reduces stress and strain on your legs by providing a smooth motion that’s easier on your joints than the pounding when running outdoors or on a treadmill.

5. Do dietitians recommend one machine over the other for overweight individuals?

Most registered dietitians agree—it’s all about engaging in regular physical activity regardless of the equipment used while maintaining a balanced diet for effective weight-loss results.

6. If I have lower back pain, which machine should I use?

For those dealing with lower back pain, sticking to an exercise bike might be beneficial; however, many find that exercising at moderate intensity on an elliptical minimizes discomfort too.

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