What Is an Elliptical Trainer and How Helpful Is It for Weight Loss?

Published 01/28/2024, 4:45 AM EST

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In the ever-changing fitness landscape, with abounding innovations, there are only a few that have been widespread so far. However, if you dig deep into their perks, the results will surely get you astounded. One such innovation is the Elliptical trainer, which stands as a versatile and pretty much underestimated gem.

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These equipment are present in almost every gym these days and have become a major part when it comes to athletes pursuing perfection in health and weight management. But how exactly does it help one in losing weight? 

What does an Elliptical trainer do?


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Elliptical machines are simply built to give the after-effect of running to your body, without putting in too much effort on your joints. They are indeed a great way of burning calories. Your feet are planted on two footholds. Instead of giving a direct impact when your foot hits the ground while running, the machine provides you with a gliding motion to complete your warm-up.

Some Elliptical trainers have incorporated hand bars too. These give you a full-body workout since it involves the complete movement of your arms and legs. If you intend to challenge different muscle groups instead of the traditional ones, you also have the option to pedal in the opposite direction.


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However, if you are preparing for a future run, you can also cover up your workouts with the Elliptical machine. It benefits you by keeping your endurance intact, rather than draining you completely, while giving a good break to your joints. The impact on your body remains the same while ensuring that the chances of injuries are lower. Owing to this, Elliptical trainers have now become a mainstay because of the various benefits that they come with.

What are the benefits of the Elliptical trainers?

Elliptical machines come with several benefits. From having a low impact on your joints to being utterly low maintenance, here are some of the reasons why you should use them for your daily workouts:

  • Minor Impact on your legs:

Elliptical trainers through their Elliptical movements reduce the stress on your legs as compared to a regular workout session. Your legs are fixated on the pedals, which makes it feel like you are walking midair. While you only put in the effort of a simple walk on your body and joints, the results that follow are that of a good run.

  • Good source of weight-bearing exercise:

Weight-bearing exercises are a good alternative to incorporate in your workout regimes to inhibit the onset of osteoporosis. As compared to other mechanical equipment at the gym, like the stationary bicycle, Elliptical trainer machines are way better at providing you with the results of those workouts.

  • Involves complete body movement:

The Elliptical trainer machines involve the action of all muscle groups, formulating a workout that affects both the upper and lower body. This is also the reason why many refer to it as the cross-trainer machine. If put to use properly, it engages major muscle groups like quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps, and biceps.

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That being said the elliptical trainer is not without its disadvantages. Let us see what these are.

What are the disadvantages of Elliptical trainers?

While Elliptical trainers are considered to be great alternatives for a lot of cardiovascular forms of exercise, they are often associated with a lot of drawbacks. Mentioned below are a few that have been repeatedly spotted:

  • Lack of coordination

The motion in an Elliptical trainer involves moving both the arms and legs consecutively, which sometimes causes a stir in coordination. While it can be easily managed by trained athletes, beginners often face difficulty dealing with the movements. This makes the motion uncomfortable, leading them to stop abruptly, which can either hurt them or leave them feeling uncomfortable.

  • Limited scope

Despite the confusion in the movements, Elliptical trainers are adequate only when you are a beginner and your aim is just to lose weight. They are not suitable for high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT. It is always better to opt for manual workouts in that case, instead of spending time on this equipment.


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  • Burns lesser calorie

If you spend thirty minutes of your workout on an Elliptical trainer machine, you will only be able to burn around 335 calories, given you weigh 155 lbs. Though it may seem reasonable when compared to other mechanical alternatives like the stationary bike, once you compare them with intense training exercises, their benefits are slightly low.

Elliptical trainers undoubtedly have a significant impact on your transformation journey, especially when you are someone who wants to lose weight. However, at a gym, it is always better to stick with the manual workouts for better results, and the machines must only be used as a form of warm-up or a cool-down.


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What are your thoughts on the Elliptical trainers? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Written by:

Aheli Chakraborty


One take at a time

I am Aheli Chakraborty, someone who has spent her life in awe of the art and science of bodybuilding. My bodybuilding journey has been a fusion of dedication, sweat, and a relentless pursuit of strength. I've always strived to not only sculpt my body but also test its limits, chasing those elusive PRs.
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Edited by:

Abhishek Manikandan




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