Treadmill or Elliptical: Which One Should You Buy?

Treadmill or elliptical; which one should you buy? It’s not a surprising question because these two fitness machines are top-rated for aerobic workouts. Both of them mimic natural motions and allow you to lose some extra fat.

A treadmill lets you walk, jog and run on a rotating belt. You can change the speed or incline whenever you need. On the contrary, an elliptical move in elongated circles, or you can call them eclipses. These two machines are similar in terms of fitness results, but they are different on some points.

Hence, declaring one of them is not simple. However, you can make a choice depending upon your fitness levels, goals, and other requirements. So, let’s talk about the benefits and disadvantages of a treadmill and elliptical. Then, you can quickly determine which one of them is better for your workout schedule.

Treadmill or Elliptical: Which Cardio Machine is Better?


Benefits of a Treadmill


Benefits of a Treadmill

  • Multiple controls: One of the primary advantages of a treadmill is its versatility. Whether you want to walk, jog, or run, this machine has the option to cater. You can perform all these activities at your preferred speed and incline.
  • Builds overall strength: Walking, jogging, or running on a treadmill strengthens your lower body, including calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It also works on your glutes and hip flexors and makes them strong. An elliptical makes similar impacts, but a treadmill offers better results in less time.

You might also be interested in Best Treadmill with TV Screen 2021

Disadvantages of a Treadmill


  • Can be painful: Running on a treadmill has more impacts on your bones and joints than exercising in an elliptical. Hence, working out on a treadmill can lead to injuries if you are not following the guidelines. The typical troubles are stress fractures, knee pain, and shin splints.
  • Strengthens fewer muscles: A treadmill works on your lower body parts, especially the glutes, hip flexors, and other leg muscles. But, it does not target any of the muscles from your upper body. On the contrary, the elliptical trainers strengthen your lower body muscles and also work on the chest, back, shoulders and arms.

Benefits of an Elliptical


Benefits of an Elliptical

  • Low impacts: An elliptical trainer is easy on your joints. If your lower body cannot tolerate the walking, jogging, or running motions, then it’s the best fitness machine to try. Moreover, an elliptical trainer is a better option if you are dealing with knee, hip, or back pain.
  • Easy recovery: As an elliptical makes minimal impacts on your joints, it allows you to work out even if you are recovering from an injury or illness. Hence, an elliptical trainer is the best if you don’t want to compromise on fitness levels at any condition. If you like this benefit, you will be glad to know that your body’s heart rate and oxygen consumption are similar on both elliptical and treadmill.
  • Overall workout: An elliptical trainer strengthens your lower body parts, including quadriceps, glutes, and hip flexors. But, some of these machines have handles that move back and forth. Such a model can work your triceps, back, chest and shoulders.
  • Versatility: An elliptical lets you work out with forwarding and backward movements. So, it helps you to target all the muscles, including hamstrings and calves.

Relevant article: Best Ellipticals Machine Under 500

Disadvantages of an Elliptical


  • Involves a learning period: Have you worked out on an elliptical before? If the answer is no, then your body can take some time to adapt its movements. Consult a trainer if you cannot follow the actions.
  • Less development: An elliptical offers jerk-free workouts, but it’s not as efficient as a treadmill. If you choose between a treadmill or elliptical for weight loss, then go for the former. A treadmill also offers a better warm-up if you are strength training.

How to choose between treadmill and elliptical?


The decision depends upon your fitness level and goals. Keep in mind that both the machines are equally efficient in weight management and offer excellent cardiovascular workouts. But, for some of the users, a treadmill is better, and vice versa for others.

An elliptical trainer is better if

  • You want to cut down the extra weight or improve the cardiovascular system without exerting high pressure on your joints or bones.
  • You want to stay away from any pain.
  • You want to strengthen both upper and lower body parts.

On the other hand, prefer a treadmill if

  • You know the proper techniques to work out on this machine without any injury or pain.
  • You are training for a marathon or race.
  • You want maximum strength in the lower body parts.

Elliptical or Treadmill to Burn More Calories?

A treadmill earns a higher status when we talk about calories loss. It happens because you have to lift your foot, which consumes more energy than the planted foot. So, if you aim to cut down the extra fat by burning calories, step up on a treadmill.

That said, workout duration and intensity play a crucial role in weight loss. For instance, a slow 20-minute walk or jog on a treadmill might not burn the same amount of calories as working out on an elliptical set at its maximum resistance.

Elliptical or Treadmill for belly fat?

Both the fitness machines are perfect for weight management, but you cannot target a specific area with their help. However, a treadmill burns a little more calories if compared to an elliptical trainer. Plus, it also makes a more significant impact on your core muscles. So, maintain a healthy diet and work out regularly to lose belly fat.

Also read: Best Treadmills for Apartment

Final thoughts


The treadmill and elliptical trainer are perfect fitness machines to improve your cardiovascular system. But, which one of them is better depends upon your fitness and requirements. If you are tackling a musculoskeletal condition, it’s better to work out on an elliptical.

An elliptical is also better if you are prone to injuries. On the other hand, you can prefer a treadmill to burn a lot of calories and strengthen your lower body parts. It also allows you to train for races and build up better speed, which is impossible using an elliptical.

  • October 22, 2021
  • Blog