Reader Mailbag: Is a 21″ Stride too long for a shorter person?


The Treadmill Sensei will be back later today for a treadmill review, but to hold you over I wanted to answer an email that came in to the DOJO this morning. Craig is worried that the 21″ stride on a Smooth CE 7.4 Elliptical is too long for his 5’3″ wife. Let’s see what Craigs has to say…take it away, Craig!

Dear Sensei,

Thanks for putting together such an informative site. My wife and I are about to purchase an elliptical for both of our use and we tried out the Smooth CE 7.4 a friend recently purchased and we both really liked it. However, while I am 5′ 8″, my wife is 5′ 3″ and everything I have read (including the Smooth website), says the 21″ stride on this machine is too long for her, even though she said it felt fine during the test run she gave it.

Would it be a mistake to purchase this machine given her height? Thanks, -Craig
Check out the 21″ stride on the CE7.4 Elliptical from Smooth Fitness.


Thanks for the note. If your wife tried out the Smooth and the stride felt comfortable to her, then it is fine. A lot of people who use ellipticals at their gym are already used to the longer stride found in Precor, Life Fitness and Star Trac units (generally 20″-21″). I personally find the longer strides to be much more comfortable and less choppy. I’d suggest seeing if she could try the machine out for a 30-45 minute workout and see how it feels in a longer workout.

One of the things I’ve noticed in the 15 or so years Ellipticals have been on the market is that longer strides tend to be easier for shorter people to adjust to than shorter strides. Getting a machine with a stride that is too short is just plain uncomfortable and will kill your desire to workout.

I would say if she tried it and liked the 21″ stride then go with it because what is most important (and more important than any review site) is how it feels to the both of you. Do it if it feels good! The Smooth CE7.4 is a good buy elliptical for around $1999.

-The Treadmill Sensei

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