Treadmill vs. Elliptical

Treadmill vs Elliptical Treadmill Reviews

Two of the most common machines used for cardio are treadmills and ellipticals. It is extremely rare to walk into a gym and see those machines unused. So which one is going to give you a better workout? There are many factors to consider so it gets a bit complicated, but consider these major points as you make a plan for your next cardio session…

First Determine Your Fitness Goal

A major reason for most people to even step foot on one of these machines is to burn calories and lose weight. Besides that, you may be putting some time into cardio to build your cardiovascular strength and endurance for distance training and specific events. Your main goal for exercise is going to be your first factor to consider.

WEIGHT LOSS – If your goal is to lose weight, both the treadmill and the elliptical will help you do this.

ENDURANCE TRAINING – If your goal is endurance training, the elliptical is not a practical choice. As the elliptical carries more of your body weight for you and is restricted in movement and speed, you will reach your max training on this machine in no time.

The best choice for endurance training is to move to the treadmill. You have a way bigger range of motion on this machine including dramatically higher speed and incline options.

Weight Loss

There are a couple factors to consider when it comes to weight loss on these machines. They affect the body in different ways which is why weight loss varies.

Body Weight

The treadmill beats the elliptical when it comes to how many calories are burned at the same intensity. The reason for this is because the elliptical is built to support a lot of your body weight, which eases the stress on your cardiovascular system and joints. This can be good if you have an injury or are a beginner since it is easier on the body. However, if you are looking to lose fat faster you may consider using a treadmill.


Many people are concerned with how running affects the body. Some people are worried about the long term impact it has on joints. This is where the elliptical beats the treadmill. The elliptical provides a low impact workout that has less risk for injury, but because it is easier, rapid weight loss is less likely.

For those struggling with joint problems, an elliptical is a great option to still get an intense workout that puts less stress on the joints. It is easier on the back since you hold a good, upright position. It is also possible to work at high intensities without strain. Although, when it comes to everyday motion, the treadmill will help train your body for movements you make daily, and this can have a positive effect on the body.


Many people go to the gym so they can train for long-distance events whether it’s running 10-26 miles or participating in triathlons and other distance races. In this case, a treadmill is a better option for training – simply because it mimics real body movements. During a 5K, no one will have the momentum the elliptical gives them, and this can be a downfall when it comes to race day.

This is not to say that an elliptical is not effective, but it is not a great machine to be used if you’re preparing for any kind of event outdoors. Going from a treadmill like the NordicTrack 1750, which can give both -3 percent decline and 15 percent incline to better simulate outside running, will make outdoor running a much smoother transition than starting from an elliptical.

Treadmill vs Elliptical Winner

Here’s the deal, there are so many individual situations that it is impossible to come out with the best option. They are both beneficial for a lot of different reasons, it is entirely up to you. If you want to burn more calories, use a treadmill. If your body needs lower resistance, use an elliptical. Make a mental list of all your priorities when it comes to exercising, and it will be easy to see which one better suits your goals when researching machines. Don’t be afraid to use both!