Cybex Arc Trainer vs Elliptical: Choosing The Right Cardio Machine

Cybex Arc Trainer vs Elliptical

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In the world of gym workouts, the choices are vast, and when it comes to cardio machines, the arc trainer and elliptical are often in the spotlight.

In this article, we’ll unravel the intricacies of these two popular machines, the Cybex Arc Trainer and the traditional elliptical.

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or a beginner, understanding the nuances between these cardio powerhouses can make a significant difference in achieving your fitness goals.

1. Getting to Know the Machines: Arc Trainer and Elliptical

Arc Trainer Unveiled

The Cybex Arc Trainer, often hailed as the elliptical’s dynamic cousin, offers a unique motion that combines elements of climbing, walking, and running.

With an adjustable incline and resistance, the arc trainer provides a full-body workout, engaging muscles from head to toe.

Its footplates follow a distinct, crescent-shaped path, creating a natural and low-impact exercise experience.

Traditional Elliptical Overview

On the other side of the gym, the traditional elliptical has been a staple for cardio enthusiasts. Mimicking the motion of running or walking, ellipticals offer a smooth, elliptical-shaped stride.

They are known for providing an effective cardiovascular workout while being easy on the joints, making them a popular choice for those with lower body concerns.

2. Arc Trainer vs Elliptical: The Showdown

2.1. Motion Matters: Elliptical vs Arc Trainer

When it comes to motion, the elliptical’s circular stride is the traditional go-to, providing a familiar and rhythmic exercise experience.

In contrast, the arc trainer’s unique crescent-shaped path introduces variety, engaging different muscle groups and potentially leading to increased calorie burn.

2.2. Cardiovascular Benefits: Arc Trainer and Elliptical Head-to-Head

Both machines offer excellent cardiovascular benefits, elevating heart rate and enhancing endurance.

The arc trainer, with its dynamic motion, may have an edge in terms of exertion, potentially allowing users to burn more calories in a shorter time.

2.3. Muscles Engaged: Arc Trainer vs Elliptical Machine

While both machines target the lower body muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, the arc trainer’s unique motion engages the muscles in a different way.

The elliptical primarily focuses on the lower body, but the arc trainer introduces a more comprehensive full-body workout.

2.4. Calorie Burn: Elliptical vs Arc Trainer Showdown

For those aiming to shed calories, the arc trainer may have a slight advantage.

The combination of its unique motion and potential for higher exertion levels can result in a more intense workout, leading to increased calorie burn.

2.5. Exertion and Footplate Design: What Sets Them Apart?

The arc trainer’s crescent-shaped motion and footplate design contribute to a lower perceived exertion compared to traditional ellipticals.

Users often report feeling less strain on their joints and muscles, making the arc trainer an attractive option for those seeking a challenging yet comfortable workout.

2.6. Stationary vs Dynamic: Elliptical and Arc Trainer Differences

While the elliptical keeps users in a fixed positionthe arc trainer’s dynamic motion allows for a more varied workout.

Users can adjust the incline and resistance, adding an extra layer of customization to their exercise routine.

2.7. Elliptical Trainer: The Classic Appeal

For those who appreciate the simplicity and familiarity of the elliptical, the classic design remains a timeless choice.

It’s a reliable option for individuals seeking a straightforward cardio workout without the complexities introduced by the arc trainer’s dynamic motion.

2.8. Gym-Friendly: Arc Trainer and Elliptical in the Fitness Arena

Both machines have found their place in gyms worldwide, but the elliptical’s longstanding presence often makes it a go-to option for users of all fitness levels.

The arc trainer, with its unique design, is gaining popularity for those looking to add variety to their workout routine.

2.9. Ellipse vs Crescent: Understanding the Shapes

The elliptical’s smooth, circular motion creates an ellipse, offering a consistent and predictable stride.

In contrast, the arc trainer’s crescent-shaped path introduces variability, requiring users to adapt to a slightly different movement pattern.

2.10. Full-Body Engagement: Which Machine Comes Out on Top?

While both machines engage the lower bodythe arc trainer’s design allows for more significant upper-body involvement.

Users can actively engage their arms and chest, providing a more comprehensive full-body workout compared to the elliptical.

3. Choosing Your Cardio Companion: What to Remember

As you navigate the world of cardio machines, keep these key points in mind:

  • Motion Matters: Consider whether you prefer the traditional elliptical’s circular motion or the dynamic crescent-shaped path of the arc trainer.
  • Muscle Engagement: If you’re looking for a full-body workout, the arc trainer’s design offers a more comprehensive engagement of both upper and lower body muscles.
  • Calorie Burn Goals: Depending on your fitness goals, the arc trainer may provide a slightly higher calorie burn due to its unique motion and potential for increased exertion.
  • Customization Options: The arc trainer’s adjustable incline and resistance allow for a more dynamic and customizable workout compared to the elliptical.
  • Comfort and Variety: If comfort and simplicity appeal to you, the elliptical’s classic design might be the perfect fit. For those seeking variety and a more dynamic workout, the arc trainer offers a unique experience.
  • Joint-Friendly Options: If joint health is a concern, both machines are generally considered low-impact, but the arc trainer’s design may offer a more comfortable workout for some users.
  • Gym Atmosphere: Consider the environment you prefer. Ellipticals have been gym staples for years, while the arc trainer is gaining popularity for its versatility and dynamic motion.
  • Personal Preference: Ultimately, the choice between the arc trainer and elliptical comes down to personal preference. Try both machines and see which one aligns with your fitness goals and feels right for your body.
  • Listen to Your Body: Regardless of your choice, pay attention to how your body responds to each machine. Choose the one that feels comfortable, provides a challenging workout, and keeps you motivated to stay consistent with your cardio routine.

In conclusion, whether you opt for the familiar elliptical or embrace the dynamic challenge of the arc trainer, the most important thing is to find a cardio companion that aligns with your fitness journey.

Enjoy the journey, embrace the motion, and keep striding toward your fitness goals!

Elliptical vs Treadmill? Check out our article.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: What sets the arc trainer apart from traditional ellipticals?

A: The arc trainer is designed with a unique motion that combines elements of climbing, walking, and running, offering a distinct cardiovascular experience compared to the elliptical’s circular motion.

Q2: Is the arc trainer better for weight loss?

A: Many users find that the arc trainer can give you better results in a shorter period of time, potentially burning more calories and aiding in weight loss goals.

Q3: How does the arc trainer differ in terms of impact on joints?

A: The arc trainer is a low-impact machine, making it a great choice for those seeking a cardio workout with minimal stress on joints, similar to the benefits of traditional ellipticals.

Q4: Can the arc trainer work your lower body effectively?

A: Absolutely, the arc trainer is a lower body machine that works your legs, offering a comprehensive workout for your lower body muscles.

Q5: Does the arc trainer offer better results than ellipticals for cardio?

A: Arc trainers are considered by many to be better for cardio, offering a different motion and potentially providing better cardiovascular fitness benefits compared to traditional ellipticals.

Q6: How does the motion of the arc trainer differ from an elliptical?

A: Unlike ellipticals, the arc trainer’s pedals travel along an arc, and your feet subsequently travel in an arc motion, providing a unique exercise experience.

Q7: Is the arc trainer better for your back compared to ellipticals?

A: Users often find the arc trainer to be better for their back, as the machine moves your feet in a way that can be gentler on the lower back.

Q8: Can I burn more calories on the arc trainer than on an elliptical?

A: Yes, the arc trainer might be a better calorie-burning machine, with some users reporting burn rates ranging from 300 to 475 calories in a single session.

Q9: Which muscles do the arc trainer work with compared to ellipticals?

A: While both machines engage your lower body, the arc trainer uses a different motion, working muscles in a slightly different way compared to traditional ellipticals.

Q10: Is the arc trainer suitable for users with existing elliptical experience?

A: Absolutely, if you like an elliptical but want a different challenge, the arc trainer is a great option, offering a unique variation on the traditional elliptical motion.

Q11: How much weight can you lose using the arc trainer?

A: The amount of weight you can lose using the arc trainer depends on various factors, including your workout intensity, duration, and overall fitness routine.

Q12: Are arc trainers suitable for all fitness levels?

A: Yes, arc trainers cater to different fitness levels, allowing users to adjust resistance and incline to match their individual level of exertion.

Q13: How does the Cybex Arc Trainer compare to other brands?

A: The Cybex Arc Trainer, made by Cybex, is a well-regarded piece of equipment, offering a unique exercise experience that sets it apart from other cardio machines.

Q14: Can I use the arc trainer if I prefer a traditional elliptical?

A: Absolutely, the arc trainer and elliptical are both effective cardio machines, and your preference ultimately depends on the kind of workout experience you enjoy.

Q15: How does the arc trainer burn calories differently than ellipticals?

A: The arc trainer’s different motion, including the downward arc of the footplates, contributes to a unique calorie-burning process compared to traditional ellipticals.

Q16: Are arc trainers still popular in the fitness world?

A: Yes, arc trainers are still a popular choice among fitness enthusiasts, offering a dynamic and effective workout experience that keeps users coming back for more.

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Dr. Mehmet Eren Aksu In addition to his medical background, is a big fitness enthusiast. He has been interested in fitness and has been actively doing it for over 7 years. During this time, he had the opportunity to experience using many cardio machines. And he wants to convey these experiences to you, our valued readers.

How this article was written? How we choose the best cardio equipment?

We take help from AI in certain parts of the articles. This does not mean that our choices and evaluations are made with AI. We strictly hand-pick the best equipment and single product evaluations.


We are aware of how difficult and long a process it is to find equipment according to your needs. As Healthy Bodies 101, we want to help you in the purchasing and evaluation process by minimizing this process.

We may earn commission fees from purchases you make through our links. This helps us continue our work and enjoy doing it.

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