The Different Types of Elliptical Machines: Which One Should You Choose?

Elliptical Machines

Table of Contents

If you’re considering adding an elliptical machine to your home gym or looking to invest in a new piece of cardio equipment, you might be wondering about the different types of elliptical machines available and which one is right for you.

Elliptical machines are a fantastic choice for a low-impact, full-body workout.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of ellipticals, discussing the various types, their benefits, and what you should consider when choosing the perfect elliptical for your fitness goals.

Table Of Contents

What is an Elliptical Machine?

Different Types of Elliptical Machines

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Elliptical Machines

Choosing the Right Elliptical Machine for Your Needs

How to Properly Use an Elliptical Machine

Making the Right Choice

What is an Elliptical Machine?

Before we explore the different types of elliptical machines, let’s start with the basics. An elliptical machine, also known as an elliptical trainer, is a popular piece of exercise equipment commonly found in gyms and home gyms.

It’s designed to simulate walking or running without the impact on your joints, making it an excellent choice for cardiovascular exercise.

Different Types of Elliptical Machines

Elliptical machines come in several variations, each with its unique features and benefits. Let’s take a closer look at three types of elliptical machines:

1. Rear Drive Elliptical

Key Features:

The flywheel is located at the back of the machine.

Offers a smooth, natural stride.

Provides a low-impact workout.


Mimics natural movement.

Reduces stress on your joints.

Effective for lower body workouts.

2. Front Drive Elliptical

Key Features:

The flywheel is located at the front of the machine.

Compact and space-saving design.

Offers a forward-leaning position.



Comfortable workout position.

Suitable for users with limited space.

3. Center Drive Elliptical

Key Features:

The flywheel is located in the center of the machine.

Provides a more upright posture.

Offers a smooth, low-impact workout.


The upright position reduces stress on your joints.

Ideal for full-body workouts.

Compact design for home use.

Pros and Cons of Different Types of Elliptical Machines

Now that we’ve explored the three main types of elliptical machines, let’s consider the pros and cons of each type to help you make an informed decision:

Rear-Drive Elliptical Pros:

Provides a natural, smooth stride.

Low-impact, gentle on joints.

Effective for lower body workouts.


May take up more space.

Limited upper body engagement.

Front Drive Elliptical Pros:

Compact and space-saving.

Comfortable workout position.

Suitable for limited space.


May not offer as natural a stride.

Less engaging for the upper body.

Center Drive Elliptical Pros:

The upright position reduces joint stress.

Ideal for full-body workouts.

Compact and suitable for home use.


May not provide as long of a stride.

Limited space for user movement.

Choosing the Right Elliptical Machine for Your Needs

Now that you’re familiar with the different types of elliptical machines and their respective pros and cons, how do you determine which one is the best fit for your fitness goals? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Available Space: Assess the space in your home gym or the area where you plan to set up your elliptical machine. Ensure that the chosen type of elliptical fits comfortably.
  • Workout Goals: Consider your fitness objectives. Do you want a low-impact cardio exercise, a full-body workout, or something in between? Your goals will guide your choice.
  • Joint Health: If you have joint issues or prefer a gentler workout, a rear drive or center-drive elliptical may be more suitable. These types offer lower-impact exercise.
  • Budget: Different types of elliptical machines come at varying price points. Decide on a budget that aligns with your financial plans.
  • User Experience: If you have the opportunity, try out different types of ellipticals at a gym or store to get a feel for how they work and which one you find most comfortable.

How to Properly Use an Elliptical Machine

To ensure you maximize the benefits of your elliptical workout, follow these essential tips:

Maintain Proper Posture:Stand upright with engaged core muscles.
Avoid leaning on the handlebars to focus on your lower body.

Start with a Warm-Up:Begin your workout with a 5-10-minute warm-up at a lower resistance level.

Use the Handlebars:Utilize the moving handlebars to engage your upper body, working your arms, chest, and shoulders.

Vary Resistance:Adjust resistance levels during your workout to challenge different muscle groups.

Monitor Your Heart Rate:Keep an eye on your heart rate with the built-in monitor for an effective cardio workout.

Incorporate Interval Training:Alternate between high-intensity and low-intensity segments to burn more calories and boost cardiovascular fitness.

Cool Down:Conclude your session with a 5-10 minute cool-down at a lower intensity to gradually lower your heart rate and prevent dizziness.

Making the Right Choice

When it comes to choosing the right elliptical machine for your home gym or fitness routine, it’s crucial to consider your specific needs and goals.

Whether you opt for a rear drive, front drive, or center drive elliptical, each type has its advantages and can provide an effective workout. The most important thing is to use the machine regularly and maintain a consistent exercise routine.

In summary, elliptical machines offer a low-impact, full-body workout that can benefit individuals of all fitness levels.

With various types to choose from, you can find the one that best suits your space, budget, and workout preferences. So, get ready to stride your way to a healthier, fitter with the help of an elliptical machine.

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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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