What are the Differences Between Elliptical Exercise Machines?

The Rise of the Elliptical Cross Trainer

There is no doubt that Elliptical Cross Trainers are one of the most popular pieces of aerobic fitness equipment on the market.  From an obscure and strange looking experiment in the early 1990’s to a category that will give fitness treadmills a run for their money, so to speak.  Elliptical Cross Trainers come in a total body motion in which you hold onto handles that move the arms along with the legs and lower body only units in which only the legs move and you hold onto the handrails.  There are three main types of elliptical cross trainers that utilize total body and lower body only motions and each have different benefits to their designs.

Three Types of Elliptical Equipment

  1. Rear Drive – This is the oldest design in which the pivot point for the pedals are in the back of the machine.
  2. Front Drive– This design came out as a way to circumvent patents from other companies on the rear pivot design of the Rear Drive Elliptical.  The Front Drive Elliptical does allow for an easier entry to the unit, a lower step up height, and takes up less floor space since you do not have to have a space on either side of the machine for mounting and dismounting of the fitness machine.
  3. Center Drive – This is the newest of the Elliptical Cross Trainer designs that are on the market.  By having the pivot point in the middle of the fitness machine allows for a longer range of motion with taking up less floor space than a Rear Drive or a Front Drive unit.  The Center Drive is also a rear entry unit that conserves the need for space on either side of the unit.  Center Drive units can sometimes have a higher step up height that can be an issue in home settings with low basement ceilings.  This higher step up height is due to having to have space for the crank to complete it’s range of motion.

Other Specialized Motions of the Elliptical Cross Trainer to Consider

  • Adjustable Stride Length– This is designed to mimic a more biomechanically natural motion depending on the individual user’s height and stride.  The stride on some units are adjusted before mounting and others have a push button automatic mechanism that allows adjustments in walking or running pace while on the fitness machine.
  • Adjustable Incline – Unlike a fitness treadmill that when adjusting the incline makes the workout more difficult, the change of incline on an Elliptical Cross Trainer changes the muscle group that the motion is targeting.

In closing, Elliptical Cross Trainers are gaining a popularity close to that of fitness treadmills.  There are three main designs that a user can choose based off of personal preference, physical limitations, and spacial limitations.  The best Elliptical Cross Trainer is the one that the end user is the most comfortable in using. 

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For information on How to Choose an Elliptical Exercise Machine click here

-The Staff at EverythingFitnessEquipment.com

“For all of Your Fitness Equipment and Exercise Equipment Needs”.


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