The treadmill and the elliptical machine are among the most popular pieces of cardiovascular workout equipment in the world. You will not only find them in all decent gyms, but will also find them in many homes across America. They are both highly effective in not only assisting in weight loss, but also to tone the entire body and helping you reach your ideal body shape.

However, there have been many debates surrounding the treadmill vs. elliptical in terms of efficiency for weight loss. Let us have a look at each machine’s capabilities in terms of not only weight loss but also more.

Elliptical Vs. Treadmill: Calorie Burning

This is a tricky issue and not as clear-cut as most would like it to be. It all comes down to the speed at which you run on the treadmill. If you run at six miles per hour or more on a treadmill for a time-period of at least sixty minutes, you will burn over two hundred more calories than if you were to use the elliptical for the same amount of time. That is because running at such a speed on the treadmill is a far more intense workout. However, if you were to lessen this speed, you would see better results if you were to use the elliptical.

When it comes to this, keep the following in mind:

Evaluate your fitness level. If you can run at a fast pace for an hour or more, the treadmill will be better for your weight loss goals. If your running is not up to par, the elliptical is far better. Running is a high intensity exercise and therefore more likely to burn more calories. A beginner would likely burn more calories on an elliptical.

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Treadmill Vs. Elliptical: Targeted Muscle Groups

You need to evaluate your body and target the parts that you want to improve. For instance, ask yourself that, “Do your butt and thighs need help or is your belly a greater problem?” Each person will have individual problem areas.

Elliptical: This machine works the entire body in a largely equal manner. A cross trainer will also help to tone your arms as back and forth arm movements are combined with the foot pedaling movements.

Treadmill: The treadmill is amazing for the core and leg muscles and as such is mainly a lower body workout. Keep in mind that you will need to work at high intensity to see fast results.

If you are a beginner who wants to target the entire body, the elliptical is a great full body workout that will show results in your upper body that the treadmill would not be able to produce as quickly or effectively.

Treadmill vs. Elliptical for Body Toning?

Both these machines are great for lower body toning. The elliptical particularly tones the thighs, hips and butt while running on high incline will show toning results across the entire lower body, especially the glutes. The elliptical naturally targets the front of the thighs most but this can be adjusted with the stride length and direction. What you use for toning will therefore depend on your individual needs and goals.

How Easy Are the Treadmill and Elliptical To Use?

The actual motion that needs to be performed when using the elliptical may initially be tricky to grasp. It will take some practice to get used to, especially for those who may be rhythmically challenged. Running is of course a natural action and progression from walking. Therefore, running on a treadmill could be seen as slightly easier to grasp in terms of natural movement and technique. However, using an elliptical will require less effort and will have low impact on your joints as the motion involved is very smooth. Another advantage of an elliptical trainer is that you can vary the resistance of the heavy flywheel depending on your program. Since running is a high-impact exercise, you will need to start slowly on a treadmill.

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Safety: Treadmill Vs. Elliptical

In general, the elliptical is far safer than the treadmill. This is purely because of the fact that the elliptical does not put as much pressure on the joints, which is a common cause of injury in high impact training such as running on the treadmill.

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The Verdict

There is no clear winner in a general sense for which machine would be better for losing weight or burning calories. The clear solution is to use a combination of both forms of training in a manner that will provide you the maximum benefit.

Each person has a different body shape and type. Very large people would be better suited to the elliptical while other beginners can still certainly start on the treadmill and work themselves up to a decent speed of running. You do not have to choose. Combine the two for best results!