CARDIO EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS
Ellipticals or cross trainers mimic the motion of running but without the impact, nice if you have bad knees or you're rehabbing from a lower-body injury. And the moving hand grips and adjustable resistance allow you to turn a cardiovascular workout into a full-body workout. Thirty minutes on an elliptical might burn 180 to 270 calories for the typical user, Depending on the intensity of the workout. A good elliptical is sturdy, easy to use, and aligns with your natural running motion.
Most of the ellipticals are about 6 feet by about 2.5 feet, though some are smaller. Since you'll be more elevated than you would on a treadmill, make sure you have a space with a sufficiently high ceiling. And you'll need adequate space to get on and off safely.
All but one of the ellipticals we tested were very good or excellent for safety; the other was just good. But they're inherently dangerous for children, who could get pinched or trapped in the moving parts. People with children at home or as visitors should make sure that they can't access the machines.
Check the comfort of the hand grips and make sure the foot pedals aren't too far apart. The stride length and elliptical path should feel natural.
Docks for iPods, USB ports, and wireless Internet connectivity are now common on ellipticals, though the features aren't always easy to use when you're exercising.
Some ellipticals have an incline. Check to see whether it's automated or requires you to manually adjust it.
An elliptical machine can weigh up to 500 pounds, so ask about delivery and check whether assembly is included or available at an additional cost. It might be worth it if you're not particularly good with a toolbox. It generally takes our experienced engineers about 1 to 2 hours to put together an elliptical, depending on the number of steps.
• User defined running motion
• Dynamic stride length
• Aluminum Legs
• Lightweight pedals
• Tablet/reading rack placement option
• Performance resistance range
• cross circuit attachment points
• Set of cross circuit resistance bands
• cross circuit Pro compatible
• Pedal spacing
• Low step-up height
• Rubber non-slip pedals
• Rubber non-slip step
• Contoured moving handlebars
• Performance grips
• Water bottle holder
• Quiet operation
• Transportation wheels
• Heavy-duty frame
• Electronic Features
• SmartLink Compatible
• Bluetooth® 4.0 for mobile device connectivity
• Head up display
• Self powered*
• Quick Start (Run)
• Cool down
• Wireless heart rate compatible
• Digital contact heart rate sensors
• Polar heart rate chest strap
• Bluetooth 4.0 / ANT+ heart rate chest strap
• Number of programs on console
• Number of Workouts with SmartLink
• Endurance programs Race training, pace intervals
• Tone up programs Strength training, targeted muscle groups
• Active recovery programs Flexbility, Run+, balance
• Product Specifications
• Max user weight
• Footprint – live area (W x L)
• Product weight
Some elliptical features can make exercise more entertaining and less painful. And some might do more harm than good.
Most ellipticals have exercise programs that allow you to adjust how hard your pedal, and some allow you to change the incline as your work out, electronically. Cheaper models might only allow adjustment manually, and not during workouts. By making a workout less boring, an exercise program might get you to use the machine more often. But some programs are easier and more flexible to operate than others.
Especially check the design of the moving arms and the pedals. On some models, the moving arms are awkwardly angled or block the display. If you hold on to the nonmoving handgrips, make sure the back-and-forth handles don't whack you in the arms. A narrow stance is more natural than widely spaced pedals, and a safety rim around the sides of the pedals can help keep your foot from slipping off.
A heart-rate monitor helps you to exercise up to your potential while avoiding dangerous overexertion. A chest-strap monitor is more accurate and convenient than a handgrip or thumb-sensor type.
This keeps unsupervised children from using the machine.
A growing number of manufacturers are loading the console with gadgets such as a fan, an iPod dock, and even an LCD TV. But you might be able to buy those items separately for less. And if they need repair, having them serviced can be a problem.