Different Types of Ellipticals (Everyone Should Know!)

Types of Ellipticals

There are generally three types of ellipticals: Rear-drive, Front-drive, and Center-drive. Rear-drive ellipticals are the most common type found in home gyms and usually feature a fan wheel at the back for resistance. Front-drive machines feature a flywheel at the front and tend to provide a more natural stride. Center-drive machines feature two pedals that move in an oval shape around a central column for a low-impact workout.

types of ellipticals

In addition to these three main types, there are several other variations that provide users with an effective workout such as Elliptical Glider, Recumbent Elliptical, and Hybrid Elliptical Machine,… With multiple popular options, elliptical trainers provide a great way to achieve an effective total-body workout. Expand your exercise routine with one of these innovative designs that take already successful models and elevate them to the next level.

Each type of machine offers different benefits depending on user preferences and goals. Ellipticals can also vary in features such as adjustable incline, resistance levels, built-in programs, heart rate monitoring capabilities, etc. It’s essential to try out the different types to see which one works best for you. Keep reading if you want to learn more about these types of ellipticals!

The Different Types of Elliptical Machine

Rear-Drive Elliptical

Rear-Drive elliptical machines feature a flywheel located at the back, rather than the front of the machine. It allows you to adjust both stride length and resistance easily and quickly, allowing you to customize your training session according to your individual needs.

The rear-drive design also provides more stability during use, as it sits closer to the ground with its lower center of gravity, making it less likely for users to tip over or lose their balance while in use. Additionally, since the foot pedals are connected directly to the flywheel via a drive shaft, this eliminates any belt slippage that may occur on other types of ellipticals. The end result is a more powerful and efficient workout. 

Rear-drive ellipticals are generally quieter than front-drive models since the flywheel is located at the back of the machine. This makes them ideal for those that plan to use their elliptical in a shared space or apartment with thin walls.

Front-Drive Elliptical

Front drive ellipticals are the converse of read drive ellipticals in nearly every way. This elliptical style places the flywheel in the front of the machine and roller tracks in the back. This style provides a more vertical range of motion, often likened to that experienced on stair climbers. Lower positioned than rear drive machines, they are particularly well-suited for people with mobility limitations who do not need to step over them when getting onto it.

Depending on the slope of the elliptical, this type of elliptical can sometimes provide a workout similar to that of a stair climber. Front drive ellipticals are typically a bit lower to the ground, and they may offer a better option for users with a more limited range of mobility, as they do not require the user to step over the machine to get on.

Center-Drive Elliptical

Center-drive machines feature two pedals that move in an oval shape around a central column for a low-impact workout. This type of machine has become increasingly popular as it provides users with a more compact design and is great for those with limited space at home or the gym. It features an ergonomic handlebar configuration that allows for more natural posture and motion, while providing a low-impact workout to minimize strain on joints.

Many center-drive ellipticals also come with adjustable incline, resistance levels, and built-in programs to track your progress. Additionally, the console display offers an advanced computer tracking system to monitor progress in real time, as well as customizable resistance levels for personalized workouts.

The center-drive also has enhanced stability due to its midpoint positioning, allowing users to feel secure even during heavy exercise sessions. Moreover, the overall size of the machine is often smaller than other models, making it ideal for smaller spaces or apartments. This type of elliptical comes with integrated transport wheels so it can be easily moved when not in use.

Elliptical Glider

Elliptical gliders offer a fuss-free and low-impact option for at home gym setups. Unlike other ellipticals, these trainers don’t have flywheels which makes them more compact and suitable for smaller spaces. These machines feature two foot pedals connected by two bars, similar to cross country ski poles.  The pedals work by swinging on a glider rather than circular track to reduce strain in the joints of hips, knees or ankles.

There are also adjustable resistance levels so that you can customize your workout according to your fitness level. The handlebars offer additional upper body support while providing a stable platform for exercising safely. The stride length is also adjustable, allowing users to find their ideal form for maximum effectiveness and comfort.

Recumbent Elliptical

Recumbent elliptical machines are a newer, more comfortable version of traditional upright ellipticals. This elliptical puts the user in a seated position to provide a greater range of motion and reduce stress on the lower back and joints. This type of machine features a padded seat that is adjustable to fit users of different heights and sizes, as well as armrests for additional body support. The pedals are also more widely spaced than other machines, creating an easier stride pattern for those with mobility difficulties or back pain.

Unlike regular ellipticals, which require you to stand in an upright position, recumbent models allow you to lay back and pedal from a reclined position. This provides superior back support and allows for easier access for users with physical challenges or injuries. Recumbent ellipticals also provide an easier entry point for beginners since there is less strain on the lower body.

In addition, these machines offer greater resistance levels that can help you reach your fitness goals faster. They also typically have larger stride lengths than other types of cardio equipment, so they are better suited for taller individuals who need extra reach.

Hybrid Elliptical Machine 

A hybrid elliptical machine is designed to combine the features of both a recumbent bike and an elliptical. This type of machine allows users to enjoy the benefits of a low-impact workout while still providing an effective cardiovascular workout. The seat on these machines can be adjusted for different heights, allowing for better comfort throughout the exercise session.

The main advantage of the hybrid machine is that it allows for simultaneous upper and lower body workouts, helping you achieve maximum calorie burn in a short period of time. Additionally, this type of machine offers adjustable resistance levels so you can tailor your intensity according to your fitness level.

Elliptical Cross-Trainer

An elliptical cross-trainer is a type of exercise machine designed to provide an aerobic workout that combines both upper and lower body movement. It is similar to a stationary bike or treadmill but with the added benefit of providing a more complete body workout.

The motion is slightly different than on other machines, as the user stands on foot pedals which move in an elliptical motion rather than forward and back like most traditional machines. This allows for a full range of motion from pushing off with the toes to pulling back with the heels. Additionally, hand poles are attached which allow for arm movements in coordination with the leg motions.

The combination of upper and lower body exercises makes elliptical cross-trainers excellent for cardiovascular fitness, muscle toning, and weight loss. They are low-impact on the joints, so they can be used by those with joint problems or chronic pain. 

Standard Elliptical Trainers

Standard elliptical trainers are low-impact machines that allow you to get a great workout without putting too much strain on your joints. Ellipticals provide an excellent cardiovascular workout using mainly your lower body muscles, including your hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves. Ellipticals also help tone arms and abdominals by allowing you to use the moving handles during your workout.

Standard elliptical trainers come with adjustable resistance levels and foot pedals that can be adjusted according to the user’s height or preference. Most models have pre-programmed workouts as well as displays that show distance traveled, calories burned, time elapsed, speed and many other metrics. Many ellipticals also have heart rate monitors and built-in music players for added motivation.

Read more: 5 Tips To Choose Right Elliptical & Cross Trainer

What Are The Benefits of Using an Elliptical Machine?

The use of an elliptical machine has numerous benefits. It is a low-impact exercise that can help to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and burn calories more efficiently than other types of cardio equipment. It does not require any special tools or skills to operate, making it suitable for people at all fitness levels. Moreover, the user can adjust the resistance level on an elliptical machine in order to make their workout harder or easier depending on their needs. This helps promote proper form and increase efficiency while minimizing injury risk.

Using an elliptical provides a full body workout without putting excess pressure on joints and ligaments due to limited range of motion. All of these factors make the use of an elliptical a great choice for those looking to get a full body workout without having to step outside the home.

In addition to the physical benefits, using an elliptical machine can also provide mental benefits. It is a great way to reduce stress and improve overall mood due to increased endorphin production caused by exercise. Beside, it can be used as a form of personal therapy or distraction from negative thoughts, allowing the user to focus on something else while engaging in physical activity. This can help boost confidence levels and motivation for future workouts, helping to establish a positive habit for life. All these factors make the use of an elliptical an excellent choice for anyone looking to improve both their physical and mental health.

Read more: 10 Benefits of an Elliptical Machine Workout

How To Choose The Right Elliptical for Your Needs?

how to choose the right elliptical for your needs

When it comes to selecting the right elliptical for your needs, there are a few factors you should consider.

First, think about how much space you have available for an elliptical. If you are limited on space, folding or portable models may be best for you. On the other hand, if you have more room and want to take advantage of all that an elliptical can offer, then a stationary model may be the way to go. 

Next, look at the type of resistance system used in each model. Most ellipticals use a flywheel-and-pulley system which allows for smooth pedaling motion with less strain on joints than traditional treadmills or bikes. Some models even offer adjustable resistance so you can increase or decrease the intensity of your workout. 

Finally, consider what features are important to you. If tracking and monitoring your progress is important, then look for an elliptical that has built-in programs and monitors, such as heart rate monitors, calorie counters, and speedometers. Other features like iPod compatibility and built-in fan systems can also be nice touches to make working out more enjoyable.

Overall, when choosing the right elliptical for your needs there are many different options to choose from but by considering how much space you have available, the type of resistance system used in each model, and what features are important to you will help ensure you find the perfect machine for your specific needs.

Tips for Getting The Most Out of Your Elliptical Workouts

Warm Up: Before hopping on the elliptical, take a few minutes to warm up your body and get your heart rate up. This will help you transition into your workout smoothly and avoid potential injuries.

Push Yourself: Make sure to push yourself during workouts and challenge yourself every time you use the machine. Incorporating interval training or increasing resistance levels can help make your workouts more effective and keep you motivated over time.

Change It Up: Don’t be afraid to mix things up with your routine! Switching from one program to another can help prevent boredom and improve focus during each session. Change up the settings every so often during your workout session – increase resistance levels, vary your stride length or speed up to challenge yourself as you go along.

Stretch It Out: After completing your workout, don’t forget to stretch! Stretching helps reduce muscle soreness, improve flexibility and range of motion, and can even help you recover faster after each session.

Read more: Is Elliptical Good for Knees? (Tips Protect Your Knees)

What Are Some Safety Tips for Using an Elliptical?

Read Instructions: Before getting started with your workout, make sure to read all operating instructions carefully. If you have any questions about how to use the machine or what safety precautions should be taken, don’t hesitate to ask a staff member at your gym for help.

Wear Proper Attire: Make sure to dress appropriately for your workout. Wear comfortable, breathable clothes that won’t get in the way of the machine or cause irritation while working out.

Check Your Position: When using an elliptical, make sure you are well-positioned on the machine and not leaning too far forward or backward. This will help keep your posture correct and prevent possible injuries from occurring.

Maintain Proper Form: Keep your feet flat on the pedals throughout the entire motion to ensure maximum effectiveness of each stride and lower stress levels on joints and muscles. Additionally, maintain a steady pace throughout each session for best results!

Following these safety tips can help protect you from injury and ensure that you get the most out of your elliptical workouts. Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy your invigorating total-body workout.

How Much Space Do You Need To Accommodate an Elliptical in Your Home?

The amount of space you need to accommodate an elliptical in your home will depend on the size and model of the machine. As a general rule, you should allow for about five square feet of floor space for every foot of length of the machine. For example, if you are looking at a four-foot-long machine, you should have around 20 square feet to fit it comfortably. If you have limited space, then models with shorter strides may be preferable. Additionally, keep in mind that some machines can fold up or adjust to different lengths so they take up less room when not in use. Before making your purchase decision, measure your available area carefully to make sure that the chosen elliptical fits comfortably within it.

It is also important to account for additional space surrounding the elliptical. Bending and stretching motions result in wider movements, so make sure there is enough room for you to move without bumping into any furniture or other obstacles. Generally speaking, you should have at least a few feet of clearance on all sides of the machine. It may also be helpful to rearrange your furniture or clear out some items in order to ensure that you have adequate room. This will help ensure that you can use your machine safely and with maximum comfort.

Additionally, if you are living in an apartment complex or other shared housing situation, it’s important to check with your landlord before bringing an elliptical into the building. Some complexes may have restrictions on the types of exercise equipment that can be used, or may require a special permit for it.  Taking these steps will help make sure you are able to get the most out of your elliptical in your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a front-drive and rear-drive elliptical?

The main difference between a front-drive and rear-drive elliptical is the location of the drive mechanism. On a front-drive machine, the flywheel is located at the front of the frame with the pedals attached to it, while on a rear-drive model, the flywheel is mounted at the back of the frame with the pedals connected to it. Rear drive machines tend to be more compact and provide a smoother ride, but they can also be slightly harder to control due to the higher center of gravity. Front drive models are usually a bit longer and often have more resistance settings, but they can be less comfortable for taller users.

Generally speaking, a rear-drive elliptical will offer more stability when in use compared to its front-drive counterpart. Additionally, users may find that they experience less strain on their joints and muscles when using a rear-drive model due to its increased stability and smoother motion. However, both types of machines can provide an effective full body workout when used properly.

Are there any elliptical machines designed for people with physical limitations?

Yes, many companies offer ellipticals specifically designed for those with physical limitations. These machines typically feature adjustable stride length and resistance levels to accommodate different body types and abilities. They also have additional safety features such as easy access handrails, slip-resistant pedals, and low entry height for better balance support. Additionally, some of these machines come with special ergonomic cushions or handlebars that provide extra comfort or support for those who need it. With the help of these features, users can enjoy a safe and comfortable workout experience even if they’re dealing with physical limitations.

Is the amount of noise produced by an elliptical a factor in choosing one?

Yes, the amount of noise produced by an elliptical is a factor that you should consider when choosing one. Many machines are designed to be fairly quiet, although some may produce more noise than others depending on their features and settings. If possible, test out different models in person or compare customer reviews before deciding which one is right for you. The good news is that most machines are built with vibration-resistant frames and other sound-dampening technology so they don’t create too much of a disturbance while you’re working out.

Does the angle of incline affect how hard a workout is on an elliptical?

Yes, the angle of incline can significantly affect how difficult an elliptical workout is. By changing the angle of incline, you can increase the intensity and resistance of your workout to help you burn more calories and build more muscle. Generally speaking, a steeper incline will make the elliptical more challenging and thus burn more calories compared to a flat or low-incline setting. As such, adding an incline to your workout routine is a great way to challenge yourself and elevate your fitness level. It’s important to remember that it may take some time before you adjust to using an inclined ramp as part of your exercise routine. Be sure to start slow and gradually increase the intensity over time. With practice, the right angle of incline can be an effective way to get more out of your elliptical workouts.

Is it better to use elliptical without arms?

Using an elliptical without arms can offer a more strenuous cardio workout depending on your existing fitness level and goals. Without the use of arm handles for support, you are required to engage all muscle groups in order to move; this will cause greater calorie expenditure, increased heart rate, and improved overall cardiovascular endurance.

In addition, using an elliptical without arms can strengthen the core muscles as they work to maintain balance while the legs propel the machine forward. It is important to note that before attempting a higher intensity workout with an elliptical without arms, users should have some prior experience in using an elliptical with arms to allow for good form development and injury prevention. 

Ultimately, whether or not it is better to use an elliptical without arms is dependent upon the individual and the desired outcome.  If you are looking for a more challenging or intense workout, an elliptical without arms is likely the best option. However, if you are new to using an elliptical machine and desire an easier exercise session, then it may be more beneficial to use one with arm handles first.

What is a “stride length” on an elliptical?

Stride length is the distance between the pedals of an elliptical as they move in a back-and-forth motion.This can vary from person to person and depending on the type of elliptical machine you are using. The higher the stride length, the greater the intensity of your workout will be. You should adjust your stride length according to your fitness level by either shortening or lengthening it as necessary.

To ensure that you are getting the most out of your elliptical workout, it is important to find a comfortable stride length that challenges you while still allowing for proper form and technique. Make sure you also adjust any other settings on your machine such as resistance levels or incline to customize your elliptical routine even more.

What is the best types of elliptical for beginners?

The best type of elliptical for beginners is a front-drive machine. Front-drive machines provide a low, comfortable stride and are easier to use than rear or center drive machines. They also tend to be more affordable than other types of ellipticals, making them the perfect choice for those starting out on their fitness journey.

They come with lots of preset workouts that make it easy to get started right away. Look for one with an adjustable resistance level so you can challenge yourself as you progress. A built-in heart rate monitor is also helpful in tracking your progress and ensuring that you stay within your target heart rate range during exercise. Finally, look for models with smooth motion and plenty of stability to ensure a safe workout experience every time. With the right machine and a bit of dedication, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

How often should you use an elliptical to see results?

The answer to this question depends on your fitness goals. If you are aiming for weight loss, frequency and intensity of exercise should be increased gradually over time. For general health and fitness, aiming for three to five times per week is a great starting point. As you gain more experience with the elliptical, you may find that increasing the duration or difficulty level of your workouts helps to bring better results.

Beside, mixing in other forms of physical activity such as strength training or cardio intervals can help keep your routine from becoming stale and build endurance. Note, listen to your body, take rest days when needed, and tailor your exercise plan according to what works best for you. With consistent effort and dedication, you will be able to achieve those fitness goals.

If you are new to the elliptical and unsure how often to use it, start by aiming for 10-15 minutes of low-intensity exercise three times a week. Increase the duration and intensity of your workouts gradually over time as your body adapts. Remember to stay consistent with your workouts and listen to your body’s needs.


Overall, elliptical machines are an excellent exercise form that offers a wide array of benefits. They provide low-impact cardio, help strengthen the body and core, and can be used for cross-training. The different types of ellipticals available on the market offer different levels of resistance and features tailored to individual users’ needs, from basic models to more advanced ones with additional features.

With the different types of ellipticals mentioned above, whether you’re looking for an affordable option or something with more bells and whistles, there’s sure to be an elliptical machine that meets your fitness needs. With their ability to provide a low-impact workout and the convenience of exercising at home, elliptical machines are an excellent choice for anyone looking fit.

With so many options available, it can be tough to decide without doing research first. But with the information in this article, you’ll be able to find an elliptical that meets your needs and helps you reach your fitness goals. Don’t forget to check out our other articles and leave your thoughts by commenting below. Thanks for reading!

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