Elliptical Or Treadmill For Performing Full Body Exercise

Treadmill vs Elliptical

If you are someone who is interested in a full body exercise and are looking for a perfect gym or home gym machine to help you achieve that, then two of your best options are treadmills and elliptical machines.

The elliptical and the treadmill are two best and most common fitness machines used in gyms. Both these machines are easily available at gyms, easy to use and highly effective. These machines allow you to burn fat and offer an excellent cardiovascular workout. Elliptical or treadmill, the choice is made according to the needs and objectives of each.

But which of these is the better option for a performing a full body workout? Well, the following given comparison will help you understand.

Both treadmills and elliptical machines are cardio machines which help you burn calories and help you to improve your aerobic exercises. But where on one hand treadmills offer more of versatility in terms of multiple training options, speed and incline, elliptical may offer fewer options. Hence in terms of versatility, treadmills are a better option.

Advantages of Treadmills

Treadmills are a better option even in terms of the fact that they can be adjusted to achieve different benefits and outcomes. For example, this machine can be used for weight loss, steep climbing, interval training and can be customized in many more ways. On the other hand, an elliptical machine allows you to cross train which means that it can be used for both an upper body workout as well as a lower body workout. Most elliptical machines have the option to choose whether you wish to work your back and biceps or triceps and chest.

Great for cardio

The treadmill, a cardio machine that is very popular with running enthusiasts, reproduces the movements of running. The user is in conditions similar to running in the open air, although there is no wind resistance. It also allows the user to control all the parameters necessary to optimize the training.

The user can precisely modify his pace to prepare for upcoming events, but also monitor second by second the progress of his heart rate and caloric consumption. Finally, the treadmill offers the runner the advantage of not having to carry anything. They can leave their drink and towel nearby without having to worry about it.

Calorie burn

With a full-body workout like an elliptical trainer, caloric consumption is obviously very high. However, if you’re wondering which of the two (treadmill or elliptical) wins in calorie burning issues, you should know that it’s the treadmill. This simply has to do with the fact that the elliptical helps the body to some extent. In the case of the treadmill, you must always move your entire body weight. This requires greater strength and therefore burns a greater number of calories. Anyway, this will always depend on the intensity, whether on the treadmill or the elliptical bike. If you walk very slowly on the treadmill and on the elliptical you perform a high-intensity HIIT workout, you will obviously burn more calories on the elliptical bike.


A treadmill is one fitness machines which simulates walking or running in the most natural way and emulates the natural movements. On the other hand, an elliptical may not emulate the natural movement but does offer the option of striding in the reverse direction. This reverse stride can help you activate different muscle groups in the body. Reverse strides put more emphasis on quads and thus offer an adjustable variety mid-workout.

In the case of a treadmill, propelling your body weight needs you to make put in more of an effort. Due to this reason, the body ends up burning more calories. On the other hand, in the case of an elliptical machine, the exertion felt is lower however the amount of calories burned are same as in the case of a treadmill. An elliptical allows your body to emulate a motion of running without really causing a strenuous impact on your joints, unlike in the case of treadmill.

Read also: Cardio Or Strength training – Which is Better for Reducing Belly Fat?

Drawbacks of Treadmill

Running is a high impact activity. Constantly running on the treadmill belt can cause joint damage. The treadmill is more likely to cause injury than those who use it the least. Although it is less traumatic for the knees than asphalt, repeated use of the treadmill can lead to pain or inflammation. In treadmill You don’t get your whole body to work out. In fact, only the lower body does.

The size of the running track varies from one Treadmill to another. This can cause postural changes for some people if it is too narrow for them. In the long run, this can lead to postural problems and even muscle imbalances.

Advantages of Elliptical

If the elliptical trainer has had great success in gyms in the last decade, relegating the step and eating a good portion of ground to exercise bikes, it is because it is a very affordable device for all ages, many advantages for people who can not be exposed to rough sports but who want to continue exercising intensely.

No impacts on joints

When it comes to comparing impact on joints by elliptical and treadmill, it is clear that your joint suffer less on elliptical. There is no doubt that one of the main benefits of the elliptical trainer for the body is that it allows you to exercise without causing impact on the joints. This means, above all, protecting your joints without the risk of impact injuries. And if you already have joint problems due to age, overweight or previous injuries, it is essential to exercise in a way that allows you to protect them.

Cross training

The term “cross-training” often refers to the “cross-training motion” that is reflected on the elliptical. But we’d better leave that cross-training aside. What we mean by “cross-training” is rather the integration of the arms. The muscle building effect on the arms and back is overrated. However, by moving the arms, the whole body is put into action, which means a higher calorie burn.

Weight loss

The elliptical is a fantastic tool to help you lose weight. Mainly because you can burn a large number of calories without feeling like you are working too hard. You also have to take into account the benefits of the elliptical for cellulite, as this high calorie burn allows you to burn fat. To do this you must exercise daily in sessions of at least 30 minutes.

It is also important to value that it is an exercise that favors the mobilization of adipose deposits and water retained by the body for better elimination.

Drawbacks of Elliptical

While elliptical bikes are quite popular due to the simplicity of their use, this could translate into a disadvantage for some users. It hardly allows us to be in control of our exercise, as the bike guides all our movements, resulting in a somewhat boring routine after 30 minutes.

When exercising on elliptical bikes, some people may experience drawbacks, including incorrect posture that can affect the back, and a more limited range of motion. Many of these machines cannot be adjusted according to the height of the user in question.

Treadmill or Elliptical : which to choose?

The elliptical is effective in improving cardiovascular health with minimal impact on the joints. The treadmill is more versatile, but if you have an injury, the elliptical is better. It would be best to combine the two machines when training because, as I mentioned, both have their pros and cons, and allow for very complete movements and exercises. When it comes to burning calories, they are both very similar.

The elliptical works 80% of the muscles in the body. A person works their biceps, triceps, abs, glutes, lumbar, and many lower body muscles. The treadmill, on the other hand, does not use the upper body muscles. Thus, it mainly solicits the lower limbs and a person wishing to train with a treadmill will have to complete his sessions with other exercises allowing to build up the upper body.

The treadmill and elliptical may look very similar, but neither the type of exercise we get nor the benefits we get from them are the same. Of course, both are a good option for working out inside an apartment.


It is hard to make a comparison between the two machines as far as a full body workout is concerned.  If you’re an avid, simple, old-fashioned runner, then the treadmill may be the gym partner you need. But if you also want to focus on your upper body muscles, with less impact on your joints, using the elliptical machine will give you better results than a treadmill. For a more holistic, playful and inspiring approach to exercise and wellness, it would be very advantageous to incorporate both into your workout regimen.

A fitness machine such as a NordicTrack treadmill is a better cardiovascular machine for those who wish to improve their cardiovascular health with minimal work. But an elliptical like BowFlex Max is better for those who wish to have a high intensity interval training. But treadmills are much more versatile and hence better machines for full body exercising and hence you must pick it when comparing both.


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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