Elliptical Trainer or Treadmill: Which is Better for You?

When it comes to effective aerobic exercise machines, both the elliptical trainer and treadmill provide robust indoor workouts. These machines are widely popular as they simulate natural walking and running motions.

Both the elliptical trainer and treadmill provide intensive workout sessions to boost cardio fitness and rapidly burn a huge amount of calories.

An elliptical trainer allows you to keep your feet on a platform that moves in elliptical circles. On the other hand, a treadmill enables you to walk or run on a moving belt while providing the flexibility of adjusting the speed and the incline.

As both machines provide great indoor workout options, it’s really hard to choose which machine is better between the elliptical trainer and treadmill. While both the machines feature some similarities, these have some unique differences as well.

Depending upon your physical health, workout goals, and various other factors, you can choose the one that best fits into your fitness regimen.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Treadmill

Advantages of Treadmill

  • treadmill is a versatile workout machine that allows you to control the moving belt’s speed and incline.
  • Most of the treadmills come with various training programs that allow you to choose your workout options, from a brisk walk to an uphill run.
  • A treadmill provides enhanced control over your workouts and helps you make the adjustments as per fitness goals.
  • A treadmill is a preferred choice for runners or athletes as it provides high-intensity interval training. These HIIT workouts enable you to improve cardiovascular fitness, reduce body fat, and burn calories quickly.
  • Walking or running on the treadmill strengthens calves’ muscle groups, quadriceps, leg muscles, hamstrings, hip flexors, and glutes.
  • The treadmill workouts are also used in combination with other workouts in the gym for improving body stamina and building leg strength.

Disadvantages of Treadmill

  • Doing treadmill workouts require alertness and agility as minor lapses in concentration may lead to injuries. Some of the common injuries that occur due to treadmill workouts include stress fractures, knee injuries, and shin splints.
  • Uphill walking, running, or jogging on a treadmill exerts more stress on your joints and bones than an elliptical trainer.
  • Running on the treadmill is not meant for those who prefer easier cardio workouts that feel gentler on your joints and bones.
  • Although treadmill workouts strengthen the legs muscles, these don’t target a wide range of muscle groups found in arms, chest, back, shoulders, and lower body.
  • It is harder to isolate specific muscles with a treadmill workout than an elliptical trainer.

Advantages & Disadvantages of an Elliptical Trainer

Advantages of an elliptical trainer

  • An elliptical trainer provides low-impact workouts that are easy on your joints.
  • As it puts less stress on joints, it is a safer option for individuals with musculoskeletal or health conditions like hip pain, low-back pain, knee pain, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.
  • An elliptical is an excellent workout alternative for those who find it hard to run or walk.
  • It provides excellent aerobic workouts that improve cardiovascular fitness, body composition, and physical fitness.
  • An elliptical trainer provides high-intensity workouts for individuals recovering from injuries and helps them maintain a high level of fitness.
  • Some elliptical trainer machines feature arm handles that allow you to move them back and forth while moving your legs. Thus it provides both upper and lower body workouts.
  • The elliptical trainer strengthens the upper body muscles in your chest, shoulders, and back while also strengthening the, lower body muscles such as quadriceps, glutes, and hip flexors.
  • With an elliptical trainer, you can enjoy the option to work on different muscles as it can work backwards by switching directions. This helps in strengthening your calves and hamstrings when you move backwards.

Disadvantages of an elliptical trainer 

  • Doing workouts on an elliptical trainer requires a bit of training. In the beginning, your movements may feel unnatural, and you may need a certified personal trainer for assistance.
  • An elliptical trainer provides excellent low-impact aerobic workouts; however, it may not result in similar muscle development like a treadmill.
  • You may require additional weight or strength training if you want to gain more muscle strength along with elliptical trainer workouts.

How to pick between Elliptical trainer and Treadmill?

Deciding between a treadmill and an elliptical depends on various factors, including your fitness goals and fitness levels.

Both machines provide excellent cardiovascular workouts and are suitable for burning extra calories. However, they have some unique benefits.

Choose the elliptical trainer if you have a musculoskeletal condition or if you are prone to injuries.

It provides a low-impact workout without causing much stress on your joints and bones. It drastically reduces the risk of injuries. It offers a full-body workout.

Pick a treadmill if you have a specific fitness goal like training for a 5K marathon race. It is an ideal choice for cardiovascular workouts if you are not prone to joint or bone injuries.

If you want to build strength in glutes and leg muscles, a treadmill works great for you.


Both the treadmill and elliptical trainer are effective machines for burning excess calories and providing intensive cardiovascular workouts. You can pick any one of them as per your individual fitness goals and health conditions.

Choose a treadmill if your primary goal is to build leg strength, increase agility and speed, and burn many calories. However, if you are injury-prone or suffering from a musculoskeletal condition, going with an elliptical trainer is ideal.

If you are preparing for a marathon or looking for sports training, then a treadmill is the ideal choice as it mimics the natural movement of the body. In comparison, the elliptical trainer with lower-impact workouts is a safer alternative for individuals with knee, ankle, and hip issues.


Preksha is passionate about writing articles that will inspire readers to make better choices. You will find her eating desserts for lunch, dinner and any time of the day. Also, she is the chief playlist engineer for any road trip.

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