Treadmill vs. Elliptical for Toning?

Treadmill vs. Elliptical for Toning
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Treadmills have been around much longer than elliptical trainers, and many people invested in treadmills for their homes so that they could exercise at home when and as they pleased.

Many joggers, runners, and walker started using treadmills instead of having to go on the road or to the local park. Why would you want to face the dangers of the world when you could train in the comfort of your home or gym?

Once the elliptical trainers started becoming more popular, more people were choosing the elliptical trainer over a treadmill. Elliptical trainers are less expensive than treadmills and more affordable and accessible than treadmills. Elliptical trainers have less impact on the joints, so it is often a more comfortable exercise choice for many.

With a treadmill you are simply running or walking on a moving belt, imitating the natural stride and impact of walking, or running. With an elliptical trainer, you have the motion of walking or running, but because your feet never leave the pedals, there is the very low impact on the joints.

top choices of cardio equipment

Both have their pros and cons and they are easily the two top choices of cardio equipment, especially for home use. Each has its drawbacks and its unique features, however, at the end of the day they are more or less the same; both target the lower body and are great for toning in the lower body area. What may just give the elliptical trainer the upper hand is that the trainers that have movable arms also target the upper body for a complete workout.

To conclude which is better for toning, we will need to take more of an in-depth look at the two machines and what they offer. The treadmill is versatile and mostly comes with preset programs and an automatic incline that adds to the intensity of your workout. When using the treadmill for either running or walking, you are emulating your natural movement and stride which could be more comfortable for some. The downside is the high impact that this has on your joints.

Running at a higher speed will give you more of a cardio workout and burn more calories than running at a lower more consistent speed. In order for the treadmill to be effective in weight loss and toning, you will need to be at a fitness level that allows you to run at a fast pace over a longer period of time. Remember: If you are not feeling the burn you are not burning the calories.

The treadmill will only be a better option for you if you are a seasoned runner or jogger that can keep up the pace, without injury. Some people find it difficult to run or walk on a treadmill which could lead to injury.

elliptical trainer1

With the elliptical trainer, you are still emulating the motion and stride of walking or running, the difference is that there is the very little impact on your joints. If you have a good elliptical cross trainer you have the added advantage of moveable arms.

This adds to the intensity of your workout and targets your upper as well as your lower body: a full body workout in one machine. Many elliptical trainers are able to pedal forwards as well as backward. The backward motion will again target a different group of muscles.

Depending on the model of elliptical trainer you choose, they also offer preset programs offering you different levels of intensity and variety in your workout. The great thing about elliptical trainers is that you are training harder than you think you are because you have less impact on the joints you feel more comfortable than you would on a treadmill.

Treadmill vs Elliptical for Toning?

In conclusion, I would have to say that the treadmill and the elliptical trainer are in many ways very similar and offer you similar muscle toning. What would set the two apart would be the model of the elliptical trainer that is best for you.

In some of the expensive and more feature-packed elliptical trainer models you get more of a full body workout than what you would get on a treadmill. However, an entry-level elliptical trainer that does not have moveable arms or the ability to pedal backward would be on par with your average treadmill and give you the same muscle toning.


A big part of which is more effective would also depend on personal preference. If you suffer from joint injuries, aches or pains a treadmill will just be too uncomfortable for you to use and the elliptical trainer will be a far better choice to use for muscle toning.

Both are great machines and have many advantages, but the ultimate winner would come down to personal preference and what is best for you.

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