Equipment experts share their favorite low-impact gym equipment options, and explain some of the major differences in available fitness solutions designed to provide weight-bearing cardio workout alternatives. Specifically, what is the difference in traditional ellipticals vs the Cybex Arc Trainer vs the Octane Zero Runner.
First, it’s important to understand who can benefit from low-impact fitness equipment designed to help you avoid the potential for, or alleviate discomfort from, injuries in your knees, hips, back, and ankles. For example, runners, anyone recovering from an injury, people new to exercising, or people looking to maximize their workouts by mixing up their normal training routine can benefit from low-impact workouts.
“One of the more common reasons we hear people in our showrooms say they are shopping for low impact fitness equipment is that they need workout alternatives that minimize the impact experienced from running outside or on a treadmill, while still working cardio and muscle fitness levels. We also frequently help customers recovering from an injury, or just starting on a training plan, who want an effective workout with minimal stress on the body.”
Both traditional ellipticals and alternative no-impact gym equipment are great options for fitness fans of all ages and fitness levels to use to be active and break a sweat.
Additionally, runners benefit from alleviating the stress experienced in muscles, joints, and connective tissues from running; experts agree that most runners benefit from at least one non running day a week, and that injury-prone runners should avoid consecutive days of running, according to the 10 laws of injury prevention by Runner’s World.
Let’s get started.
How to purchase the best ellipticals and cross trainers for your home:
The best fitness equipment for you is the one that you feel most comfortable on.
It is important that you try various machines side-by-side to find the one that you feel best activates your muscles, and your mind, to make you want to work out.
Online reviews can be helpful, but every machine feels different to every person that uses it. So, it is important that you get on the various equipment to see what fits you – instead of you having to fit it. Learn the questions to ask before purchasing fitness equipment, to help you select the right product for your goals, budget, and space.
Traditional ellipticals vs the Arc Trainer vs the Zero runner
In addition to the well-known traditional ellipticals, newer styles of non-impact machines have emerged; providing fitness fans with additional options for low-impact home workouts.
“We are often asked rather ellipticals, the Arc Trainer, or the Zero Runner provides the most effective workout. But, we always want to remind our customers that nothing is considered better or worse. Instead, it is all about your personal preference and your unique fitness goals.”
In short – test, touch, and try equipment before you commit to it for your home gym.
Fitness Equipment Solutions: Low Impact, High Reward
Find the best elliptical and cross trainer for your home gym by exploring the key differences between traditional ellipticals, the Cybex Arc Trainer, and the Octane Zero Runner as outlined below:
- Traditional Ellipticals: The best ellipticals are designed to provide a comfortable, natural movement with the footplate moving in an oval, or ellipse pattern, without putting stress on joints. It is important to note that a cross trainer can be any fitness equipment designed to fit under the elliptical umbrella.Learn how to find the best elliptical for your specific goals and home gym with our elliptical buyer guide; designed to walk you through the questions to ask before purchasing an elliptical.
- Arc Trainer: The Cybex Arc Trainer is designed to mimic an arc pattern, eliminating added stress to knees and joints. The footplate pushes down and back, and when one plate reaches the bottom, the opposite footplate is already forward—ready to have the user’s shifting weight drive it down. Additionally, unlike traditional ellipticals, you don’t lift your heels when moving the footplate.
- Zero Runner: The Octane Zero Runner is designed with independent pedals, to provide a no-impact running solution. Ellipticals require users to follow a predefined motion, and while treadmills allow for free motion they result in impact to the body. The Zero Runner was designed to create a natural running workout, while also eliminating the harmful impact on joints.See why the Zero Runner is a celebrated as an industry leading, no impact running solution.
Which Low Impact Workouts Burn the Most Calories
Most times, treadmills are viewed as the fitness equipment that burns the most calories. However, there are a lot effective, low impact cardio workouts that give treadmills a run for their money.
For example, the Cybex Arc Trainer is a cardio machine that doubles as strength training. It provides a great calorie burn, while targeting the back of the leg muscles that we use everyday.
Using cross training features available on some ellipticals allows you to work both the upper and lower body simultaneously, recruiting more muscles for a higher caloric expenditure.
The Zero Runner provides the same benefits, and calorie burn, as running – making it a highly effective, yet low impact, workout.
How to Choose the Right Cross Trainer or Elliptical For You.
We polled equipment experts to learn the best low-impact gym equipment they recommend for home gyms. As expected, the specific equipment varied – but the focus on versatility and protection against injury remained consistent.
- “The elliptical family in general is one of, if not, your best form of cardio that is low impact. These units give less impact on the joints, when it comes to weight bearing exercises than any other. I like traditional ellipticals because you are getting the benefits of some weight bearing results without the damaging impact.”
- “My current favorites are the Cybex Arc trainer and the Octane Zero Runner. I recommend those low impact cardio pieces because I personally enjoy the workouts on that equipment, and they are the most comfortable pieces for my knees and low back.”
- “The Cybex Arc Trainer if the best overall. It puts the least amount of stress on your body and incorporates the most muscle groups.”
- “Ellipticals because they don’t involve constant pounding on your joints.”
Again, just another reason you should test equipment before committing, as the variety in responses goes to show that the best low impact exercise equipment for you depends on your personal preference and goals.
How to Choose the Best Fitness Equipment for Your Home Gym
While there is no one-size-fits-all fitness solution for every home gym, our equipment experts at your local Gym Source fitness equipment showroom will work with you to determine the must-have fitness solutions for YOU and your goals.
Still not sure where to begin? View our guide to the essential fitness equipment for every home gym. From compact spaces to new, innovative fitness solutions – learn the must-have gym equipment.
Still debating between ellipticals and Arc Trainer? View our comparison in the Arc vs Elliptical: The Real Story, here.