When shopping for the perfect elliptical trainer for your home gym or fitness studio, the number of features to consider can be overwhelming. At Gym Source, we’ve found that it helps to narrow your focus.
That said, there’s one consideration that trumps all others when it comes to purchasing your perfect elliptical: Fit. Look for the elliptical that fits you best.
Your stride length is a huge consideration in finding the ideal elliptical fit. The length of your running and walking stride (and there is a huge difference between those two numbers) dictates a lot. Most of all, make certain the elliptical you’re considering can be adjusted to accommodate your most comfortable walking and running stride alike:
Measure your stride length: Take a tape measure and run it along the floor for a few feet. Start off standing at one end and then take a few steps in your normal gait, or run the length of the whole tape, while someone marks where your feet land. It’s that simple.
Be wary of older, pre-owned equipment: Many older elliptical trainers can’t be adjusted, making them uncomfortable at best—and increasing your risk of injury, at worst—should your height, weight and stride length not fall within the bounds of ‘typical.’
Thankfully, reputable elliptical manufacturers understand the importance of stride length. Octane has devised the Hip Indexing Pivot, now a standard industry protocol when sizing elliptical trainers to individual users. The company’s celebrated Q47 elliptical trainer allows for automatic stride length adjustment based on user height and weight, ensuring that the machine is sized and calibrated precisely.
A second important data point when choosing an elliptical is your activity level. Put simply, how often will you use it? The size of your elliptical trainer should match your activity level. A high-quality, moderately-priced elliptical like the TRUE M30 Elliptical Trainer is a nice option if you’re planning to use it weekly for rehab purposes; while a Cybex 525 Arc Trainer may be a better fit if you’re committed to using it daily for :30 minutes of cardio training before work.
What’s more, when considering your activity level, consider the maximum weight limit of the elliptical you want to purchase. Greater activity puts more stress on the machine, and a higher maximum user weight can mean greater machine stability over time (and ultimately, machine longevity), particularly if you plan to use it intensely.
In the end, the advice for purchasing the right elliptical holds true with any quality fitness equipment: Buy the machine that fits best, and chances are that’s your best elliptical.