The elliptical is one of the most useful and versatile exercise machines by far. They allow users to get in a good workout rain or shine and are super versatile. Elliptical trainers are known for their ability to deliver an excellent cardiovascular workout but are capable of much more. These useful machines can also assist is muscle development and increase strength thanks to varying levels of resistance as well as incline levels (only present on some models). Everyone who has visited a gym has used an elliptical at one time or another but do you really know everything there is about elliptical trainers? If you are reading this, the answer is probably no. Whether you want to be a more informed user to get the most out of training or plan to purchase an elliptical for your home gym in the near future, you will soon learn a lot more about ellipticals. There are several different types of elliptical machines and each comes with various capabilities and features. Let’s briefly touch on the types available and then we will go over each one more in depth.
One type that you have probably heard of is the compact elliptical. Compact elliptical machines are ideal for small spaces with little to no room for a full sized machine. They are ideal for in home use as well as office spaces depending on the variety. Aside from their space saving design, compact ellipticals never have a rear drive. A rear drive adds bulk to an elliptical which defeats the purpose of a compact one.
Foldable elliptical trainers are another variation of compact ellipticals. They allow users to enjoy more of the features of a full sized trainer while making storage easier. Although you get the benefits of a standard sized elliptical, foldable models are lightweight. The reason for this is portability. Foldable models are easy to store and unfold for convenient use.
Front drive elliptical machines offer a distinguishable workout experience. Having the drive mechanism located at the front of the trainer is similar to using a stair climber. To be more specific, the drive mechanism is located under the front console. As the user strides, the body tends to lean forward. Front drive elliptical machines come in both standard and compact models.
Rear drive elliptical trainers better simulate walking and jogging. The drive mechanism is located at the back of the machine behind the foot pedals to deliver what many consider a more centered and balanced user experience. Like all elliptical machines, rear drive models are easy to use. Compact versions are not available.
Center drive models are the newest elliptical machines on the market. The flywheel or drive mechanism is located on either side of the machine rather than the front or rear. The central location of the flywheel makes center drive models more compact. This new design is also gaining a reputation for offering a very smooth and quiet workout.
Lastly, hybrid elliptical trainers are amazing machines. They are a cross between the elliptical we know and love and a stationary bike. Users have the option of sitting or standing and are able to easily transition between the two halves. Most hybrid models have a front drive mechanism but the placement differs from other front drive machines. The flywheel sits much closer to the user. In fact, on most models it is almost underneath which makes the user feel more centered on the machine.