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What ellipticals are used in gyms

Looking to lose some weight? Or build upon your stamina and endurance?

Then the cardio section is what you are looking for at the gym.

One of the newcomers to the long-established cardiovascular exercise machine lineup is the Elliptical. Rapidly rising in popularity, the elliptical is making waves in gyms and fitness clubs of all levels.

One of the main points of attraction of the elliptical is its modern innovative design. Unlike the traditional treadmill or stationary bike, the variety of design and technology of the elliptical is second to none. So what are the most prevalent elliptical machines in use at gyms around the world today?

What ellipticals are used in gyms

                                              The elliptical is a staple cardio machine at any gym

Some of the top Ellipticals to use at the gym:

  • Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical

    The E95 prioritizes comfort above all else. Its oversized foot pedals are designed with the help of physical therapists to give you a natural stride. It offers many different fitness settings customizable to your needs.

  • Sole Fitness E35

    Stopping at just under $1000, the E25 is a top-quality elliptical machine. Designed and produced by physical therapists, the pedals exert little to no strain on your joints and ankles. Also features 20 levels of resistance for workout variance.

    ➥ If you happen to be on a budget, then have a look at the Elliptical machines available under $1000

  • Bowflex BXE116

    A top of the line elliptical, the EXE116 features a sophisticated console with customizable programs. A Switch Select pedal technology helps to easily adjust angles for maximum muscle activation.

  • Schwinn 470

    A great mid-range elliptical, the Schwinn 470 will help you shred tons of fat with its highly customizable workout settings catered to your needs. With wireless access from your phone, the machine provides you with the company’s app to help you try out its whopping 29 different models of workouts!

  • Nautilus E616

    This model of Nautilus comes loaded with 29 different workout programs. The resistance is customizable to 25 levels. The machine also allows Bluetooth access to its World App.

  • NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i

    The SE9i saves space by being able to fold and to be stored easily. Also features 30 different workout programs with iFit enabled.

  • Precor AMT 835

    Includes the Open Stride feature allowing you to adjust the height of the pedals, allowing you to engage in a more fulfilling workout session.

    ➥ Here, we’ve thoroughly listed the prices of the different tier of Precor ellipticals, for your convenience.

  • Octane Fitness ZR7 Zero Runner

    Completely self-powered, the ZR7 features a wide spectrum of stride lengths. Not to mention its unique design is sure to wow everyone at your home or the gym.

Ellipticals at the gym compared to ellipticals used at home

Before we dive into the heavy-hitters that are the commercial-grade elliptical, let us first talk about the “younger brother” or the “light-commercial” variant of it.

The light-commercial variation of the elliptical was originally produced for non-membership gyms, hotels, or condominiums. These ellipticals usually have a warranty of up to 3 hours of intense use daily. These are not meant for heavy use, but more for a higher standard recreational one. But compared to residential ellipticals, these are built with sturdier materials and offer highly customizable features like incline, resistances, wireless connectivity among others. Nowadays, buyers looking to create a home gym with enough cash to spare a look at this line of the elliptical as potential additions. Because people can now appreciate the long-term value that these highly durable fitness machines deliver in the long run.

The commercial-grade elliptical simply has all the features of its “light-commercial” variant, and so much more. The manufacturers have come to realize the potential these ellipticals are for the residential market and are now offering you to be able to bring one home for yourself.

The commercial elliptical is manufactured with heavy and intense usage in mind. Made with industrial-grade materials, these ellipticals can withstand up to 6-8 hours of high-intensity workouts daily. These machines are a staple at most membership gyms as they provide the only source of low-impact total body exercise available to athletes and professionals outside of maybe the swimming pool.

The advantages of owning a commercial elliptical are numerous. Most of these can be boiled down to the features it provides:

– A wide range of adjustable Resistance Levels
– Pre-Defined and/or highly Customizable Workout Programs
Adjustable Stride Lengths
– Highly Durable Parts and Frame
– Low Maintenance

All of these features crank up the price by quite a bit. But the craftsmanship and the chance to get the same premium quality of exercise that you would get at a gym can now be obtained at home. We believe that you can definitely put it under consideration.

commercial elliptical

                                                               Commercial-Grade Elliptical

Style of ellipticals

1. Center drive

The center-drive elliptical is fairly new to the scene. Most changes are in the design department with a focus on the back health of the body. It gets rid of the large flywheel and transfers the drive mechanism to either side of the pedals.

As the name suggests, the center-drive elliptical focuses on keeping you centered on the machine, which means that you no longer have to lean on the handrails for balance as you might have done on some cheaper rear-drives. This also provides a natural balance for the body and enables you to stand more upright on the machine, removing stress from your back and hips and correcting posture.

Without the presence of the flywheel, the pedals of the center-drive are much closer together making the build of the machine much more compact. If you have a smaller area at home for an elliptical, the center drive could be your choice.

The only drawback of the center-drive would be the missing ramp or incline. The ramp enables you to adjust the incline of the elliptical for a more variable and challenging workout. That is not possible with the center-drive machine.

center drive

                             Center Drive Elliptical | Credit: nordictrackellipticalblog.com

2. Front-drive

The front-drive elliptical has its large flywheel housed at the front of the machine. It has a simple and basic design and is slightly more compact than the rear-drives. This is reflected by its price which tends to be usually lower, but not by much, than other types of ellipticals.

The front-drive usually has more adjustable incline options than its counterparts, since the flywheel positioning may make you feel like you are walking uphill. But because of this natural incline, you may have to lean in more on the handles.

The front-drive usually uses more parts to create movement than any other type. This could mean a higher maintenance point and can be prone to vibrate more creating noise.

front drive

                       Front-Drive Elliptical | Credit: ellipticalreviewguru.com

3. Rear-drive

The rear-drive elliptical is possibly the most commonly used drive type in the market. It has a smaller flywheel located at the back of the machine making it the longest, if not the largest, variant of the elliptical.

The rear-drive’s popularity stems from having a more natural feel to its movement. The elliptical path the pedals take is flatter and smoother than other types, which almost perfectly simulates walking or jogging on flat, solid ground. The incline is adjustable, but not as steep as the front-drive system.

Maintenance of the rear-drive is easier due to having fewer parts involved in creating movement. This also means that the machine is quieter.



rear drive

                         Rear-Drive Elliptical | Credit: ellipticalninja.com

➥ Here, you’ll get to know more about the type of elliptical machine lineup available for you.

Why use ellipticals at the gym?

  1. Aids in boosting stamina & cardio capacity

    A well-balanced exercise routine will always include a cardiovascular or aerobic exercise (cardio). The elliptical trainer is primarily designed to provide you with a good cardio workout without putting stress on your joints (low-impact). Whether it be steadily paced or a high-intensity burst (HIIT), any form of good cardio workout can strengthen your muscles, heart, and lungs. This further contributes to raising your stamina and endurance levels. And it is all possible with an elliptical.

  2. Serves both lower & upper body workouts

    The elliptical is a cross-trainer. With the presence of movable handles, you can target both upper body and lower body muscles during a workout. The elliptical targets your hamstrings, glutes, quads, biceps, triceps, chest, back, and core muscles. The machine achieves this by distributing the resistance of the machine and your bodyweight evenly.

    ➥ Choosing any of these Elliptical cross trainers combo will enable you to have a full-body workout

  3. Ideal for recuperating from injuries

    The elliptical offers low-impact exercise that puts little to no stress on your bones and joints. Especially when compared to jogging, running, or jumping. The elliptical will help you maintain your fitness during or after injury because of the low stress it puts on your body, even help you win back to your full range of motion.

  4. Helps in burning sufficient calories

    The elliptical is known to burn 270-400 calories with a 30-minute workout session. This factor depends on your body weight, speed, and intensity of the session. Just increasing the intensity of your workout will enable you to burn more calories.

  5. Targets your leg muscles

    The elliptical trainer’s adjustable incline and resistance allow you to target specific lower body muscles for toning. Since the pedals can also go in reverse, you can focus on both anterior (forward) and posterior (backward) leg muscles.

  6. Improves your balance

    Letting go of the handles and standing up straight on the elliptical will allow you to target your core muscles. This encourages your body to have better balance.

  7. Easy on your joints

    The elliptical is a low impact workout machine. Your feet are always planted on the pedals of the elliptical, significantly reducing the contact force you experience during a workout. Using an elliptical saves your joints from the wear and tear you would experience from a high-impact workout, like running or jumping.

  8. Burns body fat

    Burning body fat is the primary goal of any cardio machine, and the elliptical does it well. The machine’s design and sturdiness allow you to raise your workout intensity and even perform short bursts (suggested around 30 seconds) of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to maximize your calorie burn.

  9. Offers options

    An elliptical is pre-installed with various features like exercise routines, interval training, and even customizable workout plans.

  10. Easy to use

    The elliptical may look foreign to people as it is a daily new type of exercise machine. But once you get on it, you will find that operating an elliptical is fairly easy. Our advice is to use the foot pedals only when starting, later combine the foot movement with the handles once you get used to the pedals.

    ➥ Want to know more about the benefits of elliptical cross trainer usage?

Must-have Features

  • Smooth motion

    While operating the pedals, your feet should feel comfortable without any jerky motions. The pedals should not disrupt each other’s, and your, movement. The flywheel should be heavy enough to allow the pedals to move quietly and smoothly.

  • Adjustable incline

    Having the ability to adjust the ramps can add variance to your workout routine, even though it is optional. For some machines, the adjustments to the incline are made manually, while others feature an automatic option.

  • Length of the stride

    The stride length of an elliptical can vary from 14 inches to 21 inches. Go for the one that suits you best. Some machines offer adjustable stride lengths, which could be a good option if the machine is going to be used by multiple people.

  • The quiet factor

    You definitely do not want your machine to be sounding like a diesel engine, especially if you have early morning workouts planned. Pay close attention to the fitting of the parts.

  • Adjustable resistance

    Adjustable resistance is a must-have in any workout machine. All levels of resistance offered should be noticeable during change, with the lowest being very easy and the 75th percent of resistance should provide some challenge.

  • Comfort for the upper body

    Ensure that you are comfortable with the handgrip movement.


                                                            Source: americangearguide.com

F. A. Q.s

Q1. What brand elliptical do gyms use?

Ans.: Gyms usually go for commercial-grade elliptical trainers to withstand the intense workload that each machine will be going through. From our research we have found out that the most popular brands of elliptical machines they use are:

  • Octane Fitness
  • Life Fitness
  • Sole Fitness
  • Precor
  • Nordic Track
  • Cybex
  • Schwinn
  • Bowflex

Q2. How do I use the elliptical at the gym?

Ans.: The elliptical may seem foreign and intimidating when you first lay eyes on it. But operating it can be very simple if you follow these steps:

– Hold the stationary handles in the middle for support before placing your feet on the pedals.
– Place your hands on the moving handles (if any) after you feel stable and comfortable on the pedals.
– There are no set speeds on the elliptical (unlike the treadmill), the machine will follow at your own pace. So start slow, and pick up speed as necessary.
– When you are ready to finish your session, gradually lower your speed and grab onto the stationary handles for safety.
– Once the machine stops completely, carefully get off.

Q3. Are ellipticals good for working out?

Ans.: The elliptical trainer is gradually becoming one of the most popular cardio workout machines, at the gym or home. And with good reason:

  • They help you burn a lot of calories. As high as 400 calories every 30 minutes!
  • You will see a significant boost to your stamina and endurance after using the elliptical for a while (cardio workout)
  • It is a low-impact exercise machine, meaning your joints are safe from wear and tear in the long run.
  • You will get a total body workout thanks to the combination of moving handles and pedals.
  • Most elliptical trainers are installed with a variety of workout routines to help you on your way.


The elliptical is a great choice as a cardio machine for all levels of fitness enthusiasts. Just including the elliptical in your cardio session can help to boost your stamina and endurance on top of burning those persistent layers of fat. All this can be done without the fear of injury due to its low-impact design. No wonder it is becoming such a popular hit at gyms today. Whether it be front, rear, or center-drive; stationary or movable handles, the types of elliptical trainers are great. That fact is only beaten by the benefits it provides.

So, if you happen to find an elliptical trainer free at your gym at peak time (doubtful!), don’t be shy, get on it and start pedaling away. The payoff is guaranteed!

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Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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