Elliptical Features And Functions – Are They Really Worth The Price?

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By Natalie Martin

Elliptical machines can come with a variety of features and functions that are designed to improve your experience. Some of them can help improve the effectiveness of your workouts, while others are geared towards ensuring you stay comfortable. When you are looking through the long list of available options deciding which ones you need is often confusing, especially if this is your first time using an elliptical. In some cases you might be tempted to just choose one that is “fully loaded”, but this will also affect its price. While we can’t choose the features and functions for you, we can help you decide if the various options are really worth the price.


Elliptical Features and Functions


While you can lower the price of an elliptical dramatically by foregoing many of the available extras, this could also affect your workout. Even though you probably won’t need to use every available feature, there will be some that can help improve the effectiveness of your workout. Before you decide to purchase an elliptical with all, some or none of these extras it is recommended that you at least familiarize yourself with them. This will make it easier to choose the best elliptical machine for you.


Must Have Features


  • Most ellipticals will allow you to adjust the incline, but it is something that you will want to check for. This will allow you to work various groups of muscles, and even increase intensity.


  • Not all ellipticals come with adjustable resistance, and this is a feature most experienced trainers recommend. Not only does this ensure that the cardio workouts are always challenging, but it can also prevent injury. If you truly want to get the most out of your workout, you will want to be able to adjust the resistance.


  • There are a couple of reasons why you want to be able to adjust the stride length on an elliptical. Longer stride lengths can burn more calories, and this can mean that you will see results faster. Being able to adjust the length of your stride can also help prevent stress and strain on your knees, and allow the elliptical to be safely used by more than one person regardless of their height.


  • Another “must have” feature that comes standard on most top rated exercise machines is a bright LCD display. This is important if you want to be able to keep track of your stats while you are training. It also makes it easier to navigate through the menu when you can see the screen so you can make adjustments to your settings as needed.

Elliptical Features and Functions


Nice to Have Features and Functions


These features might not be necessary for everyone, but   they are often nice to have. Your fitness goals and budget will help you decide which ones you really need in order to get the most out of your elliptical workout.


  • If you want to work various muscle groups and prevent plateaus, an elliptical that comes with a reverse motion might be a good choice for you. While this feature isn’t standard, you can find it on most top rated elliptical machines.


  • While all ellipticals will track time, distance, speed and number of calories burned, some can also monitor your heart rate. This makes it a little easier to keep track of your progress since you can see where your heart rate was highest during your workout. It also shows you where you might want to make some changes to your exercise routine to ensure you are getting maximum results.


  • Ellipticals that come with preprogrammed workouts or courses are always convenient. All you need to do is press a button and the machine will set the pace and time for you. This can also help prevent boredom since you won’t have to perform the same workout every time you step onto the elliptical machine. The number of preprogrammed workouts will vary according to the manufacturer, along with the price of the elliptical. If you are planning on making this your “go to” exercise machine for years, it probably will be worth it to spend on the money on one that comes with 10 or more programs.


Some other features that you might want the elliptical to come with can include a smooth and quiet operation so you can exercise without disturbing others. If there are small children around, locking pedals might be a safety feature that you won’t want the elliptical to come without.

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