Elliptical cross trainers are excellent fitness machines for individuals who may be suffering from joint problems in the knee and the feet. These are largely considered as non-impact cardiovascular trainers in that your feet are actually firmly planted on a pedal, eliminating the risk of impact injuries typically found in treadmill running or walking.
But don’t get me wrong, these machines can still simulate running and walking, but with the addition of simulating stair climbing. Because of its non-impact nature, an elliptical trainer is a favourite among folks with musculoskeletal injuries or reduced cardiovascular functioning.
Choosing the best elliptical trainer is, thus important as you don’t want to end up with further injuries or if you want to work more muscle groups while also improving cardiovascular functioning. However, picking the right elliptical trainer with various resistance levels, exceptional build quality, robust programme features, and excellent biomechanical value can be daunting especially now that the market is inundated with products that eerily look the same. Sadly, we all know what this means. Right in the midst of these products are elliptical trainers that are below par. Of course, on the bright side, it also means there are true gems of an elliptical trainer.
So how do you pick the best mac in Australia to bring home this 2018? Well, let’s just say I’ve been fortunate enough to be given a chance to evaluate 4 of the best cross-trainers in this part of the globe. And I’m sharing these all with you (you can check out the individual reviews by clicking the Read Full Review for more in-depth information)
- 1 Top 4 Elliptical Cross Trainers in Australia
- 2 Different Types of Elliptical Trainers
- 3 How Much Does an Elliptical Trainer Typically Cost?
- 4 Features that You Would Want to Consider Before Buying an Elliptical Trainer
- 5 Final Thoughts
Top 4 Elliptical Cross Trainers in Australia
Different Types of Elliptical Trainers
One of the things you need to understand before buying any elliptical trainer is that there are quite a number of different types. These are essentially categorised into three, depending on the location of the equipment’s motor, also known as the drive.
The very first designs of the elliptical trainer came with flywheels located in the rear. That is why they called such devices as rear drive xtrainers. These types of trainers are considered by many in the medical profession to offer a more injury-free and more natural running movement and as such they are often recommended for individuals with chronic problems of the joints. These have fewer moving parts and as such, should they break, they are a lot easier to repair and less expensive, too. Unfortunately, they are quite outdated and many of the current rear drive elliptical trainers are priced higher than front driving machines or even the centre drives.
As the name implies, these types of machines have their flywheels located in the front of the equipment. Since the flywheel is directly in front it has the characteristic tendency to ‘climb’ because of its larger slope angle, making it exceptional for those who prefer to ‘climb’ than to ‘run’ or ‘walk’.
Front drive ellipticals are less expensive than rear drive units and come with a rather slim and sleek profile, giving it easy storage options. The problem? Well, front drive ellipticals come with more moving parts so they are more expensive to repair if broken. Also, cleaning and maintenance can be real issues.
You can think of the centre drive elliptical as a great marriage between the two previous designs of the gym equipment. This is a rather new technology so its full benefits have yet to be really cemented in the real world. Nevertheless, proponents of the centre drive elliptical trainer say that you’d feel more upright when standing on the deck, providing for a more comfortable experience.
There are also exercise experts who say that it allows you to burn more calories since you’re essentially working with your legs and not holding onto any rail. They are designed to be compact, too. The issue is that they don’t have an incline so if you are looking to train different muscle groups, you can forget the centre drive option.
How Much Does an Elliptical Trainer Typically Cost?
The price of an elliptical trainer typically depends on a host of factors including the materials used in its construction, the integrated computers and other useful features, as well as the primary intended application, whether it is for commercial use or for home use only. Of course, you’d expect those units for professional gyms to cost more. Anyway, here’s your typical price guide to ellipticals.
- Less than $800 – You can look at these as entry-level elliptical machines that typically come with a short stride and a simple yet fully functional console. They typically have low weight capacity and are designed with light duty frames. However, there are also those products that belong to this price range yet come with more advanced and better features only seen in higher-priced models.
- Between $800 and $1,200 – These typically have a fixed stride length that can range anywhere from short to medium. The frame and console are definitely several notches better than entry-level units.
- Between $1,200 and $2,000 – You’d expect most gyms to have any one of these types of ellipticals. These are solid all-around performers with fully adjustable stride length, good console, and good biomechanics, too. The frame can be considered as definitely strong.
- More than $2,000 – These are premium quality equipment that are rich in features, built with a heavy duty frame, and come with all the good things money can buy.
Features that You Would Want to Consider Before Buying an Elliptical Trainer
Choosing the best elliptical trainer entails choosing the type of drive plus the amount of money you’re willing to pay for it. However, these are just two considerations. Here are a few more things to consider before buying an elliptical trainer.
It is quite self-explanatory. You need a platform that will never give up on your fitness needs. You need a machine that will last a long time regardless of how frequent you use it or even if a whole lot of different folks will also be trying it out. Traditionally, heavier equipment afforded the best stability. However, with advances in materials technology and design, you can expect even lightweight designs to give you exceptional stability.
This pertains to how well your body moves in relation to the movement of the various components of the machine. The idea is to move in a normal fashion so, if you are going to simulate running, then your strides should be longer. Walking, on the other hand, will be shorter. The point is that you should feel and move as natural as possible.
Of course, if you really want to develop or train several groups of muscles at a time, then it is imperative that you apply some form of resistance. But, more on that in a while. Suffice it to say, you need to choose an elliptical equipment that can give you good biomechanics.
Levels and types of tension or resistance
Most elliptical trainers come in one of two types of resistance: magnetic and fan wheel. Magnetic resistance provide the most natural of workouts while giving you a quitter and more consistent performance. On the other hand, fan wheels tend to provide a smoother glide and are typically found in less expensive machines. Regardless of the type of resistance, what is important is its adjustability. This way you can fine-tune the level of resistance that you desire to achieve optimum results.
It is quite rare to get an elliptical trainer without an onboard computer. That said, you should always check out the display. Personally, I would go for something really large for ease of viewing while the backlighting should also be gentle on the eyes. Another aspect of the onboard computer is the various data that it provides.
Typically, elliptical trainers provide distance, time, and speed as the basics. If it can provide you more information, then it would definitely be a good choice. If the equipment also comes with pre-programmed workouts, then you will also give this due consideration especially if you’re looking to rev up your fitness needs.
Angle of incline
Some trainers come fixed so you cannot really change the degree of its incline. This is okay if you are only going to use it for the usual running and walking simulations. But, if you’re looking to strengthen and develop certain groups of muscles, then a fully adjustable incline should do the trick. These typically come in two forms: automatic and manual. Honestly, I’d want you to pick the automatic.
Taller individuals will have longer strides so you’ve got to choose a trainer that has long stride length, typically in the 46 to 60 centimetre range. Here’s the thing, if you’re not sure about your stride length, better get a machine with fully adjustable stride length. That should eliminate the hassle of determining whether the stride length of the machine is for you.
The flywheel is one of the most important parts of the elliptical trainer. As such, you don’t want something that is really flimsy. Here’s a tip: the heavier the flywheel the smoother the operation of the trainer. At the very minimum, you should get a flywheel that weighs not less than 7 kilograms.
Choosing the best elliptical trainer to buy in Australia this 2018 can be tricky. However, if you take heed of these tips, from the type of ellipticals to the price range of different machines to the other considerations in picking the right training equipment for you, you can always feel more confident about buying the best one for your personal needs.