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Elliptical Vs. Tread Climber

By Erin Askeland

The Elliptical and Treadclimber machines are pieces of exercise equipment designed to lessen the strain on joints and ligaments during cardiovascular workouts. These machines help athletes stay in shape during off-season and are useful to anyone wanting to exercise. Both machines have advantages and disadvantages that you need to consider before choosing to purchase or solely use one or the other.

The Elliptical

The Elliptical machine was patented in 2004 by Larry D. Miller and is meant to mimic the movement and workout of running. Elliptical machines provide an upper and lower body cardio workout with two standing pedals that spin like a cycle and the addition of handles that allow your arms to pump with your body. The machine keeps your body in constant motion and is considered to be a weight-bearing exercise even though it is low impact.

The Treadclimber

The Treadclimber is a method of cardiovascular work first produced by the Nautilus corporation and is now also produced by Bowflex. It is a combination of a treadmill and a stair-climber and is made of two circulating ramps that move up and down in a stepping motion that you follow with your feet. The overall movement is similar to that of the Elliptical machine with its constant, rotating motion, yet it keeps your body upright.

Pros of the Elliptical

The Elliptical machine offers a low-impact cardio workout, but it still allows you to burn a high rate of calories. It is quieter than a treadmill, so in-home users can workout with less disturbance to family or neighbors. The Elliptical helps builds stamina with continued use, and most machines come equipped with a variety of workout programs to stave off boredom. This machine can also be bought inexpensively, and some models collapse for easy storage.

Cons of the Elliptical

The Elliptical does not provide enough of a muscular workout to disregard additional weight training. Knee injuries are possible if you do not keep your hips, knees and ankles aligned. Some find the movement of the Elliptical machine to be awkward or uncomfortable, and you may not feel like you are getting enough of a workout. These machines have also been found to have an inaccurate calorie counter that overestimates the number of calories you are burning.

Pros of the Treadclimber

The Treadclimber offers a cardiovascular workout through low-impact movement which is beneficial to those who have knee or back problems. The machine is easy to use and provides interval training due to its combined forward, up and down movement. You can alter the speed, resistance and incline to customize your workout, and the Treadclimber burns more calories than either the treadmill or stair-climber alone. This machine is also compact enough to fit in most rooms.

Cons of the Treadclimber

Treadclimbers are expensive and are heavy, making it difficult to move. The machine also does not provide enough of a muscular workout to disregard additional weight training. It takes time to adjust to the movement, and the machine does not allow for longer steps or any kind of running. Because the Treadclimber has so many movable parts, it is more likely to break down and need frequent repairs which adds to the overall cost of the machine.

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