Elliptical machines are a great way to get a cardio workout in with a low impact on your joints. The trainer models come in 3 main designs, so you can choose the one that is most comfortable for you.
The three designs of elliptical trainers to choose from are: the older rear drive elliptical, the second-generation front drive elliptical and the latest designs are the center drive elliptical.
So, what are the differences between the 4 different types of ellipticals? Which is the best one to buy and put in your home?
Different Elliptical Types Explained
If you’re looking for a workout that’s easy on your joints, an elliptical machine may be a good option. There are different types of elliptical machines, each with its features and benefits.
Here’s a look at some of the different types of elliptical machines to help you decide which one is right for you.
Rear Drive Elliptical Machines
A rear-drive elliptical machine is a type of elliptical machine that has a flywheel located at the back of the machine.
With the flywheel at the rear, the trainer tends to have a more biomechanical motion and a more natural feel.
This design is a more comfortable and natural feeling than front-drive ellipticals, as it more closely mimics walking or running.
Operating on free-rolling bearings, the rear-drive trainers have much less wear and tear and thus require less maintenance.
This type of elliptical machine lets you exercise in a forward position with a good posture. This type of position will result in more effective training.
Additionally, rear-drive elliptical machines often have a larger footprint, making them better suited for use in commercial settings. However, they can also be quite expensive compared to other types of ellipticals.
Front Drive Elliptical Machines
A front-drive elliptical machine is a piece of exercise equipment that allows you to simulate walking, running or stair climbing. The pedals are in front of you, as opposed to behind you like on a rear-drive traditional elliptical machine.
The front drive elliptical comes fitted with a track that needs to be kept in a clean condition. It must be free of dust and dirt for it to run smoothly.
It also has more mechanical parts involved in its construction, and these can break down due to wear and tear.
Compared with the rear drive, you must lean forward to do your training. This is due to the way the machine is set up, which tends to push you in a backward position.
Center Drive Elliptical Machines
A center drive elliptical machine is a type of elliptical trainer that has the flywheel in the center of the machine instead of front or back. This makes it more comfortable to use because it puts less stress on your body.
The center drive elliptical has the weight of the user concentrated in the center of the machine. This results in the body being positioned naturally upright.
The center drive elliptical is more compact compared to the longer footprints of both the front and rear drive machines.