The Three Types of Ellipticals

The Three Types of Ellipticals

To this day, the elliptical is one of the most popular cardiovascular exercises. This isn’t surprising as it’s low-impact, beginner friendly, and can exercise both your lower and upper body. In just 30 minutes you can burn up to 400 calories.

The elliptical was first introduced in 1995 by Precor USA. Precor owns a number of patents on their equipment which lead competitors to invent different flywheel mechanisms.

However, choosing an elliptical isn’t as easy as you might think. They primarily vary based on the position of the drive (flywheel) axle. Below we will discuss each type in more detail.

Types of Ellipticals

1. Front Drive

guy on elliptical

Ellipticals with the flywheel positioned in the front are referred to as front-drive. They’re often considered to be the least expensive of the three types.

However, they feature more moving parts. As with anything mechanical, more moving parts means things are more apt to break. Durability and maintenance requirements could be problematic. With that said, front-drive ellipticals are time tested and tend to be quite durable.

Due to how the front-drive elliptical is engineered, the user is positioned in a forward lean. This can sometimes be problematic and make people feel uneasy.

2. Rear Drive

As indicated by the name, the drive axle is positioned in the back. Rear drive mechanisms were the first type of elliptical released to the public.

Needless to say, rear drive ellipticals have a long track record and are proven to last. Unlike the front-drive models, they also feature far less moving parts. With that said, they also cost more.

woman on elliptical

The rear-drive elliptical is often used to simulate walking and jogging. While these machines are popular in gyms for their durability they’re not common most homes  as they’re not very compact. If you feel compromised for space, then you should consider one of the other options.

3. Center Drive

Center-drives ellipticals are the newest of the three. In a similar manner to the other types, the drive system is also synonymous with the nomenclature: it’s located in the center.

These machines work by centering your weight in the middle of the machine. These offers a smoother range of motion and makes working out easier. The pedals are also situated closer together which allows for less strain on your hips and back.

Center drive ellipticals tend to cost more than the other three options. They also are the most compact and have less of an overall footprint.

gym equipment room

Final Thoughts

Well, there we have it, the three types of ellipticals. While more can be said in regards to specific features and add-ons, most ellipticals can be separated by the positioning of the flywheel.

There’s also other features like how compact they are and their overall footprint. All of these features are highly dependent on the drive axle and where it’s located.

Regardless of the elliptical you go with, you’ll get a great aerobic workout.

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