The more weight you’re carrying, the more pressure on your joints – and subsequently, the more pressure you’d be putting on them when exercising. Unless, that is, you pick a low-impact form of exercise, that keeps the pressure off your knees, ankles and hips while helping you burn through any excess fat and tone muscle. Elliptical machines are the perfect fit for this type of workout regime, particularly for the inexperienced venturing into a fitness program to work off some extra weight – but in order to ensure results, you need to pick the right machine.
For starters, the machine needs to have the adequate weight capacity – maximum weight capacity is an absolute-must specification to check when you’re picking out your unit of choice. Related to this is the weight of the flywheel – the heavier this is, the more fluid the elliptical motions of your machine, as well as the better stability and longevity of your unit for heavy-duty use. Confused about how to get started? Why not take a look at our round-up of top pick elliptical machines for heavier individuals to get you started?
SOLE Fitness E35 Indoor Elliptical
A rugged machine with a 375-pound weight capacity, this unit muscles its way into our top spot with its impressive range and versatility. We love the fact that the unit features an adjustable stride length, between 20 to 22 inches, letting you reconfigure the length to your height so you’re working with elliptical motions that give you the most freedom of movement, to fully extend your limbs and work out your muscles without feeling restrained or struggling to complete each round.
The front drive machine features a robust 25-pound flywheel anchoring the trainer down and ensuring complete fluidity of movement of your pedals, adding stability and longevity to this heavy-duty unit. 20 levels of resistance and adjustable inclines up to 30 degrees allow you to moderate the intensity of your workout, so you can gradually work yourself up to a more rigorous regime or start off at a level you’re used to or comfortable with. The pedals are articulating, pivoting to mimic the natural movements of our joints as we walk or run to reduce strain on the ankles, knees or hips, with two-degree inward slopes and customizable foot beds to let you set your feet firmly and comfortably to the main contact point of the machine.
Moving handlebars allow you to experience a full-body workout, while static handlebars are fitted with pulse sensors; in conjunction with chest strap heart rate monitoring, the unit lets you track your performance, a wide LCD console displaying your exercise stats and the handful of preset exercise programs you can choose from or customize. The unit also features an LCD display, cooling fans and built in speakers for any iPhones, iPad or other players, for easy watching/listening along with a water bottle holder, to make your workouts a little more fun and relaxing.
KEN’S BUDGET PICK
Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical Machine
A brilliantly multi-functional unit, packaged under an attractive and reasonable price-tag, this unit is built with a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds. 20-inch Precision Path stride lengths make this an ideal unit for individuals of average and taller heights, articulating pedals and cushioned footplates making for comfortable contact and smooth elliptical motions emulating the natural movements of the limbs and joints when walking or jogging. An impressive 25 levels of eddy current resistance, coupled with 6 available incline positions with the 10-degree adjustable ramp, allow you to customize the intensity of your workout, or configure the machine to your exercising needs and comfort.
The unit features a pair of moving handlebars to give your upper body a healthy workout, as well as static handlebars fitted with a grip heart rate monitor. Other features include goal tracking and up to 4 programmable user profiles, allowing the machine to remember details such as the names, weights, heights etc. of up to 4 users, so the unit can be used by the whole family for their personalized workout regimens. Dual-track LCD screens display all the feedback data, including goal completion, heart rate data and other variables like distance covered, calories burned, current user profile details, workout duration, and more. With up 29 programs, including 12 presets, this is an incredibly versatile machine, promising wonderful payoff considering the price.
Other attractive features include the integrated sound system, USB charger port and app connectivity options, media tray and even a 3-speed fan.
Precor EFX 576i Premium Commercial Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer
With a 350-pound weight capacity, this machine combines the rugged rear drive trainer performance of a heavy-duty unit you’d use at the gym with the compactness and convenience of a unit suited for the home. Adjustable stride lengths between 21.2 and 24.7 inches make this a versatile unit for individuals of different heights, while 20 levels of adjustable resistance and ramp inclines between 15 to 40 degrees allow for additional customizability to control the rigor of the workout as well as configurations comfortable to the needs of different users and different regimens. The unit is pre-programmed with 14 diverse presets, from cross training settings to gluteals and hill climbing, as well as manual and custom settings.
Moving handlebars work in conjunction with the pedalling motion to deliver a full-body workout, while stationary handlebars feature grip heart rate monitors. Along with an optional chest strap, SmartRate delivers bio-feedback to let you track how your body is working in relation to the regimen and your workout goals. A user-friendly control interface including a numeric keypad makes operation easy, and feedback immediate.