Elliptical Trainer Vs. Strider & Climber

With obesity on the rise in America, engaging in regular physical activity, including some form of cardiovascular exercise, is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Cardiovascular exercise can help you control your weight, lower your risk of disease and can improve your mental health. When choosing a cardiovascular activity, there are a number of options to consider -- including which type of cardio exercise is right for you. Whenever beginning an exercise program, it is important to first consult a physician.

Row of elliptical trainers (Image: ER09/iStock/Getty Images)

Cardiovascular Equipment

Cardiovascular equipment is designed to stimulate the cardiovascular system. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that healthy adults under 65 do 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise five days a week or 20 minutes of high intensity or vigorous exercise three days a week. Moderate intensity exercise is defined at the level of increasing the heart rate in order to break a sweat. Ellipticals, striders, and stair machines can all aid in achieving cardiovascular recommendations.


Elliptical trainers are one way to achieve a cardiovascular workout on a stationary machine. An elliptical trainer is designed to simulate running without putting additional stress on the joints. For this reason, the elliptical trainer is preferred by people who have joint injury or joint pain. The elliptical trainer provides a cardiovascular workout that the user can adjust in two ways. The first way is to pedal faster in order to increase intensity and the second is to adjust the amount of resistance. Some elliptical trainers having moving arm handles, while other models provide stationary arm handles.


Strider machines are a combination of incline trainers and elliptical machines. The arc shaped motion of the machine has led to striders also being referred to as arc trainers. The motion of the machine allows for low impact on the joints with an increase in muscle toning in the hamstring and glutes. The machine is ideal for people who need a low impact workout, but are looking for more toning than a standard elliptical machine provides. Striders are equipped with both functional and non-functional arm handles and resistance to increase workout intensity.

Stair Climber

There are two main types of climbers; stepping machines and revolving stair machines. The motion of the climbing machine simulates the action of climbing stairs. On the step machine, you use body strength to push down pedals, simulating stair climbing. Varying levels of resistance can be set on the machine to make the workout more difficult. The revolving stair machine is powered by a motor and can be placed on different speeds. This type of cardiovascular activity causes more stress on the joints then elliptical machines and striders, but is more effective at toning muscles. Climbing machines are also available with moving arm handles and stationary arm handles. Moving arm handles allow the user to perform a more total body workout.

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