Although often confused with elliptical trainers, striders are their own distinct type of exercise machine. Instead of moving through the elliptical trainer's trademark oval path, a strider's pedals swing in a back-and-forth arcing motion like a pair of pendulums. Of all the small, light and inexpensive striders marketed for in-home use, just one has stuck around long enough to earn the title of "best": The Tony Little Gazelle.
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Meet the Gazelle
Although the Gazelle has been marketed in a number of versions over the years, its basic structure remains the same: A simple, lightweight, folding A-frame with the pendulum pedals suspended side-by-side in the middle. Its short handlebars are simply extensions of the poles from which the pedals hang.
It's the Gazelle's longevity and the addition of piston-based resistance on higher-end models that make it such a standout in this field. The piston-based resistance allows intermediate exercisers to get a good workout from the Gazelle, whereas other models are only appropriate for beginners.
A Commercial Version
Some gyms offer "elliptical gliders" or "arc trainers" -- basically commercial-quality striders. However, a commercial glider's size, weight and price keep them from being a best choice for home exercisers; they're just too large, heavy and expensive.