side effects of elliptical machines

Based on verified global surveys and polls, one thing is clear. Since the day of their first successful launch in the 1990s, the elliptical trainers have taken over the world of workout equipment as we knew it. Before ellipticals, all treadmills and stationary bikes were being widely used and are still being used. But what makes elliptical trainers so unique that the mass population trying to find a perfect workout machine can’t ignore it? Let’s find out the side effects of elliptical machines So that you can avoid them.

An elliptical trainer is a low-impact easy to use bike. The machine requires minimal effort while circulating the workout through your entire body instead of focusing on one particular part for a specific reason. This reason makes these trainers so massively successful. You do not need to put much effort into it; hop on, and you’ll be enjoying a refreshing workout set in no time?

But is this a good thing? The fact that elliptical trainers focus more on the ease of use as compared to the workout itself. Not at all. Most experienced trainers and gym freaks do not consider an elliptical trainer for their workout routines. A workout machine’s primary focus should be that the user must put maximum effort into the workout so some positive outcome can be seen instead of doing the workout more like a fun ride.

Here is a list of few disadvantages of elliptical trainers.

Disadvantages of Elliptical Trainer

Too easy to use For a commonly used workout machine, having an easy-to-use machine interference is important but not like an elliptical trainer which offers minimal workout effects on the body.
Low-calorie burn rate As compared to a stationary bike or a treadmill, elliptical trainers have the lowest rate of burning calories. After a 30-minute workout using an elliptical machine, you can hardly burn around 350-400 calories if you’re an average weighted person i.e., 185 lbs. For overweight people, the rate of calorie burn gets lower and lower.
Zero back support Can you imagine working out for long sets without any kind of back support? Well, welcome to the world of backache if an elliptical trainer is your favorite workout machine.
Not so user-friendly maintenance routine Well, not so user-friendly in terms of maintenance. Being relatively new as compared to other major workout machines, there are still many loopholes in the machine design which require quite a lot of money to resolve.
Low portability Practically, elliptical trainers come with zero-minimum portability options. The machine does come with transport tires but the heavy and bulky structure of the machine doesn’t allow the user to move the trainers often.
Less muscle strengthening Being a low-impact trainer, the ellipticals are not a great choice for muscle development or muscle development.
Higher injury risk Due to the lack of back support along with imbalanced foot movements, elliptical workout machines have been reported as one of the major reasons behind post-workout injuries.
Hard to user monitor the interface It is great that elliptical trainers come with all the latest and amazing features installed in the main LCD monitor interface directly. But still, most people face a hard time calibrating all this stuff according to their desired requirements.

If you are a heavy person, and you cannot go to the gym, or you are shy to the gym, then you get the best elliptical for heavy person; these are the machines made with a sturdy structure and have more weight-bearing capacity. Therefore, an elliptical can be the best home workout machine for heavy persons.

5 Side Effects of Elliptical Machines

5 Side Effects of Elliptical Machines

In terms of popularity among the mass population and ease of use, there is no doubt that an elliptical trainer is a complete beast packed with all the latest technology possible. But, having the newest technology alone isn’t enough at all.

i) Zero Back Support

Think about this; you are all set to experience the new elliptical trainer you just got for your home gym. Being a low-impact trainer, you believed that finally, your years-long knee joint pain will be getting better now gradually. But you forgot one thing, elliptical trainers are indeed low-impact, but there is practically zero back support!

So, after a few weeks of consistent use, you start to develop a strange back pain which keeps on increasing whenever you truly workout. All of this because you neglected the fact that your back also needs support, just like your knees.

But do not worry; this is a common complaint filed by elliptical trainer users worldwide. In our opinion, go and consult your doctor asap.

ii) Not a Great Choice for Fat burn

If you have been using an elliptical trainer with the idea that this will help you burn your belly or thigh fat up to a great extent, then you are gravely wrong. Elliptical trainers are not calories crushers at all. Being a low-impact workout machine, the elliptical trainer is more focused on the fact that the user gets an equally distributed workout result throughout the body. If you take a closer look at the machine dynamics, you can clearly understand this fact.

An elliptical trainer comes with two footplates attached to a magnetic flywheel and both stationary and moving armbar. Also, the user can move both forwards and backward while using an elliptical trainer. This does not have any effect on the same workout experience as the machine. But to make things a little bit more fun.

Moreover, elliptical trainers have the lowest calorie burn rate compared to a stationary bike or an old-school treadmill. For an average weighted person(185lbs), the elliptical trainer will help in burning only around 350-400 per 30-minute workout set.

iii) Low or Zero Portability

What is portability exactly? Well, when we talk about the fact that up to which extent the machine is portable, it means that we practically measure that whether we can quickly move the machine from place to place or not.

Let’s understand this with an example; you hired a technician who set up the elliptical trainer in the second room of the first, where you thought you would be using the trainer for working out peacefully. But a few days after, you decide to dedicate your basement to all the workout stuff and the elliptical.

But, how can you move such a heavy and bulky machine at all? That is why these trainers are not considered an excellent choice for people who love to locomote their stuff often according to their requirements. These trainers do come with transport wheels, but compared to a stationary bike, the size of the trainer is too bulky and cannot be shifted from one place to another. So, it is always a great idea to think thoroughly about where to set up the trainer in the first place.

iv) Relatively Higher Risk of injury

No doubt, elliptical trainers are a great workout machine indeed based on their widespread use and popularity. But still, being a relatively new workout machine has left many loopholes in the machine structure itself.

Being a low-impact workout trainer, the knee joints are secure from excessive workout stress. That is why physicians and physiotherapists across the consider elliptical trainers a great way to rehabilitate the injured or aching knee joints under supervision. But there are still two flaws that increase the rate of foot or back injury whenever working out using an elliptical trainer.

First, the lack of back support. We all know that even with properly back support-oriented workout machines, there is no way we can escape the fact that one day or the other, we all will be facing some back pain. But the risk is too high with the zero-back support of an elliptical trainer.

Second, the uneven foot movement due to the not-so-great calibrated foot pedals is a significant reason why injuries like Achilles’ heals and torn hamstrings are common among people who excessively use these trainers for long workout hours. Well, this is the last one on our list of side effects of elliptical machines; hopefully, you can take care of these all during workouts.

Keep in mind that elliptical workout benefits are much bigger than the side effects and side effects are not the same for everyone, and adults may deal with less advantage than a senior. 


With all that being said, now we think you have got the bigger picture about the controversy with using an elliptical trainer for a workout compared to a stationary bike or a treadmill and how all this stuff works.

On one side, elliptical trainers are getting more and more popular by the day. And many factors are the critical role players behind this boost in sales. The ease of use, remarkable new features, low impact workout, magnetic flywheel technology, forward and backward direction motion, and much more. These features are indeed something that makes these trainers so successful and rapidly growing in terms of usage worldwide.

On the other hand, still being a new type of workout, the designers of top elliptical trainers manufacturing brands are struggling to find the exact perfect design that will make all these commonly faced workout injury issues fade away with the right workout machine schematics.
Finally, we hope you understand the facts behind the whole ‘Elliptical trainers’ conspiracies’ that we have been hearing for so long now.

Hopefully, after reading these side effects of elliptical machines you can better decide which machines are perfect for you.

At the request of our readers, we recently made a comparison elliptical vs rowing machine to clear the confusion which is more effective for low impact cardio exercise, and we were amazed to know that rowing machines are near to elliptical when it comes to weight loss and muscle building.

Scroll to Top