Elliptical trainers are a recent addition to the world of exercise equipment, with the first design arriving on the market in the 1990’s.
The credit for making the elliptical trainer a practical device goes to the Precor company, where a designer conceived the idea of simulating the running motion without actually running at all. The primary benefit of an elliptical trainer is eliminating the impact associated with running. Elliptical trainers are also quieter compared to treadmills, a consideration if living in apartment.
Claims have been made that elliptical trainers with their upper body workout capability burn more calories than treadmills but many studies have failed to confirm this.
Elliptical trainers come in 3 types, depending on the location of drive mechanism.
Original elliptical trainer designs had the drive in the rear, followed by front drive machines. Most recently, center drive models have appeared, offering a square foot print rather than elongated as well as greater stability.
Additional features found on most elliptical trainers today are the ability for an upper body workout though the quality of the workout varies greatly among different models.
Many elliptical trainers make it possible to adjust the length of the elliptical motion. This not only expands the effect of the training by using a larger variety of muscle groups for greater benefit but also lets the user find the ideal stride for their height.
Some higher end elliptical trainer models can also adjust the slope of the elliptical motion, similar to the incline settings on a treadmill.