Nike master trainer Holly Rilinger talks about what exercise machines give you the most cardio bang for your buck at the gym.
When it comes to working out, there’s no doubt that we have options. While having a variety of ways to exercise is a great thing, sometimes having too much to choose from can leave you in a bit of a fitness analysis paralysis.
When you step into the gym, on top of wondering whether it’s best to do cardio or strength training first, you may be wondering which piece of exercise equipment will give you the best workout. Hmm, should you work your back muscles or legs today? Should you go for the stationary bike, treadmill, or elliptical?
We asked Nike master trainer Holly Rilinger to help us make sense of this fitness decision making when it comes to choosing the right cardio exercise machine.
Which Cardio Machine Is Best: The Bike, Treadmill, or Elliptical?
“There’s no best piece of equipment, they’re all great pieces of equipment,” says Riligner. “The bike and the elliptical will provide a low-impact workout, and all three will provide a good workout.”
Choosing the right piece of equipment depends on your goals and where you’re at in your workout practice. Do you have an injury? Are you looking for a low-impact or high-impact workout? Are you looking to blast some serious calories? To know whether the treadmill, elliptical, or bike will work best for you, note these key differences in each:
- It can either be high- or low-impact. High- or low-impact means the amount of stress the workout puts on your body. “The treadmill can definitely be high-impact if you’re running or sprinting on it, and it can be low-impact if you’re walking,” says Rilinger.
- It can burn some serious calories. High-intensity cardio is great for weight loss.
- It offers a range of intensity. “You can change the incline, and you can change the speed on this machine,” says Rilinger.
- It’s low impact. “Low impact means it’s less stress on the body, but you can still get a very intense workout on an elliptical,” says Rilinger.
- It offers a range of intensity. “Depending on the machine you might be able to increase the incline, and you can also increase the resistance,” says Rilinger.
- It works your whole body. “The great thing about the elliptical is that it’s a full-body workout, because you’re also moving your arms,” says Rilinger.
- It’s low impact and a good choice if you have an injury. “A recumbent bike (with a back rest) is great if you have any type of back injuries or back issues; it’s going to give you a lot of stability,” says Rilinger.
- It offers a range of intensity. “An upright bike is going to be very much like a bike you ride outdoors, but both provide great, high-intensity workouts,” says Rilinger. With both the recumbent and upright bike, you can increase the speed and resistance for a higher intensity workout.
“No matter what piece of equipment you use, there’s ways to make it both high- and low-intensity, and all three provide a great way to workout,” says Rilinger.
Coach, trainer, and 10-year veteran of the fitness world, Holly Rilinger is known as one of the most inspiring motivational trainers in the game.
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So when I go to the gym, should I be
using a bike, elliptical or a treadmill?
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So there's no best piece of equipment,
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they're all three great
pieces of equipment.
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The bike and the elliptical will
provide a low impact workout, and
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all three will provide a good workout.
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So let's start with the treadmill.
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The treadmill can definitely be
high-impact if you're running or
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sprinting on it.
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And can be low-impact if you're walking.
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You can change the incline and
you can change the speed of this machine.
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So the elliptical is a low-impact machine.
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And to be clear on what low-impact
means is it's less stress on the body.
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So you can still get a very
intense workout on an elliptical.
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Depending on the machine, you might
be able to increase the incline, and
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you can also increase the resistance.
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The great thing about the elliptical, too,
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is it's a full body workout because
you're also moving your arms.
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So a bike is considered
a low-impact piece of equipment.
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So a recumbent bike, great if you have
any kind of back injuries or back issues,
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it's gonna give you a lot of stability.
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And an upright bike is going to be very
much like a bike you would ride outdoors.
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Both provide great,
high intensity workouts.
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So on a bike you can increase intensity
by either increasing the resistance or
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you can increase the speed.
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So no matter which piece of equipment you
use, there's ways to make it both high and
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low intensity, and
all three provide a great way to work out.
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Exercise for Bone Health. NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center. (Accessed on July 30, 2018 at https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/bone-health/exercise/exercise-your-bone-health)