Elliptical Machine vs. Treadmill Workouts For Cardio: What’s More Effective?

I hear this debate going on very often in gyms, “what’s more effective elliptical machine or treadmill workout for cardio?”  There is always all sorts of reasoning behind the pros one offers versus the other.  Although there is all sorts of  myths we can break them down and come to a conclusion.


Advantages of elliptical machine workouts:

  • it is easy on the knees
  • you can program the machine
  • the degree of difficulty can be challenging
  • it offers a new way as opposed to typical cardio workouts

Advantages of treadmill workouts:

  • you can program the cardio workout that you want
  • easier on the knees than running on pavement
  • you can program the speed and difficulty
  • change the incline to a steep degree or flat as you want

As you can see they both offer similar advantages to your workouts if you are interested in using a machine for cardiovascular purposes.

For many people, myself included, doing steady state cardio is boring and not as effective in burning fat.  The good thing with these machines is you can do short bursts of intensity followed by brief rest periods.

It is best to either program a machine using something like hills, intervals or manually change your pace from slow speed to higher speed.

So in reality both types of equipment, elliptical machines and treadmills, are equally effective as long as you do a workout that is NOT a steady state cardio if you want to burn more fat.

Always switch it up.  One workout do elliptical machines and the next workout do treadmill workouts and an outdoor workout the next.  Combine either of these with weights or resistance bands workouts and your goal of looking like an athlete will come to you quicker than you think.


  1. My favourite is treadmill where I can do sprint intervals on it much easier than elliptical. Whether its steady state or intervals as long as you burn calories it never mattered to me I’ll post soon how lean you can get on slow steady state cardio which I’ve been doing for 2 months to see if its myth, but intervals are best cause it happens in much less time.

  2. I prefer the treadmill. Great way to do intervals when the roads are icy.

    I’m with you on the high intensity running but I also love steady state – I burn a ton of fat and am increasing my stamina – key is to keep intensity at 75% of max heart rate.



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