Treadmill versus Elliptical Trainer for Muscle Toning: Which One is the Best?

One of the common questions that you’ll encounter today from new fitness enthusiast is “which is much better? Is it treadmill or elliptical trainer?”

Both machines are effective when it comes to working out. In fact, both treadmill and elliptical trainer are the most popular cardio machines that you’ll find in any gym today. However, both machines function distinctively from each other, especially the results.

If you are currently having difficulties choosing between treadmill and elliptical trainer or if you’re sure a treadmill is the right choice, this article is created to provide a clear distinction between the two.


Treadmills are stationary cardio equipment that allows you to walk, run, and jog indoors. It allows you to adjust the speed as fast as 12 mph and the inclines 10 percent and higher.

  • The Pros

1.    The treadmill is a versatile workout machine that allows both low and high-impact workout by walking and running, respectively.
2.    The machine is designed with familiar natural motion such as jogging, walking, and sprinting.
3.    Promotes high work-output
4.    The treadmills target the calves, glutes, the quads, hamstrings, and hip muscles; due to the substantial effort.
5.    Strengthens the bones and muscles due to the weight-bearing effects.

  • The Cons

1.    Running on a treadmill puts stress on the spine, knees, hips, and joints on the ankles.
2.    The high-intensity incline sprints are dangerous for beginners.
3.    Choosing the wrong speed and incline may lead to bigger posture and health problems.

Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical trainer, also known as a cross-trainer, is also a stationary cardio machine, which is designed to imitate stair climbing, running, or walking without causing excessive muscle and joints strains.

  • The Pros

1.    The elliptical trainer encourages less to no impact workout; thus, it does not affect or puts stress on your joints and ligaments while running, unlike the treadmill that it does.
2.    It encourages total body workout that targets both upper and lower body.
3.    It is much easier to use but it is potent when it comes to burning calories efficiently; thanks to the RPE or the low Relative Perceived Exertion, anyone who uses the machine, they will not experience muscle and joint stress. Did you know that with half-an-hour use of the machine per day can burn 400 calories without suffering from muscle or joint problem?
4.    Best used for recovery and strengthening the joints and muscles after an injury.
5.    It is easy to use and much lighter to carry.

  • The Cons

1.    Since the feet are in position on the pedal while using the elliptical trainer; the feet become numb and allow you to experience burning sensation after an intense workout.

Final Thoughts

Both treadmill and elliptical trainers are effective in burning calories and weight reduction. However, what makes the elliptical trainer’s more advantageous is its efficiency in building the core muscles and strengthening the bones without straining the joints, knees, and feet ankles.

So, if you are currently having difficulties choosing between the treadmill and elliptical trainer, experts highly suggest the use of elliptical trainer over the treadmill.