Benefits of a Treadmill Elliptical Combination

Rear view of People using exercise equipment in front of a window

Treadmill and elliptical machines are two pieces of cardio equipment used by gym-goers today. While both machines work predominantly your lower body, elliptical trainers allow for the additional stimulation of your upper body as well. By combining these two activities in your workout regimen, you will attain a greater overall fitness level.

Treadmill Benefits

The treadmill is an excellent place to get in a solid cardiovascular workout while emulating some of the natural movements that you make on a daily basis. Running and walking are as primal as you can get, and when you are standing up straight on the treadmill, your body will easily relax into your natural-posture stance. By walking or running on a treadmill, you will stimulate your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, hip flexors and even a bit of your core and arms.

Elliptical Benefits

Elliptical machines allow for your body to cross-train without much of the added strenuous impact that occurs on the treadmill. With movable handlebars that alternate as you stride, this piece of equipment is ideal for working out your arms and legs simultaneously. In addition to the lower-body muscles that you can exercise by walking or running on a treadmill, you will also be working out your chest, back, anterior deltoids, posterior deltoids, triceps, biceps and trapezius muscles.

Combining the Two

You can get an effective aerobic workout using the elliptical and treadmill machines on their own, but by combining both types of training, you will be able to reach a more balanced overall level of fitness. While the treadmill only stimulates much of your lower body, the elliptical allows for a greater amount of upper- and lower-body muscle stimulation simultaneously. However, the treadmill does promote a better natural posture and is a better machine on which to train for a road race or marathon.

Calorie Burn

A 2010 study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" showed that the energy expenditure and oxygen consumption needed to use each machine are about equal. Another study published in the "Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness" found that the physiological changes among women who engaged in a 12-week exercise regimen were equivalent for elliptical-users and treadmill-joggers. Consult your doctor or a fitness professional before making any changes to your exercise regimen.