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What Are the Side Effects of Elliptical Machines - Explained

Learn what you need to know about elliptical machines and their not-so-obvious side effects. Let's explore the world of elliptical machines. Are they worth the benefits?

Daniel Murphy
What Are the Side Effects of Elliptical Machines - Explained
Table Of Contents

Elliptical machines hit the market in the mid-90s and have been popular cardiovascular equipment ever since. With their elliptical motion similar to running and cycling, these machines can work out your upper and lower body without overwhelming your joints.

They have become a popular choice for home and gym use, as they are a great way to stay fit without lifting heavy weights. Elliptical machines are the perfect way to get your sweat on! They provide a unique, low-impact workout that can make you feel like an exercise pro.

If you don't enjoy running but wish to get in shape, you may be drawn to the elliptical machines in the gym. These machines have oversized moving pedals and arm bars, and many people use them without taking the time to consider their advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we'll explore the potential risks associated with using an elliptical trainer and provide some advice on how to avoid them. If you want to add an elliptical machine to your home gym, this post is essential.

Side Effects of Elliptical Machine

From sore legs to fierce motivation, many are unaware of the potential side effects of a spin on an elliptical machine. But don't worry we've got you covered! Discover what it means to truly experience the elliptical journey and all its highs and lows here.

What are elliptical machines capable of? From increased strength to improved cardiovascular health, this exercise gear can bring many benefits - however, it's not without some side effects! Let's take an in-depth dive into the beautiful world of ellipticals.

Intimidated by the elliptical machine? Beware - it could have potential side effects like sore muscles, fatigue, and even tendinitis if you don't take regular breaks! So listen to your body's warnings before hopping onto this workout wonder.

Not beneficial for Increasing Bone Density

Ellipticals are not beneficial for increasing bone density because they are low-impact machines that do not provide the resistance and stress needed to promote bone growth.

High-impact activities like running, jumping, and weight lifting are better for increasing bone density. Likewise, a healthy diet and supplements like Vitamin D3 can help improve bone density.

Not Good for Building Muscle

Ellipticals are not the best choice for Building muscle because they provide low- to moderate-intensity cardio exercise. While they can be used to increase heart rate and help burn calories, they do not provide enough resistance to stimulate muscle growth.

You can use multiple options to build muscle mass, like adding Muscle Boosters with the correct form of exercise. So, an elliptical can help you maintain muscle mass, but it won't help you build it.

Develops Poor Workout Habits.

Ellipticals are great exercise equipment that can provide effective and efficient workouts. However, if used correctly, it can lead to better workout habits. If used for too long or at the same intensity, it can lead to overtraining and burnout.

Additionally, improper form or grip can lead to muscle imbalances, and improper form can lead to joint stress and even injury. To avoid developing poor workout habits, users should take the time to learn proper form, wear the necessary gear like grips, and mix up their intensity levels.

So Monotonous That You'd Want to Give Up

Ellipticals can be monotonous due to repetitive movement and lack of change in scenery. It cannot be very encouraging for those trying to maintain an exercise routine. It's essential to add variety to your routine.

Try experimenting with different programs and settings on your elliptical, or switch up your routine by adding different exercises like strength training, running, or cycling. Adding variety to your routine can keep you motivated and make sticking with your workout plan easier.

It May Worsen the Injury

Ellipticals are a great form of exercise, as they are low impact, easy to use, and effective in helping to tone and strengthen your body. However, they can also be dangerous if not used properly. If you have any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions that affect your ability to exercise, you should take extra caution when using an elliptical.

It is because the repetitive motion of your feet on the pedals can cause further injury, especially if you push yourself too hard or use incorrect form. Speak to a medical professional before starting any new exercise routine.

Can Worsen the Knee Pain

Using an elliptical machine can worsen some conditions rather than alleviate them. For instance, if you have a leg injury, the forced movement of the machine can damage your joints as you unnaturally swing your feet.

An elliptical workout could sometimes cause or worsen knee pain. So be cautious if you have an underlying knee condition.

Uncomfortable to Use in Small Spaces

Remember the space factor if you're tempted to bring home a too-cool elliptical bike! These larger machines may make an impression - but only if there is enough room. As for electricity needs - no sweat!

Just be sure your residence can accommodate this sizable piece of equipment before investing in it. However, this drawback can be overcome if you have enough space.

Not Adjustable

Elliptical bikes may not be the wisest choice for those with extreme heights - tall folk could find themselves slouching in pain, while shorter users would likely suffer sore necks and shoulders after an intense session.

So, pick your bike wisely, or you may pay more than just money!

Somewhat Boring

Exercising on an elliptical can become tedious if you don't mix things up. To get the most out of your workout and torch more calories in less time, try varying the intensity - step it up to burn some serious energy!

You can add variations like working in intervals, moving the handles correctly, or setting the goals by varying your METs.

Not Very Economical

An elliptical bike is an excellent form of exercise, but the hefty price tag can make it hard to get into cycling. Fortunately, plenty of more budget-friendly alternatives will still give your cardio some serious attention!

So, you need a fat bank account to buy this one-in-a-lifetime home gym equipment. Spend wisely.

Causes of Side Effects

Ellipticals may be a great way to get your fitness routine rolling, but there are some health risks that you should watch out for! With all the bouncing and jolting of this exercise equipment, it's essential to understand what could cause potential side effects ranging from joint or back pain.

There can be several modifiable and nonmodifiable factors behind the side effects. Let us explain why elliptical sessions can sometimes leave you feeling worse than when you started.

Improper Technique and Posture

Improper use of an elliptical machine can lead to muscle and joint strain, resulting in pain and discomfort. To prevent this, maintain good posture and engage your core muscles throughout the workout.

Overuse or Overtraining

To safeguard against overuse and to overtrain, starting at a slow pace and gradually increasing the intensity and length of your workouts on the elliptical machine is essential. It can help prevent muscle fatigue, joint soreness, and the likelihood of injury.

Prolonged Use

Using the machine for long periods can lead to side effects, so taking regular breaks and stretching in between sessions is best to avoid discomfort and injury.

Inadequate Warm-Up & Stretching

Before using an elliptical machine, it is essential to do a proper warm-up and stretching to avoid potential injuries and get the most out of the workout.

Underlying Medical Conditions

A person's existing medical condition may have an effect by using an elliptical. It is essential to speak to a doctor or physical therapist before beginning any elliptical training to ensure it is safe for their situation.

Prevention and Management of Side Effects

Elliptical machines are great for helping you hit your fitness goals - as long as they don't come with undesirable side effects. Curing a condition is excellent, but staying mindful of the potential side effects is essential.

Fortunately, there are comprehensive strategies for preventive and therapeutic management - so you can feel confident tackling your ailments! To ensure the only sweat you break while using an elliptical has to do with working out, take a few precautions, so any potential pitfalls stay off your trail during exercise!

Proper Technique and Posture

A wrong form on an elliptical machine can be serious business! Don't let joint pain backache, or worse come between you and your fitness goals - maintain a straight spine while engaging those core muscles.

Move with confidence but not overconfidence: stay in control of the motion to stay steady throughout. You can wear essential gear or use gym chalk to avoid slippage on the grip.

Gradual Increase in Workout Intensity

Too intense too quickly with your elliptical workout can result in injury and pain. It is best to start slowly and gradually increase the duration and resistance as your fitness improves.

Once you split your workout into intervals, you can add intra-workout supplements. Moreover, adding essential pre-workout and post-workout supplements can do a great job.

Regular Stretching and Warm-Up Exercises

Before beginning an elliptical workout, light cardiovascular activity and dynamic stretching exercises are essential to warm the body and increase heart rate, blood flow, and flexibility.

So pulling out your yoga mat and performing some static stretches can help you reduce the risk of any potential injuries.

Alternating Elliptical Workouts With Other Exercises

Mixing up your elliptical workouts with other physical activities can help reduce the chances of hurting yourself due to overtraining and help keep your body balanced.

Incorporating weight lifting, yoga, and other forms of cardiovascular exercise can help to prevent strain on your joints and muscles.


1. What are the drawbacks of elliptical?

Ellipticals can be hard to use if you're not used to them. You may need help or help from someone to learn how to use the machine properly. Additionally, because ellipticals tend to be stationary machines, your range of motion will often be limited, making it harder to target particular muscle groups or perform specific exercises - something that wouldn't happen if you were using free weights or bodyweight movements.

2. Which is better for your health the treadmill or the elliptical?

Treadmills are also better for aerobic workouts, according to Hodges. A small study published in 2021 discovered that people who used a treadmill burn more fat than those who used an elliptical. The study concluded that using a treadmill to exercise is an effective way to improve cardiometabolic health.

3. Can elliptical exercise cause nerve damage?

According to Bellevue Podiatry in Washington, ellipticals can irritate the nerves between your third and fourth toes. It is due in part to the machine's foot pedal position. Leave the machine on a flat grade rather than an incline to alleviate the annoyance.

4. Is the elliptical machine better than walking?

An elliptical machine helps you burn more calories. An hour of elliptical machine exercise burns 365 calories for a 160-pound person, compared to 314 calories burned while walking. The hips and knees are far less stressed when using an elliptical machine.


Elliptical machines provide a low-impact workout that can benefit the upper and lower body. However, there are some side effects or drawbacks of elliptical machines ranging from sore muscles, fatigue, and tendonitis to knee pain.

This article covers the side effects, their causes, and how they can be prevented. To maximize your results from using an elliptical machine while avoiding its drawbacks, focus on gradually increasing intensity levels as fitness improves; incorporate dynamic stretching exercises before working out.

Article Sources

  • Hummer, Erik T., et al. "Movement Direction Impacts Knee Joint Kinematics during Elliptical Exercise at Varying Incline Angles." The Knee, vol. 29, Mar. 2021, pp. 201 - 07. ScienceDirect,

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Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is a fitness enthusiast who has been exploring the fitness world for many years and is combining his passion for writing to create well-researched, engaging, and unique content

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