The Best Ellipticals For Heavy People

best small treadmill of 2017

​Finding an elliptical that suits your weight might be a bit of a challenge. Yes, there are a lot of ellipticals, but finding a good one which also supports your weight is what you need.

​In this article, I compare the best high weight capacity elliptical machines for heavy people. Furthermore, you’ll discover important buying advice which is helpful to make a better buying decision. It’s time to end your physical discomfort and get in shape!

In this article, I compare the best high weight capacity elliptical machines for heavy people. Furthermore, you’ll discover important buying advice which is helpful to make a better buying decision. It’s time to end your physical discomfort and get in shape!

What To Look For In A Heavy Duty Elliptical?

Weight capacity

​First and foremost, you should obviously always check the maximum weight capacity. If the weight limit is too low, it’s not worth spending your time on researching about that particular model. So make sure you check it right away before everything else.

​Additionally, I recommend choosing an elliptical with a weight limit that isn’t too close to your weight. For example, if you weigh 290 Lbs I wouldn’t go for a​ machine with a weight limit of 300 Lbs. Instead I would go for a​ model with a 350 Lbs weight limit.

​Choosing a machine with a relatively higher weight limit reduces the risk of exceeding the maximum weight limit. Plus, if you put less pressure on the machine you’ll probably experience a smoother workout experience.

Flywheel

​The flywheel is one of the most important aspects of your elliptical. This is the part that rotates when you move the pedals. The flywheel also controls the amount of resistance. A good flywheel will provide a smooth workout experience and helps to reduce noise.

​If you’re a heavier person, you will most likely put more pressure on the flywheel than a lighter person. The weight of a flywheel can vary a lot. They tend to begin at approximately 10 pounds and go up to about 40 pounds.

​It’s hard to say how heavy the flywheel needs to be. It will mainly depend on how intense you want to train, your weight and your expectations​. If you want to be on the safe side, then I advise choosing a​ machine with a flywheel of at least 15 to 20 pounds.

tread belt size

Stability

​Another important aspect of elliptical machines for heavy people is stability. The stability of your ​machine is directly linked to the weight of the machine. Heavier ellipticals tend to be more stable. The weight of an elliptical trainer is a good indicator of its stability.

​Assuming you’re a heavier person, you will want to go for a model which is as heavy as possible. If you’re in doubt between two similar models, I advise going for the machine with the higher total weight.

​Another aspect that influences the stability ​is the construction. A solid construction prevents your elliptical from shaking. Especially the design of the base is something you may want to pay extra attention to, as this is the foundation of the machine.

Additionally, you might want to choose a model with a heavy-duty steel frame. How can you tell if the frame is solid? Just check the warranty period. The warranty period usually gives you a good indication of how solid the machine is. This applies to the warranty on the frame as well as the warranty on things like parts and labor.

The warranty period usually gives you a good indication of how solid the machine is. This applies to the warranty on the frame as well as the warranty on things like parts and labor.

What are the benefits ​for heavier people?

Low-impact exercise

​A heavy person has to carry more weight. When working out t​his can put a lot of pressure on the joints. Therefore, if you want to burn calories by working out, it’s important to choose a low-impact exercise.

​​A workout on an elliptical is considered a low impact exercise because your feet never leave the pedals. ​If you would compare a workout on an elliptical to for example jogging or running on a treadmill, the elliptical is usually less stressful on your lower back, ankles hips and knees. That’s why ellipticals are a good choice for heavy people or people who have knee problems.

​Of course, this also depends on the intensity of your workout. Walking on a treadmill puts about the same pressure on your joints as a workout on an elliptical.

Always consult a doctor or personal trainer if you have personal questions about your particular situation.

Total body-workout

​You can burn extra calories by holding the arm poles. This way you will train your lower-body as well as your upper body.

​Unlike, for example at an ​stationary bicycle​​​​ where the main focus of the machine is at the lower part of your body. On an elliptical, you can train your arms, back, shoulders, chest, and legs at the same time, which is more beneficial if you want to burn those calories.

Long-term challenge

​Even when you become fit the machine still offers enough of a challenge, because an elliptical is suited for beginners and fitter people.

​As you progress, you can choose to increase the amount of resistance, start with interval training and increase the time of your workout. So, an elliptical always provides a challenge, even if you have lost a significant amount of ​fat.

​Is an elliptical good for weight loss?

Compared to other fitness equipment, an elliptical trainer is an excellent machine for weight loss. According to a Harvard Health Publication, the elliptical is rated as one of the top 5 machines for weight loss.

​During the research, the researchers compared a lot of different 30-minute activities. The elliptical trainer is rated at the 4th place of highest calorie burning activities in the gym. The activities that burn more calories are; skiing on the ski machine, high-impact aerobics, and vigorous cycling on a stationary bike.

During the research, the researchers compared a lot of different 30-minute activities. The elliptical trainer is rated at the 4th place of highest calorie burning activities in the gym. The activities that burn more calories are; skiing on the ski machine, high-impact aerobics, and vigorous cycling on a stationary bike.

125-pound person

155-pound person

185-pound person

Approximate calories burned​

270

335

400

Calories burned during a 30-minute workout on an elliptical trainer.

How to use an elliptical if you’re overweight or obese?

​If you’re going to use your elliptical to ​get in shape you probably want to start ​burning calories as fast as possible. To be honest, in the first few weeks of using the ​machine you will most likely lose fat no matter what you do. If your progression starts to slow down, you may want to start varying your workout routine.

​Changing your routine is very important to keep ​burning sufficient calories because after a certain amount of time your body will most likely get used to your standard training pattern. If your body gets used to your normal training, you'll probably burn fewer calories per workout.

Vary your exercise routine

​You can change your workout routine in a lot of different ways. Extending the time you workout is the most obvious one.

If you’re just starting out, I suggest, to begin with 20 to 30 minutes at a steady pace for at least three times a week. 20-30 minutes of cardio for at least three times a week has a lot of benefits for your health and helps you burn calories.

​As you progress, you may want to extend your workout by 5-10 minutes to vary your training. Additionally, you can increase the number of exercises per week. Go from exercising three times a week to 4 times or even more.

Interval training

​Another way to vary your training routine is to start with interval training. During an interval training, you vary the speed and resistance. It’s an effective way to increase your cardiovascular fitness and burn more calories.

​Don’t go overboard with interval training, because then you’ll increase the risk of an injury. The key here is to vary interval training with working out at a steady pace.

​If you workout for three times a week then you could vary your training routine by doing one interval training and two regular steady pace workouts. Your body will need more time to recover from the interval training compared to a regular workout, especially in the beginning.

Use the training programs

​Lastly, another way to diversify your training schedule is by making use of the training programs on your elliptical. Most ellipticals have a certain amount of pre-set programs you can choose from.

​Some ellipticals have programs that are specifically designed to ​burn calories. You may also find ellipticals that have pre-set interval programs. If you want to vary your training, then I suggest starting with the training programs. As this is one of the easiest ways to bring variation in your normal training routine.

​Here’s a video from David Dubail who is a professional personal trainer. He will give you a few tips on how to lose weight on an elliptical machine:

Here’s a video from David Dubail who is a professional personal trainer. He will give you a few tips on how to lose weight on an elliptical machine:

​If exercise isn’t already part of your daily routine, then I suggest starting slowly. Set a realistic goal. Also, make sure you always ‘listen to your body’ and consult a doctor or fitness instructor if you need one!

The Best ​Ellipticals For Heavy Persons (Our choices)

If exercise isn’t already part of your daily routine, then I suggest starting slowly. Set a realistic goal. Also, make sure you always ‘listen to your body’ and consult a doctor or fitness instructor if you need one!

Schwinn 470 (​300 Lbs capacity)

​The Schwinn 470 is a popular elliptical with a weight limit of 300 pounds. The machine has center frame support and two integrated levelers, which provide a solid platform.

Plus, it has oversized crossbar tubing for extra stability. These features are especially useful for heavy people who are looking for an extra sturdy machine.​​​​

The Schwinn 470 is a popular elliptical with a weight limit of 300 pounds. The machine has center frame support and two integrated levelers, which provide a solid platform. Plus, it has oversized crossbar tubing for extra stability. These features are especially useful for heavy people who are looking for an extra sturdy machine.

​The Schwinn 470 has 29 programs which you can use to vary your training. The programs vary from heart rate controlled workouts to beginner programs. With the user-defined program, you can create your custom program. So you can exercise at your own pace and resistance level.

​Other features which allow you to vary your workout are the incline and magnetic resistance. This machine has a 10-degree incline and 25 levels of magnetic resistance. The console lets you control both the incline and resistance level with the quick buttons on the left and right of the display.

​Furthermore, it has goal tracking. The goal tracking system saves the statistics from all of your workouts to a particular user profile. This way you can keep track of your progression.

For example, the lower part of the display can show how much calories you’ve burnt in the last 30 days. Therefore, the tracking system is especially useful if you want to set a certain goal for yourself, which is something I highly recommend!

The 470 from Schwinn is a good choice for a beginner as well as a more experienced person. You might not use all of the features in the beginning. But after a while, you’ll probably discover them one by one, as most of the features are useful in your journey to fitness.

The 470 from Schwinn is a good choice for a beginner as well as a more experienced person. You might not use all of the features in the beginning. But after a while, you’ll probably discover them one by one, as most of the features are useful in your journey to fitness.

PROS

  • A good option for beginners as well as more advanced users because the machine offers a lot of options.
  • Solid construction.
  • ​It has more than enough user programs.

CONS

  • ​If you want to upload your progression from the goal tracking system, then the data needs to be uploaded manually with a USB-stick.
  • The console and LCD-display might be a bit overwhelming at first.
If you want to upload your progression from the goal tracking system, then the data needs to be uploaded manually with a USB-stick.

Exerpeutic 1000XL (300 Lbs capacity)

​The Exerpeutic 1000XL is a manually driven ​model especially suited for people who want to workout a few times a week. This ​model is what I call ‘basic’ because it doesn’t have a lot of options and is non-electric.

​Keep in mind that the feel of a workout on a non-electric elliptical is different from an electric ​machine. Some people prefer one over the other.

Keep in mind that the feel of a workout on a non-electric elliptical is different from an electric elliptical. Some people prefer one over the other.

​The 1000XL has a manually adjustable 8-level magnetic tension resistance. This means you can adjust the level of resistance by turning the black knob at the lower center​.

If you have large feet, then you might want to know about the relatively large pedal design. This is especially useful for people with big feet. They also have a ribbed design which prevents your feet from slipping.

PROS

  • ​The 1000 XL is a basic model, which makes it a good option for people who are looking for a model with not a lot of features.
  • Extra large pedals for people with big feet.
  • ​​​It doesn’t make a lot of noise. So you can easily watch TV or listen to music.
The elliptical doesn’t make a lot of noise. So you can easily watch TV or listen to music.

CONS

  • ​The pulse sensors might not give you an accurate reading of your heart rate.
  • ​The level of resistance isn’t automatically adjustable.
  • Some people might not like the feel of exercising on a non-electric machine, but this is obviously a matter of personal preference
Some people might not like the feel of exercising on a non-electric machine, but this is obviously a matter of personal preference
If you have large feet, then you might want to know about the relatively large pedal design. This is especially useful for people with big feet. They also have a ribbed design which prevents your feet from slipping.

Nautilus E614 (300 Lbs capacity)

​The E614 from Nautilus is a sturdy machine which provides a comfortable workout experience.

It has extra large articulating foot plates with cushioning. These footplates are specifically designed to provide extra cushioning during your workout. The cushioning is useful for heavy people because they tend to put more pressure on the pedals because of their weight.

The E614 from Nautilus is a sturdy machine which provides a comfortable workout experience. It has extra large articulating foot plates with cushioning. These footplates are specifically designed to provide extra cushioning during your workout. The cushioning is useful for heavy people because they tend to put more pressure on the pedals because of their weight.

​Furthermore, just like the Schwinn 470, this model has extra frame support, two integrated levelers, and oversized crossbar tubing. The frame support, levelers and crossbar tubing make the construction of the E614 more stable.

​The grip handlebars in the middle of the ​machine are ergonomically placed. This might be useful for people who want to use the heart rate programs. It has a total of 8 heart rate controlled programs for you to choose from.

​Additionally, you can also choose between; 9 profile, 2 fitness tests, 2 manual user profiles and 1 quick start program. So there are more than enough programs to bring variation into your normal cardio routine.

PROS

  • Extra stable construction because of the frame support, crossbar tubing, and levelers.
  • Ergonomically placed grip heart rate sensors, which is useful for the heart rate controlled programs.
  • ​Speakers and a fan may make your workout more enjoyable.

CONS

  • ​The six position incline needs manual adjustment. This means you’ll have to get off the machine to adjust the workout angle.
  • ​The fitness tracking system requires manual uploading with a USB drive to nautilusconnect.com or myfitnesspal.com.
The fitness tracking system requires manual uploading with a USB drive to nautilusconnect.com or myfitnesspal.com.
Additionally, you can also choose between; 9 profile, 2 fitness tests, 2 manual user profiles and 1 quick start program. So there are more than enough programs to bring variation into your normal cardio routine.

ProForm Smart Strider 935 (350 Lbs capacity)

​The ProForm Smart Strider 935 is a folding ​model with a 350 Lb weight limit. The commercial-grade steel construction is one of the reasons this ​model can hold a maximum weight of 350 pounds. ​The commercial-grade steel construction is probably the reason why ProForm decided to give a relatively long warranty.

The ProForm Smart Strider 935 is a folding elliptical with a 350 Lb weight limit. The commercial-grade steel construction is one of the reasons this elliptical can hold a maximum weight of 350 pounds.

​You’ll get a lifetime warranty on the frame, 25 years of warranty on the motor and one year on parts and labor. The relatively long warranty is a good indicator of the quality of this model. (Manufacturers warranty might not apply in all cases).

One of the things which sets this model apart from the other ellipticals in this article is the 7-inch full-color touchscreen display. You can use the screen to track your workouts and challenge yourself.

Furthermore, the ​935 offers a lot of room for customization. You can adjust the incline up to 10 degrees; it has oversized pedals and 20 digital resistance levels. Especially the oversized pedals are an interesting feature. You can adjust the pedals, which helps to improve the comfort of your workout.

PROS

  • ​Relatively high 350 Lb weight capacity.
  • The 7” full-color touch display helps to make your workout more enjoyable.
  • ​The space saving fold-away design makes it easier to store.

CONS

  • It’s quite heavy; this might make it harder to move.
  • Some people might not like the design colors (of the pedals).
Furthermore, the elliptical offers a lot of room for customization. You can adjust the incline up to 10 degrees; it has oversized pedals and 20 digital resistance levels. Especially the oversized pedals are an interesting feature. You can adjust the pedals, which helps to improve the comfort of your workout.

Sole Fitness E95 (400 Lbs capacity)

​With a maximum weight capacity of 400 Lb, you can expect the Sole Fitness E95 to be a sturdy machine. The ​machine itself weighs 215 pounds, which is relatively high.

As you might already know, the weight of the machine is a good indication of the overall stability.

With a maximum weight capacity of 400 Lb, you can expect the Sole Fitness E95 to be a sturdy machine. The elliptical itself weighs 215 pounds, which is relatively high. As you might already know, the weight of the machine is a good indication of the overall stability.

​It seems like Sole Fitness is entirely convinced about the quality​, else they wouldn’t give you a two-year labor warranty, five years on the parts and electronics and a lifetime warranty on the frame.

​Another noteworthy aspect is the 34 Lb flywheel, which is relatively high, compared to the other ellipticals in this article. A heavier flywheel usually provides a smoother workout experience.

​The E95 is a more advanced model suited for overweight users who are planning to use their machine on a daily basis. Or maybe share it with other heavy persons. Its got a lot of features. So you won’t easily get bored.

The E95 is a more advanced model suited for overweight users who are planning to use their machine on a daily basis. Or maybe share it with other heavy persons. Its got a lot of features. So you won’t easily get bored.

PROS

  • ​The maximum weight limit of 400 pounds is relatively high compared to the other machines.
  • ​The pedals are designed in collaboration with a physical therapist. According to Sole Fitness, the 2-degree inward slope pedals reduces the stress on the knees and ankles.
  • ​​A relatively heavy flywheel of 34 Lb. This helps to provide a comfortable workout experience.
A relatively heavy flywheel of 34 Lb. This helps to provide a comfortable workout experience.

CONS

  • This elliptical has ten workout programs; two heart rate programs, two custom programs and six standard programs. Some people might want more programs.

Conclusion

​After reading this article, you are hopefully closer to making your final decision. I understand the choice you have to make might be a bit hard. It seems like there are a lot of models, but depending on your weight, the options tend to be more limited.

​I usually pick one clear winner in this kind of articles. However, if you are a heavier person, you’ll always need to keep an eye on the weight limit. A 250-pound person will probably need another machine as opposed to a 300-pound user.

So that’s why it’s a bit hard for me to pick one clear winner. Although, in general, I can certainly recommend the Schwinn 470, which in my opinion is the clear winner if you weigh less than 300 lbs.

​The reason why I recommend this model is simple. The solid construction makes this machine relatively sturdy. With 29 workout programs, a 10-degree incline and 25 levels of magnetic resistance it also has enough features to keep varying your workout routine. That’s why I would go for the Schwinn 470.

The reason why I recommend this model is simple. The solid construction makes this machine relatively sturdy. With 29 workout programs, a 10 degree incline and 25 levels of magnetic resistance it also has enough features to keep varying your workout routine. That’s why I would go for the Schwinn 470.
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