Which Will Give You A Better HIIT Workout Elliptical vs Treadmill

Elliptical or Treadmill

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is all the rage and for a good reason, it’s by far better for you than cardio. There is a simple reason for this, when you perform HIIT your metabolism and body will function at a higher rate, burning calories for hours after your workout. You’ll continue to burn calories for up to a 24 hour period after your workout is complete.

You are forced to adjust to changing conditions such as: jogging, sprints, and going up and down on hills. It’s a far more intense workout than just running on a treadmill. You can do HIIT easily on a treadmill or an elliptical at the gym or in your home gym. But, is one better then the other?

Differences Between Elliptical and Treadmill

When you think of cardio equipment elliptical trainers and treadmills are the most popular pieces of exercise equipment. Treadmill technology has been around for a much longer time than the elliptical and is better known. You can get a high impact workout on a treadmill and use your body’s full range of motion.

But, compared to treadmills an elliptical offers you no impact on the ground, which is great for people who need a gentler workout or have injuries. The treadmill has more impact on your body, but this can strengthen your bones.
Lets break down the benefits of each to get a better understanding if one is better then the other:

A look at the Elliptical Machine:

Elliptical Benefits:

• An elliptical is less stressful on your knees, back and hips. Running can cause unnecessary pressure on joints.
• Works you harder than you realize and when using the elliptical you burn close to the same amount of calories you would on a treadmill with less effort.
• When you complete a workout your body will need less recovery time because of the lower impact. This means you’ll be able to get back in the gym for another HIIT session faster.

Types of Workouts:

• Reverse Stride- You can move the pedals backwards which helps to work different muscle groups than you would work by pedalling forward. It especially works wonders on the quads.
• Non-Impact Interval Training – You increase and lower intensity to perform an interval session and emulate a running motion without adding stress to your joints.
• Cross-Training Ability- Elliptical has moveable handles which will allow you to work your lower and upper body at the same time.

Elliptical Drawbacks:

What they do not provide is complete control of your workout. With an elliptical you cannot adjust the speed or intensity at the same precision as you can on a treadmill. Due to the fact that the pedals are off the ground you’ll not have the same resistance as other machines. This means they are great for losing a few pounds, but you’ll not get be able to strengthen your muscles and bones at the same time, like other machines.

A look at the Treadmill:

Benefits of a Treadmill:

• When you run you are propelling your body weight and that requires a lot of effort. This is how your body can burn a ton of calories and why people love to run.
• Due to weight-bearing running can help you strengthen muscles and bones, which is beneficial, as you get older.
• Running on a treadmill is less impactful then running on the road.
• A treadmill give you more control on intensity and elevation to take you HIIT train up a notch.

Types of Workouts:

• Interval Training- This is one of the most efficient ways to lose weight. It’s a combination of different types of exercises that are performed at different efforts in intervals. It’s all about doing short bursts of intensity followed by quick cool downs during a workout.
• Weight-Loss Side Shuffle- If you don’t like running in place this is a good workout for you. You start with a warm-up for 3 minutes at a steady pace. After that you can turn to the left and side shuffle for a half a minute before you turn to the right side and do another half minute shuffle.
• Walk-Jog- This is a good one if you aren’t a beginner runner. It just mixes up walking and jogging. Do a variation of walking, running and jogging.
• They have multiples settings for more workouts. These include manual, fat burn, cardio, hills, intervals and more depending on the machine

Treadmill Drawbacks:

What they do not provide your body is a stress free workout solution. Treadmills can be tough on your joints due to the high impact. Running can be hard especially for beginners. People just starting out should gravitate towards the machines that offer more comfort. There is a safety issue for beginners who try to engage in high-intensity workouts especially sprints, which could be dangerous if you aren’t used to it.


Both machines are effective in burning calories during a workout. An elliptical is more geared towards those who want a good workout but don’t want to stress out their joints. Just note that calorie counters on an elliptical machine are often overestimated.

Treadmills offer more in regards to different workouts and can give you a difficult workout if that’s what you are looking for. You can certainly burn more calories on a treadmill than an elliptical due to the fact that you are supporting your own body weight. There is more potential for injury or stress on the joints however. So take a step back and see where you are at in your physical condition or consult with a professional trainer to set you up with a proper workout program.