Apartment or small home owners living in a limited amount of square footage knows that space comes at a premium. Thankfully, elliptical machines can vary a great deal in size so you have options without sacrificing the features that make for a quality workout.
When choosing an elliptical for small spaces, stride length and height requirements are two things that have to be taken into consideration.
Stride Length – Your stride is directly affected by the weight and stability of your elliptical’s frame. Avoid machines with a flimsy or unstable frame as they often deliver a short, choppy stride. This is often the case with cheaper models (under $500) as they sacrifice the quality and weight of the frame for a lower priced product.
Most of the machines that we recommend come with a stride length greater than 18”. A taller individual is going to want to look for a stride length that is even longer (21 or 22”) so they don’t feel cramped in their motion. If you have more than one user that plans to use the machine, you may also want to look for an elliptical with an adjustable stride that works for multiple family members.
Height Requirements – Make sure you consider the max step-up height of any model so you know if you have enough ceiling height. This may be especially important for people to consider if they are planning to put their exercise machines in a basement with a low ceiling.
Height requirements will vary by model and brand. For example, NordicTrack recommends 15” above your standing height. Someone that is 6’ tall would need to ensure they have a 7’3” ceiling height if they don’t want to be banging their head on the ceiling. Don’t learn that lesson the hard way during your first home workout session!
There are three different types of ellipticals: front, rear and center drive. While there are differences, each of these designs can be suited to small spaces by choosing the right model with the right features.
Rear drive machines do have their own unique benefits that set them apart. By placing the drive at the back you are able to stay centered and balanced on the machine, which allows for a more natural walking/jogging stride. Remember that rear drive machines do tend to be longer, so they may take up more space when you are using them. However, there are folding models available that make storage a snap!
NordicTrack Space Saver SE7i and NordicTrack Space Saver SE9i – The larger, heavier base on these models means that it provides a stable, solid foundation helping you keep a smooth, steady stride. These are also folding models so you don’t need to make a permanent space for your elliptical. Simply fold it up and put it away when you’re finished with your workout. Choose from the available features and the super easy assembly will have you ready to go in no time.
ProForm SMART Strider 895 – The model also allows you to fold it up when you’re not using it so that you aren’t taking up precious floor space in a small home or apartment. As with other rear drive machines, the front incline allows you to maintain a smooth elliptical stride even as you push your different muscle groups working through those higher inclines.
This style of elliptical tends to take up less space and can also be found with a folding feature for increased storage capability. You may notice a slightly different feel to your workout on a front drive machine. Some people describe the feeling of needing to lean slightly forward. Front drive ellipticals are often lower to the ground so this may be key for those with ceiling height concerns.
The Sole Elliptical E35 will provide the stable, sturdy base that you’re looking for in a front drive design. Another benefit of this model for those living in an apartment is how quiet it is. This is valuable if you’re sharing walls with your neighbors! It comes with a long and smooth 20-22” adjustable stride so it’s a great option for taller users.
Horizon Evolve 3 – This front drive design folds for storage, giving you back precious floor space when you aren’t working out. Plus, the low-step on height makes mounting and dismounting easy for everyone. The Evolve 3 and Evolve 5 are even designed to keep you more upright, eliminating some of the forward lean found in other front drive models. The Horizon Evolve 5 also offers a hydraulic folding system to make storage easy and convenient. The heavier flywheel provides an even stride, while the heavy base allows for increased stability.
Finally, those with space on their minds might want to consider a center drive elliptical. These machines are a unique mix of stair climber, treadmill and elliptical. In addition, they have the smallest footprint out of the options available when shopping for an elliptical. Check out a few of the different designs you can find.
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 – This center drive machine will provide the cardio of a stair climber while working the muscle groups of your upper and lower body simultaneously. The Bowflex Max Trainer is an excellent choice if you want to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT.) Get the maximum results with a minimal time commitment. And with a length of just 46”, it can save you feet of space compared to the average length of a traditional elliptical!
NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i – This machine is designed to allow you more freedom of movement than any of the other designs available. This variety of motion really combines the movement and exertion of a stair climber, treadmill and elliptical, giving you an excellent full-body workout. For small spaces, it must be noted that this design requires space in front to allow for that varied motion.
Another center drive design from NordicTrack is the ACT Commercial 10. This model provides a compact footprint different from any other at only 51”. An adjustable stride means that the small base still allows you to find the most comfortable stride length for you. Plus, the centered construction also eliminates any forward lean for a more natural, upright posture.
With all of these options, there is no reason to let a small living space hold you back. You can still get a great workout and feel good about yourself, without having your style cramped by bulky exercise equipment. Check them out today and find the one that best fits both you and your home.