Considerations When Buying an Elliptical Trainer – Stride Length
Looking or the best elliptical stride length for you?
Many people are confused about stride length when they go to compare elliptical trainers.
What exactly is it? And which is best for you?
This post will give you a rundown of a few things to consider when looking at elliptical stride length to help you find the best fit for you.
So let’s dive in:
What is Elliptical Stride Length?
Basically the elliptical stride, as most manufacturers measure it, is the furthest distance between the two pedals of your elliptical.
Why is this important?
Well, think of your running or walking gait.
You have a natural running gait that feels most comfortable for you. But if someone forced you to shorten your running gait – or even lengthen it, it would feel really uncomfortable after a while, right?
That’s kind of like what it feels like when choosing an elliptical stride that’s too short – or too long.
So it’s important when choosing an elliptical trainer to find the most comfortable, natural-feeling stride for you.
There are a few ways you can avoid choosing an elliptical with the wrong stride length.
First – know which stride lengths are suitable for your height – and the height of others in your home.
Or second – choose an elliptical with an adjustable or variable stride. This way you – or others in your home – can find the stride that’s most comfortable for you.
Let’s dive into your options here:
What’s the Best Elliptical Stride for You?
In general, stride lengths vary across the board. You can find elliptical strides with 14 inches all the way up to 21 inches. (There are longer variable stride lengths as well – but we’ll cover that in the next point).
Cheaper elliptical trainers (like many that you find in big box stores) tend to have shorter stride lengths of around 14-16 inches.
These don’t really feel comfortable for anyone and result in a less effective workout (since you’re not fully working your lower body muscles).
Most people in general feel comfortable with an 18, 19 or 20 inch stride length. Thus, you’ll see most of the higher end elliptical brands use these stride lengths on their machines.
There are subtle differences also.
For example, if you’re under 5 foot 4 inches, you’ll probably feel more comfortable with an 18-inch elliptical stride. If you’re over 6 feet, you’ll most likely prefer a 20-inch stride.
But a difference of an inch isn’t going to be a huge deal-breaker overall. (For example, changing the incline of an elliptical can change the stride length by up to 1 inch).
But what if there are multiple people who’ll be using the elliptical trainer? Or what if you want the freedom to change up your stride?
That’s where the next option comes in:
Variable Stride Elliptical Trainers
There have been different kinds of variable or adjustable stride elliptical trainers over the years.
Unfortunately, there aren’t as many around in the market now – unless you want to pay $6000+ for a commercial model.
One that is very popular is the Nordictrack Freestride Trainer. This is a variable, adjustable stride elliptical that can go up to a 32-inch stride.
You can change the running path and stride on this elliptical by how hard and in which direction you push the pedals.
So you can do shorter, up-and-down strides like a stair-climber, medium jogging strides like a regular elliptical – or even longer hurdling strides like a running treadmill.
You have a lot of freedom with this option. Nordictrack currently makes 2 types of Freestride trainers – the FS10i and FS14i. Both give you the variable stride. The main difference between them is price, size of the screen and incline/decline options.
If you’re looking for one of the best ellipticals with both adjustable stride and incline, these are two trainers to consider. You can compare them with our post here. Or use the link below to compare and purchase them direct from the manufacturer.
There are a few more “variable” stride ellipticals as well.
Another one to consider is the Sole E95S – which gives you stride lengths of 18-24 inches.
This is more like a traditional elliptical in that you can’t vary the lower body motion as you can with the Freestride Trainer above.
But you can adjust the stride length to what you want – and go. And many people like this option.
The Sole E95S is also a monster machine with heavy-duty 30-lb flywheel and a 400-pound user weight capacity. Sole has also added a tablet holder above the console. So you can add your own tablet and watch your favorite movies or shows as you run.
One word of warning: Make sure you get the E95S model – not the E95 model.
A lot of stores only carry the E95 model (which does NOT have the adjustable stride). Check out the link below for more on the Sole E95S elliptical.
So those are some options if you’re looking for the best elliptical stride for you.
Either choose an optimal stride that is based on your height. Or try to find a trainer with a variable stride that will cover multiple stride lengths.
Regardless of what you decide, remember that while stride is important, it’s not the only thing to consider.
You also need to look at other things like overall design, footprint and workout features to find the best fit for your personal needs. Take your time, do some research and then have fun choosing the best trainer for you!