Which Is Best For You?
Trying to decide between an elliptical vs Bowflex Max Trainer? You’re not alone.
Bowflex shook up the entire fitness equipment industry when they came out with the Max Trainer.
It was a really unique-looking machine with several benefits over a standard elliptical.
The main benefit?
Helping you burn up to 2.5 times more calories than a regular elliptical.
Bowflex has also added several specially-designed HIIT workouts to the Max Trainer that can help you get a more effective workout in less time – which is great for busy lifestyles.
But is the Max Trainer actually better an elliptical?
Does an elliptical trainer perhaps have some benefits over the Bowflex Max Trainer?
Let’s take a look and compare the Bowflex Max vs elliptical to see which is right for you.
Elliptical vs Bowflex Max – Price
The Max Trainer starts around $999 and ranges up to about $2599, depending on the model. You can compare different models – and get a Free Coupon code plus Free Shipping here.
You get a slightly better range of price options with an elliptical trainer. These machines can start around $799 for a decent starter model and go up to $4000 for a commercial model.
(You can even go below that – however anything below $600 tends to be made with cheap parts and very short warranties.)
Elliptical vs Bowflex Max – Lower Body Motion
This is where you see the main difference between the two machines.
An elliptical stride is meant to mimic a natural running motion (with less impact on the joints). So it’s more of an elongated, horizontal, oval motion.
The Max Trainer however is more of a stair-climbing or vertical-climbing motion.
The benefit to the vertical climbing motion is that you engage more lower body muscles. And engaging more muscles means you burn more calories faster.
How Many Calories Burned?
This is where the Bowflex Max really shines. According to the Manufacturer you can burn up to 2.5 more calories on a Max Trainer than a traditional elliptical (or treadmill or stair climber). And they’ve done the lab tests to prove this.
In fact some Bowflex Max Trial users burned up to 600 calories in 30 minutes – which is incredible.
Why would you burn more calories on a Max Trainer than an elliptical?
I think this comes down to 2 factors. First of all, climbing is more intense and uses more lower body muscles than running. So that’s going to burn more calories automatically.
Also, the Max Trainer comes with several built-in high intensity interval training (or HIIT) workouts. This is where you work as hard as you can for a short time period followed by a longer, much lighter exercise (where you rest and catch your breath) – followed by the hard, intense interval again – followed by the lighter resting phase, etc, etc.
This kind of high intensity interval training has been shown to burn a lot more calories both during your workout – and even for 24 – 48 hours afterwards.
So a Max Trainer workout can have your body in high-calorie burning mode for up to 48 hours post workout.
Bottom line? The Max Trainer is clearly a better option if you’re looking to burn the most calories (or see the fastest weight loss results) in the least amount of time.
Elliptical vs Bowflex Max – Upper Body Workout
The Bowflex Max has the same style of moving upper body arms bars as an elliptical trainer. However according to tests done by the manufacturer, the Max trainer actually engages more upper body muscles than an elliptical.
Testing in the lab showed that it engaged more core and lower body muscles than ellipticals and up to 80% more upper body muscles.
This is probably due to the fact that you’re standing more upright on the Max Trainer and not leaning on the handlebars as much as you would on an elliptical.
So you’re actually using your upper body muscles to move the arm bars on the Max Trainer (instead of leaning on them to move them with your entire body weight like an elliptical – which is going to be less effective).
So again, the Max Trainer has the advantage when it comes to getting a more effective, full-body workout.
Dynamic Training Options
Several elliptical trainer brands today are starting to give you tracking or interactive workout options. Some trainers are even going online and giving you new workouts to download.
They’ve added something called Max Intelligence.
This is an optional subscription-based service you can add if you want. It can do a fitness assessment and then send you customized daily workouts to your trainer.
It’s basically a way to get dynamic coaching right from your machine. You can also choose from a library of personal-trainer-led workouts to watch or even run trails all over the world for some virtual reality fun.
While some elliptical trainers are offering you similar Smart training options like this – there are many others that don’t have anything other than a few built-in workouts.
So if you’re interested in additional challenges or workouts, you really have to compare the Bowflex Max trainer to a specific elliptical to see what it actually gives you – and if it measures up to the Max Intelligence feature.
Benefits Of An Elliptical Trainer
So the Bowflex Max has some pretty impressive benefits over the elliptical trainer. But does an elliptical trainer have some benefits over the Max Trainer?
Yes it does.
You get more workout variety on a standard elliptical trainer, especially when it comes to lower body motion.
For example, when you look at the Bowflex elliptical trainers like the Bowflex BXE 216 (see pic below) you’ll notice you can pedal forward or backwards. You even have incline – which changes the slope of the elliptical pathway for more variety.
You can also find elliptical trainers that fold up to save you space like the Nordictrack SE9i for example. So if space is at a premium for you this is a huge benefit.
The Max trainer – while more compact than most elliptical trainers or treadmills – does not fold up.
And it can be heavy – which is great for stability (the machine won’t wobble or shake as you use it) – however it does make it hard to move.
So what’s the bottom line in the elliptical vs Bowflex Max debate? Well, it really comes down to what you’re looking for.
An elliptical trainer gives you more of a running motion with forward and back options. And you have more in terms of price and design options (front-wheel, rear-wheel designs, foldup trainers etc.)
The Max trainer however burns a lot more calories than a typical elliptical and will give you an overall better whole-body workout.
The Bowflex Max machine also takes up less space than a standard elliptical trainer, making it a great choice for smaller workout areas like condos or apartments.
So they both have their benefits. It really comes down to what you need in a trainer!
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