At Pivotal Fitness Greenville sports club, we’re often consulted about what’s the better workout: treadmill or elliptical. Sometimes new members are trying to choose their preferred equipment to get started at the gym while others want to add an item to their home so that they can continue their fitness routine that they’ve developed here.

The first thing that’s important to know is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. It depends on your fitness goals as well as your health. For example, if you’re training for a marathon on flat pavement or sidewalks, you may be better off training on a treadmill that can simulate those conditions for you. And if you have hip, knee or other joint weaknesses, you may not want to put extra strain on them by using the treadmill. Although the elliptical replicates walking up the stairs, it also supports those motions and puts less pressure on your muscles and tendons. You can also use a treadmill with an incline feature to replicate the additional challenge of striving uphill.

Some people also argue that the treadmill requires more energy on behalf of the user, because the elliptical actually helps you lift your legs and bring them back down again thanks to the motorized movements. Meanwhile, walking forward on the treadmill requires more of your own power and strength despite the fact that the machine also scrolls forward with you. The flip side to this argument is that the elliptical provides more of a full-body workout and engages more muscles throughout your legs as well as your upper body. So in the same amount of time, you might be able to work out more of your muscle groups even if it is less strenuous on some of them than the treadmill would be.

But how are people actually spending their money? In terms of gym equipment purchases intended for the home, most people prefer treadmills over ellipticals by an almost 40% margin, as of 2009. That being said, from 2007-2011, elliptical sales have been growing strongly every year and might one day catch up to the more traditional treadmill.

In the end it really comes down to your preference. The best way to figure out what will work best for you is to come by our Greenville gym and try out these machines – and many more – to determine which equipment and what routine feel most comfortable to you and will help you accomplish your weight and health goals.