Understanding The Best Cardio Machines For Weight Loss

Understanding The Best Cardio Machines For Weight Loss

Building cardiovascular fitness is an essential part of any keep-fit regime, and it therefore comes as no surprise that there are plenty of gyms and equipment manufacturers that are trying to cash in on this.

There are plenty of options out there – from treadmills and exercise bikes to weirder contraptions like the Skierg – but which are the best cardio machines for weight loss?

Don’t be fooled by the weird machines and strange fads. These unique methods have their downsides.

Just because a piece of equipment is the next big craze in fitness and your gym is proudly showing it off to all members, that doesn’t mean that it is the best option for cardio.

There are lots of machines out there that try and give a different approach to cardio exercise, such as the Jacobs Ladder and the Skierg, but while they are fun for a change of pace and a little diversity in the routine, they are not necessarily any more effective.

The motions and intensity aren’t going to burn calories in the same way as more traditional machines. The other problem here comes from the fact that these machines just aren’t all that accessible.

You may read about them in blogs and think they look fun, but there is no guarantee that your local gym will have the funds, or the desire to purchase one.

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Focus on the tried and tested machines that you know you can use each session…

The best thing to do is to look for machines that are accessible and can be used in a straightforward regime.

This way you can not only be sure of burning off plenty of calories and making improvements to your cardiovascular health, you can be sure of building a strong routine on the same piece of equipment and measuring your progress.

The big three here have to be the exercise bike, rowing machine and treadmill.

Some criticize the potential of the rowing machine because it is an unnatural motion but, when carried out correctly, it does provide a good workout across the whole body.

The effectiveness of exercise bikes, meanwhile, can depend greatly on the style. Recumbent bikes are more comfortable, but they are definitely the laid-back option compared to more intense spinning sessions or an Airdyne bike.

There are a great tool for the less-able or the newcomer that wants to ease themselves into exercise, but they won’t raise the heart rate much above 115bpm.

Airdyne bikes, on the other hand, provide a tougher workout and have that added benefit of wind resistance.

The number one option here, however, has to be the treadmill. It is as simple to use as they come, every gym has plenty of them ready to go and they can be tailored to suit all users.

You can take a brisk walk if you need a low impact option or go for a run if you really want to push yourself. You can also adjust the speed and incline of the belt for a greater challenge.

On top of this, studies show that they provide a greater cardiovascular workout than other machine.

One published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that treadmill work leads to the highest rates and aerobic demands and energy expenditure.

The effectiveness of a machine can often come down to technique…

There are some exceptions to the rule about basic, accessible machines being the way to go here and the best example of this is the elliptical machine.

These machines look as though they can give the best work out possible, because they are working your arms and legs, but they may not be as effective as you think.

You also have to consider the way that you use a machine, not just the machine itself. They all have potential, but that potential can be better harnessed with the right movements and technique.

A great example of this is the stair master. This machine can seem like tough challenges for working the legs and building cardiovascular strength, but the level at which it does so can depend on on what you are doing with your arms.

Are they taking your weight and supporting you on the hand rail, or are they free to move?

Find a machine that you can enjoy and work with on a regular basis…

Different users will have different opinions on the best cardio machines for weight loss and that is because it comes down to personal preferences, fitness needs and availability.

The treadmill and exercise bike are a great starting point for people getting started with cardio, but if you can build a regular routine on a more obscure piece of equipment – and are seeing clear benefits – stick with it.

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12 thoughts on “Understanding The Best Cardio Machines For Weight Loss

  1. Hi Chris,
    Thank you for such an interesting content.
    I like to exercise my self but I don’t have much time. At weekends I love to ride my bike but I always think that it is not enough because I only exercise my legs, right?
    When I had the time I used to go to the gym, but I never liked those weird machines, I only used the traditional ones that you say: treadmill, exercise bike and rowing machine. Those are the classics, right?
    Everybody knows how to use them. And the problem is that if you use a weird machine and if you don’t know how to use it in the right way you can really hurt yourself!
    So, I agree with you in everything, it is better to chose a machine that we can enjoy and work with in a regular basis.

    1. Actually cycling is pretty good for a cardio workout Alex – it’s not as good as an impact regime like running but it certainly has it’s place in fitness!

  2. Hi Chris,
    Nice overview on cardio equipment. As one who has spent some time in the gym, I agree with your assessment and particularly agree to avoid fad equipment and training methods. I think there’s a lot to said for the rowing machine and technique is everything. Thanks for the info.

  3. Hello Chris,
    Great advice on cardio machines. I have never owned any piece of gym equipment to lose weight.

    I lost it all at home without equipment. Now when I travelled, I would do HIIT on the treadmills. Very good for you.

    I would run 1 1/2 minutes and walk briskly for 1 minute. Do this 8 times and you have a great cardio workout.

    1. Hi Billy,

      Run for one and a half minutes then walk for a minute? Only 8 times? It seems a little tame to me if I’m honest with you Billy. Were you looking to lose weight or were you just looking for a quick cardio top up?

  4. This is a very good read, thank you very much for posting it. I have been training on and off most of my life. I have recently been recovering from a injured back.

    I have gained around 5 pounds since this happened. Could you recommend the best cardio I can do which won’t aggravate my injuries.

    1. Hi Alan, well you really need to give us a bit more information on what exactly your back injury is? In most cases it will be walking (on a flat surface if possible) but we do need to know more about your exact injury first!

  5. I found out a lot of new stuff from your post!
    I have some friends that work out with cardio machines pretty often, and one of them once told me he doesn’t like to work out with a certain machine. So from your post I can see that it’s okay to find one that you enjoy working with, and keep working with that one, right? I’ll show this post to my friend, as he is a huge fan of everything that involves cardio work out.

    1. Yes of course Ashley. In my experience most people end up finding a machine that ‘fits’ their workout best. Nothing wrong with that at all!

  6. Thank you for such a thrilling content.

    I love to exercising myself, but I don’t have time between university and work 🙁

    At weekends I like to ride my motorbike however I realized through this post that the best way to do exercise is by doing some cycling or running (riding a motorcycle isn’t exactly exercise – I get that. I GET that!).

    After I had the time, I used to go to the health club, but I in no way appreciated those bizarre machines, I only used the traditional ones that you say: treadmill, workout motorbike, and rowing machine. Those are the classics, right?

    What do you think about all these new Science Fiction machines that are hitting our gyms and our health clubs? Are they really as effective as the makers make out or are they more a flash in the pan.

    Do you use these newer examples or are you much more of a traditionalist like me 🙂

    1. Haha – Science Fiction workout machines…I love that Kevin (you managed to give me a ‘morning smile’ here in front of my laptop!).

      No, I’m not really a big fan of them and I often find they are the long (and painful) way around to the same destination.

      The more traditional options are always going to be more my kinda thing Kevin – they are what I know and what I have succeeded with in the past!

      To be honest with you, if you don’t like gym machines (or the gym in general) that much you should try going out for a simple run. You’d be surprised at the amount of weight you can lose through a handful of runs each week!

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