Large bodies of research point to the efficacy of elliptical training. One study from the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that, in females, elliptical training yields the same metabolic and cardiorespiratory responses as other high-intensity activities like running and stair-climbing.
However, if you’re looking to take your workout down a notch, research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests the elliptical requires only 60 percent of effort as a treadmill, which can be great for those suffering from chronic conditions or looking for an active recovery day at the gym.
Either way, you’ll still get a bomb workout: One study from the journal Gait Posture found that of all common low-impact cardiorespiratory activities, including stationary cycling, treadmill walking, and overground walking, elliptical training recruits the quadriceps to a much larger degree.
Under the guidance of a professional, strengthening the quads is a great way for clients with knee pain or instability to find relief, and quads are integral in everyday movement patterns from getting up and down from a chair to taking the stairs.