Most elliptical trainers have 1 of 2 designs – front or rear drive designs (see below):
But a new type of elliptical trainer design is really taking off with models like the popular Nordictrack ACT Commercial crosstrainer – the center drive elliptical:
So what is this type of elliptical so popular? Because it offers you some distinct advantages over other designs. Here are 3 of the main benefits of this type of crosstrainer:
#1 You Stand More Upright
Instead of leaning on the handrails – as you tend to do with many of the cheaper rear-drive ellipticals – you stand more upright on a center drive machine.
This not only feels more comfortable (and more natural), but some experts even claim that you actually burn more calories (because you’re not leaning on the handrails for support as much). So you’ll see faster results from your workouts.
#2 More Compact Design
These crosstrainers tend to be more compact and take up less space than traditional ellipticals. They are more of a square than a long rectangle. So if you don’t have a lot of space in your workout area, a center drive machine may be a good choice for you.
#3 Less Strain on Hips
This design also tends to place the footpedals closer together – which mimics a more natural running stance. This feels more natural and also reduces the strain on your hips and back.
If you plan on doing longer workouts, this is definitely something to consider.
So those are the main benefits of center drive ellipticals – are there any drawbacks?
Well there is one that you should know:
#1 No Ramp
Ramp (also called incline) changes the slope of the elliptical motion and helps you to crosstrain different muscle groups.
Because of this, people really like this option (although it’s not at all imperative to have it on your elliptical).
Unfortunately, because of the limits of a center drive design, you don’t get a ramp option on these trainers. If you really want a ramp or incline option, you’ll want to consider getting a front or rear drive machine instead.
So those are the benefits – and drawback – of a center drive elliptical trainer. The most popular (and more affordable) center drive crosstrainer is currently the Nordictrack ACT Commercial (coming in under $1000 here).