Elliptical Stride Length – What Is It?

And Which Stride is Best For You?


 elliptical trainer stride lengthIf you’ve been shopping for different ellipticals, you’ve probably noticed that each trainer will list the stride length.

Sometimes crosstrainers even have multiple or adjustable strides.

It can get confusing – you may be wondering: “What exactly is stride length and which should I choose?”

Here’s what you need to know:


What Is Stride Length?


nordictrack-elite-16-7-pedalsVery simply, it’s the furthest distance between the two pedals. So on an elliptical trainer, a longer stride will give you more of a running type motion.

Whereas a shorter one will give you a shorter, step-like motion (which isn’t always a good thing).

Ellipticals range from 12 inches all the way up to 23 inches. Most people find that 12 to 16 inches is just way to short (unless you’re under 5 feet tall). Most quality crosstrainers will give you from 18 to 20 inches.


Which is Best For You?


Well, it usually correlates with your height. For example, people under 5 ‘4″ tend to like a 18 – 20 inch stride  – nothing longer.

nordictrack elite 16.7 flywheelPeople over 5’4″ tend to prefer a 20 inch or higher. And if you’re over 6 feet, you’ll definitely want a 20 inch stride or more – but not less.

Keep in mind that a longer length will help you more fully work your leg muscles – so you’ll get a more productive workout (and probably burn more calories).

A longer setting will also feel more natural – you won’t get the jerky stops-and-starts you often get with cheaper, short-stride crosstrainers.


Other Things You Should Know:


Nordictrack has a few models like the ACT and ACT  Commercial 10 that come with adjustable options (18, 20 and 22 inches) where you can choose the one that feels right for you.

adjustable strideYou set the stride before your workout and it stays that way throughout the workout.

This is a great option for multiple families (and if you’re not entirely sure which length you will prefer).

However be aware that they also have a few ellipticals (like the E 11.7) that they advertise as an “adjustable stride”. However this is not the same as the trainers above. The distance between the pedals changes only when you change the ramp settings.

This may or may not matter to you (changing your stride length during your workout may be a great way to add some variety).

But it is something many buyers miss that you should probably know before you buy. My motto is – no surprises when you’re buying! Good luck!