Looking to compare the Nordictrack Freestrider vs elliptical?
The Nordictrack Freestrider is a new type of elliptical that’s really shaking things up in the elliptical market.
It has the advantage of giving you an adaptable stride up of to 32 inches.
Plus it’s also more compact than front drive or rear drive crosstrainers, making it popular with smaller home gyms.
But it’s not necessarily the right choice for everyone.
Elliptical Trainers give you a couple of options that the Freestrider does not.
So which is better for you?
This post will give you a rundown of the main differences between them so hopefully you can find the best fit for you:
Freestrider vs Elliptical: Price
There are currently 3 different Freestride Trainer models – the FS5i, FS7i and FS9i.
They range from a simple, basic model up to a premium model with all the bells and whistles. You can get them starting around $1499 with Free Shipping direct from the Manufacturer here.
The different Freestrider models vary in terms of console features, flywheel and workout programs. However for the most part they all have the same adaptable-stride design that makes the Freestrider so popular.
With elliptical trainers, you can obviously find a range of different price points from budget all the way up to premium. For example, Nordictrack Ellipticals start around $899 and range up to $1799 with Free Shipping here.
Keep in mind however that with elliptical trainers you do get what you pay for. So higher end models will give you stronger construction, better strides and a more ergonomic design (which means no pain after your workout).
Freestrider vs Elliptical: Stride
This is where you’ll see the biggest difference between the two.
Stride length is the furthest distance between the pedals. Most elliptical trainers give you one set stride length (usually about 18 – 20 inches on higher end machines and 14 to 17 inches on cheaper models).
The downside to this is that your body can quickly adapt to that one set motion you’re doing over and over again. So your body gets more efficient and ultimately ends up burning less calories over time.
The other downside to this is that everyone is different. And different people feel more comfortable with different stride lengths (and it doesn’t always depend on your height either as to which stride is most comfortable for you).
So you may feel great with a 20 inch stride but your partner feels better with an 18 inch stride.
The Freestride Trainer gets around these 2 problems by giving you a variable, adaptable stride of up to 32 inches. This means basically that you can choose-your-own-stride. So you can choose the most comfortable stride length for you.
It also means that you can constantly change things up – short, stair-climbing strides, longer jogging strides or even longer hurdling type strides. By changing it up, it’s harder for your body to adapt.
Plus you end up using more lower body muscle groups to do this. And all this equates to burning more calories.
So it’s a good bet that you’ll see more calories burned and more weight loss with the Freestrider than with a regular elliptical trainer.
Freestrider vs Elliptical: Design
The design is also quite different on these two machines.
Unlike a traditional elliptical trainer, the footpedals on the Freestrider ride on belts, rather than the traditional rails attached to the crank. This gives you more of a feeling of “running on air” and is smooth with nearly zero impact.
There’s also less potential for damage (and pricey repairs). How?
Most people don’t realize that ellipticals running on rails are prone to several issues. The rails can get dusty. And dirt can built up on the track, causing problems over time.
Also the wheels can come off the track and again cause problems (which often happens on cheap machines).
You don’t have this issue with the Freestrider – which is one less thing to worry about.
How Much Space Do You Need?
The Freestrider is generally a bit more compact than a regular elliptical – since it’s a center drive design (and without the track and wheels stretching out behind it). So compared to a regular elliptical trainer – it has an advantage when it comes to space.
The Freestride trainer unfortunately does not fold up. If you’re looking for a folding elliptical you may want to look at something like the Nordictrack Spacesaver SE7i for example.
Lower Body Impact
The feel of the Freestrider is a bit different than a traditional elliptical as well. Because the footpedals ride on belts, rather than the traditional rails, the unattached rotation offers nearly zero impact. This gives you a sensation of “floating on air” – which is pretty cool.
However also note that you have to set your own stride by the amount of pressure you put on the pedals – which you don’t do with an elliptical trainer. This can take some getting used to at first, especially if you’re a regular elliptical user.
Freestrider or Elliptical: Incline/Decline
Incline or decline changes the slope of your running pathway. Incline/decline can be found on both Nordictrack elliptical trainers and Freestrider trainers.
However you don’t get as high an incline with the Freestride trainers as you find with Nordictrack ellipticals. For example you get up to 10 degrees of incline with the FS7i Freestrider but up to 20 degrees on the Nordictrack Commercial 14.9 elliptical.
The Freestrider has a lot of unique benefits over traditional ellipticals like the adaptable stride and the zero impact design.
However elliptical trainers do offer you some advantages as well like the ability to find trainers that fold up or the ability to get higher incline.
It really depends on your goals, preferences and what’s most important to you.
Want to learn more?