Elliptical Trainers vs. Cardio Climbers

Discover the benefits of Elliptical Trainers and Cardio Climbers along with workouts and difficulty levels, and find out which cardiovascular activity better suits your fitness goals.

2 min read


Sunny elliptical vs climber

Cardiovascular activity is so important for our overall health and fitness, helping us burn calories and keep our heart, lungs, and body healthy! However, many forms of cardio are high impact, placing stress on bones and joints. For those interested in reducing impact during cardio sessions, working out with elliptical trainers or cardio climbers are both great options! These machines are similar, but each is unique in that it may be better suited to different users. Keep reading to find out whether an elliptical trainer or cardio climber is the best choice for you.


The Benefits of Elliptical Trainers

Elliptical trainers are a great choice for those looking to increase cardiovascular activity. When using an elliptical, you’ll complete a striding motion very similar to walking or running, which makes it a wonderful choice for beginners, as this is a familiar motion most people already put into practice daily. With each stride, your feet are always supported on the footplates, reducing the impact on your ankles and knees.

You’ll also use your upper body while exercising on your elliptical to push and pull on the handlebars, making the elliptical a great option for a full body workout! Elliptical trainers often come with a variety of resistances to choose from to make your workout harder when you need it, and easier when you want it.

If you’re considering an elliptical, be sure to check out our article How to Use an Elliptical for More Effective Workouts to learn how to use your new elliptical and discover workouts you can use with your machine.


The Benefits of Cardio Climbers

Cardio climbers are very similar to ellipticals in that you’ll complete a striding motion on your machine; however, with a cardio climber, you’ll have the added challenge of a set incline. Adding incline into the equation presents an additional challenge on lower body muscles during your workout. This makes cardio climbers a great option for those looking both for a low impact cardio workout and more of a challenge on the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves than a standard elliptical trainer can provide.

Because your muscles work harder on a cardio climber, you’ll quickly find that workouts on these machines are more intense. That doesn’t mean you can’t make your workouts easier by adjusting your resistance or pace, however, it may take you more time to get up to speed on a cardio climber if you’re a first-time user. This makes cardio climbers a great choice for interval workouts like this 15-Minute High Intensity Cardio Climber HIIT Workout.


Which Machine is the Best Choice for You?

Both machines are great options for getting regular cardiovascular exercise. Whether you decide to choose an elliptical trainer or cardio climber should depend on your long-term goals. Think about not just where you are now, but where you want to be several years from now, and pick a machine that has the function, capability, and resistance to support you throughout that fitness journey!

If you’re looking to further narrow down your choice, I highly recommend checking out the 2021 Guide to Purchasing Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machines which reviews the differences and unique features of 10 of our best-selling elliptical trainers and cardio climbers to help you make the best choice possible for you!



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1 comment


Great article!

Very informative write up. I personally like using the elliptical machine. I like that a 30-minute in the elliptical can give me the equivalent of a full-body workout.

If anyone is interested, I wrote a similar article in which you can read here:

Stay safe and healthy!