These Cardio Machines Can Elevate Your Workout Routine

Everyone wants to be fitter these days, but aside from basic procrastination, any number of issues can get in the way. The coronavirus pandemic has forced more people to rethink the way they approach fitness. While visiting the gym was once the standard, now online fitness training sessions are getting more attention. No one knows if this trend will remain when things return to normal, but working out from home is not only a way to tweak your routine, it can also be more convenient. A good cardio machine can give you the gym level experience at home, and keep your workouts from getting boring.

 

Most gyms have a variety of cardio machines, but the average person can get by with one or two. Let’s take a look at some the best cardio machines that will help you to make the most of every session.

Best Cardio Machines, According To Certified Trainers

  1. Rowing Machine:

Best Overall

Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

Best Budget

Stamina Body Trac Glider 1050 

This machine is designed to replicate the act of rowing a boat. The user sits on a seat mounted on a rail, and grips the handles. By pulling the handles and pushing with the legs at the same time, the seat slides backwards, pulling a cable from a chamber at the front. The cable is automatically pulled back into the chamber as you slide forward. The main advantage is pretty much a full-body workout. It elevates the heart rate, and you can go as slow or fast as you need to so you can control the pace. A rowing machine is also easy on the joints and is a great calorie burner. Anyone who is on a tight budget will be happy to know that you can get a quality rowing machine for less than $500.

 

  1. Inversion Table:

Best Overall

IRONMAN Inversion Table

Best Budget

Innova Heavy Duty Inversion Table

This is a table that allows the users to hang upside down or at an inverted angle, while being held by ankle supports. Many people use inversion therapy as a form of stress relief but it has other benefits. The main one is cardiovascular improvement as the angle helps to move blood from the lower half of the body, thereby improving circulation. Many people who struggle with back pain have reported marked improvement after using an inversion table for a short time. This therapy can also improve overall mobility allowing you to try other cardio boosting exercises. It is worth noting that while this machine offers cardio benefits, this is not on the same level as most other types of equipment.

 

  1. Treadmill:

Best Overall

NordicTrack T Series Treadmills

Best Budget

Nautilus Treadmill Series

A standard fixture in gyms all around the country, the treadmill is ideal for runners who are unable to or who prefer not to leave home. This machine is so popular that almost every fitness equipment brand produces at least one model. There are plenty of budget-friendly options available, as well as high-end types with numerous features. If you do not have a lot of space, look for a foldable treadmill. Choose one with multiple program options and a heart rate monitor. Your treadmill should be stable and provide plenty of cushioning. Experts recommend picking one with a belt that is at least 48-inches long. These machines offer varying speeds, so whether you prefer a brisk walk or a run, you will reap the cardiovascular benefits.

 

  1. Elliptical:

Best Overall

Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical

Best Budget

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Bike

With this machine, you can get a rigorous workout with low impact on the joints. Since it incorporates many muscles, this is close to a full-body workout, plus it elevates the heart rate and strengthens the respiratory system. These machines are available in a variety of sizes, styles and prices. Feature to pay attention to include stride length, quiet operation and adjustable resistance. Typically, a stride length of 21 inches is the best option as it works for people of different heights. A fitness tracker app will allow you to gauge your progress, and some elliptical trainers allow you to customize your workouts. It all depends on how much you are willing to spend.

 

  1. Stationary Bike:

Best Overall

YOSUDA Cycling Bike Stationary

Best Budget

XTERRA FB150 Stationary Bike

These machines have seen significant improvements since they were first introduced. Biking is a proven activity for building muscle strength and increasing cardiovascular health. With a stationary bike you can enjoy a ride regardless of the season or weather. Some bikes have back support, which is a good solution for people who have back problems. The seat should be sturdy, but the size and shape are a matter of personal preference. It is important that you choose a bike that allows you to adjust the handlebar and the seat height. This way you can ensure that it is comfortable, and that other people in your household can use it. Look for extras such as preset programs. Check if your stationary bike can allow you to track distance, speed and workout time.

 

  1. Stair Climber:

Best Overall

L NOW Adjustable Mini Stair Stepper

Best Budget

Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper

There is a good reason why so many people often skip the elevator in favor of walking up the stairs. This puts the leg muscles to work and get your heart and lungs to put in more effort as well. The machine is a relatively simple one, with a base, two footplates and two handrails. The user holds the rails and pumps the plates down to simulate the act of walking upstairs. Most have a console that displays the number of stairs climbed, calories burned, distance, and the number of flights. While there are budget-friendly options, it is best to avoid going for the cheapest brand as this machine must be able to stand up to heavy use. Low-end models are in the $200 range but they may not be able to stand up to the wear and tear of daily workouts.

 

  1. Ski Machine:

This requires an action similar to the rowing machine, except that the user is standing, and the motion is meant to simulate pushing yourself on skis. It is relatively new when compared to many other types of cardio machines. It has a column with two short handles attached to ropes leading to a flywheel. The user grips the handles and pulls down and back, before relaxing and repeating the motion. The harder you pull, the more the resistance in the flywheel increases. This is a fantastic workout for the whole upper body. You will not use your legs much, but the calves, hamstring and quads will see some action. In addition to being good for cardiovascular strengthening, it also helps in developing a stronger core.

 

  1. SkillMill:

This is a non-motorized treadmill, so it is up to the users to create the momentum needed for a cardio workout. It has an ergonomic design meant to respond to the user’s rhythm. The gear system allows you to set the resistance while you work out. The handles are both curved and straight, giving you the flexibility to adopt different positions or postures for different exercises. This will help you to get more from each workout and keep it from getting boring. Since it is not motorized you can change the pace as needed for intensity and cooling down. The SkillMill provides a more dynamic workout experience since the user can quickly change the workout by making adjustments. Since this machine relies so heavily on the user’s strength and momentum, it may be more taxing than using other cardio machines. Users will develop at different rates depending on their skill level and the amount of time they devote to their workouts.

 

  1. Air Bike:

Best Overall

Schwinn Airdyne Bike Series

Best Budget

Marcy Exercise Upright Fan Bike

Similar to traditional stationary bike, it has handles that move while you pedal, allowing you to get an upper body workout as well. It is called an air bike because it uses wind resistance provided by a large fan. The more you pedal and move your arms, the faster the fan spins. This makes the rider work harder, increasing the breathing and heart rate for a superior cardio session. The workout will be easy on the joints regardless of the intensity. The ability to work both the arms and legs makes it the perfect cardio machine. In fact, it is increasingly being used to bolster combination routines like CrossFit. Air bikes are generally stable, and operate quietly.

 

  1. StepMill:

This is much like a stair climber, but instead of footplates, it has a set of rotating stairs. It more closely simulates the act of climbing stairs since you will have to lift your foot to move it up to the next step. With a stair climber, the feet always remain in contact with the plates. Since this is more like actual stair climbing, your bodyweight becomes the resistance. This provides greater calorie burning as you lift your body up with each step instead of just pumping the legs. In addition to the cardio benefits, you can also get strength gains and muscular development from this activity.

 

  1. Recumbent Bike:

Best Overall

Schwinn Recumbent Bike Series

Best Budget

EXERPEUTIC Recumbent Exercise Bike

This is another type of stationary bike, but there is a major difference in the way it is used. It has a large backrest that allows the rider to sit in a reclining position. While it is a more relaxed way to ride, this is still gives an effective cardio workout. These bikes are ideal for people who struggle with lower back pain but still want to get regular exercise. They tend to have larger seats, so they are more comfortable to use, and your weight will be more evenly distributed. As you would expect, they do not put stress on the joints even when you ramp up the intensity of your workouts. Some trainers recommend them for people who are just starting their exercise program.

 

  1. Spin Bike:

Best Overall

Sunny Health & Fitness Pro Indoor Cycling Bike

Best Budget

Keiser M3i Indoor Cycle

These bikes are similar to traditional stationary bikes but you will notice some differences. They have reinforced pedals to support your body weight when standing, which is often done during spinning classes. They also tend to have less seat padding since the user is meant to spend a lot of time standing on the pedals for a more intense workout. The textured handlebars help to keep sweaty hands from slipping and provide a comfortable grip. A spin bike is a good calorie burner, and standing while riding will make the muscles work harder. Spin bikes are more compact than treadmills and elliptical, so they are a good choice for people who do not have a lot of space at home.

 

  1. Peloton Bike:

This bike is named for the company that produces it. The main thing this bike is known for is that the user can stream classes from the company’s studio. You can take part in classes with hundreds of other people when you are alone at home. This requires a monthly subscription so this option might not be for everyone. Since the workouts tend to be rigorous, ensure that the bike is placed on a stable surface. Before using it the first time, you will have to set the seat and handlebars to suit your height. It is important to note that an on-demand training session cannot be paused if you feel like you need a break.

Anyone who wants to lose weight should start doing regular cardio exercises. In addition to weight loss, these exercises improve heart health, tone muscles and strengthen the joints. If you plan to start your own fitness program at home, you will need more than a set of weights. One or two cardio machines can make your workouts more challenging, and help to deliver quicker results.

When you visit some gyms, you might see all or most of the machines listed above. If you have tried a few of them, you might have some difficulty choosing the right one. Start by looking at how much you can spend. Consider the amount of space you have, and whether you will need to move the machine after each workout. There is no shortage of exercise videos online covering every type of equipment imaginable. These will not only teach you how to use your cardio machine effectively, they will help to prevent boredom. Above all else, remember that it does not matter what type of machine you choose if you do not use it regularly.

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