Front or Rear Drive Ellipticals: Which One to Choose

Front or rear drive ellipticals: which one to choose

Elliptical trainer has become very popular in recent years because it is a very complete fitness equipment that is found in most fitness rooms and home gyms. Elliptical is also mostly used by people who want to resume sports.

An elliptical trainer with a front or rear flywheel has many benefits. Also, front or rear drive ellipticals are very easy-to-use and reproduce the movement in a natural way.

If you want to buy an elliptical machine to do home sessions, you have to ask yourself the question of which model to buy: front or rear drive elliptical trainer? This article discusses the different characteristics of each of them in order to help you make the right choice.

Front drive elliptical

Elliptical trainer with a front-drive is a fairly recent model. It is significantly less common than models with a rear flywheel. In addition, the way it operates differs. In the front drive elliptical, the pedals are at the front, which encourages users to lean forward and exert more effort during pedaling. It allows a flatter and fairly long stride.

The pedals turn more slowly and in a less circular fashion than on a rear drive elliptical trainer. Therefore, the activity will be more intensive by doing a workout on a front drive elliptical trainer.

Front drive elliptical has many advantages. It uses most of the muscles of the body, such as the calves, thighs, buttocks, pecs or even the shoulders. Front drive model tones the whole body. It is also perfect for developing cardiovascular capacities.

Front drive elliptical trainer helps you lose weight in your stomach. However, an individual will lose less than training on a rear drive elliptical trainer.

Rear drive elliptical

Elliptical with a flywheel and rear brake system is the original model. It dominated the market for years before the front drive model made its appearance. It is less known, but still growing in the market.

Rear-wheel elliptical trainer therefore has its flywheel and pedals at the rear. Their rotation goes faster than on the front-wheel elliptical. The movements are also more lively when pedaling so that you can exert less effort when using it and effectively lose fat without noticing it.

Of course, like on the front-drive elliptical, an individual uses 80% of their muscles. However, with rear drive elliptical, the forces are less. It will work the muscles gently without getting tired. However, we recommend the rear drive model for people who are used to running or walking.

Rear drive elliptical is ideal for improving cardio-training abilities and for prolonged workouts. It is basically recommended for people who are overweight and wish to resume sport after an injury.

Also, an elliptical trainer with rear drive has fewer parts, making it easier to maintain.

Front or rear drive ellipticals: which one to choose?

The choice between a front or rear drive elliptical trainer should be made according to your needs: do you want to slim down or build muscle? A front drive model will allow you to train intensively and lose fat mass. While a rear drive elliptical trainer will help you build muscle faster.

Rear drive elliptical is also effective for someone who needs to recover from an injury.

Buyer’s guide

Seek the advice of a specialist

Elliptical trainer is very complete. However, you have to know how to do it well. We strongly recommend consulting a doctor before any sports activity, and therefore before investing in an elliptical.

Consider your goals

These two types of elliptical trainers have relatively similar advantages. As mentioned earlier, the front drive model strengthens the body while the rear drive is perfect for losing weight. The choice will be established according to your desired results.

The flywheel

Whatever model you choose, it is essential to take into account the weight of the inertia wheel. Indeed, it is an important component of the machine. The more it weighs, the more regular and comfortable its rotation. Therefore, the training session will be even more efficient.

If you have planned to use it occasionally, opt for a flywheel weight between 6 or 7 kilos. For more frequent use, a flywheel weight between 10 to 18 kilograms is perfect. To practice sports intensively, choose a flywheel that weighs more than 18 kilograms.

How the brakes work

There are three types of braking systems included the elliptical trainer: manual magnetic, electromagnetic and motorized magnetic. Motorized magnetic system is more desirable because it combines the comfort and advantages of the other two.

Handles and size

You should also consider your height when choosing your elliptical. It is better to choose one that is over 130 cm and has movable handles. You can also work it for your arms.

Bike console and pulse sensor

If you wish to improve your cardiovascular capacities, choose an elliptical with a heart rate sensor. Thanks to this, you will be able to follow the evolution of your performances and adapt to your training program if necessary.

The console is an on-board computer that provides training data. It shows a lot of information such as calories burned, distance achieved, speed, and more. Most of the time, it contains pre-recorded programs to be reached according to the aspiration of each one.


Elliptical trainer is a fitness device that reproduces the movement of cross-country skiing. For example, it helps to exercise physically, burn calories and develop cardiovascular endurance.

So, should you choose a front or rear drive elliptical?

If you want to build muscle, then you can choose a front drive elliptical.

And to lose belly fat and take down mass weight, you can choose a rear drive model.

For everyone, and especially for the purpose of getting back into shape, improving cardiovascular capacities or health, a front wheel or rear wheel elliptical will bring complete satisfaction.

Liam Dean is a Professional Blogger and Outdoor Enthusiast. He completed Masters in Sports Sciences and spend all of his free time doing sports and other outdoor activities. During vacations, he goes hunting, fishing and mountaineering.

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