Author Topic: IMHO- Ranking the Effectiveness of popular Cardio machines found in gyms  (Read 4005 times)

Offline Fiend_73

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So you don't do cardio...
Fine, move on to another thread.

I however do, and so do many others.
Even though its not the way to go I'd rather do cardio than cut down on my food intake, the combination of both over time yields amazing results.
However, cardio is a bitch.
20-30 minutes of brain draining monotony. I get it.

Here's the machines that will help you get the most bang for your buck (or 30 minutes);


#1 Stepmill/Stair Climber - a humbling experience for even the most hardcore lifter. Done properly this will leave you gasping for breath and sweating like a whore in church within 5 minutes.
Then comes the lactic acid buildup in your glutes...30 minutes of ass cheek burning, hamstring searing work!
You will wobble, hold onto the bars for stability. The 102 lb. 20 something female beside you will make you look like a chump, accept it.
Conquering this machine conquers all other cardio equipment, there is nothing left to fear after this but more sessions on the Stairclimber.
The often inaccurate calorie burning counter will "burn" more cals than any other machine with an equal time and it will make you feel like you got hit by a Mack truck after.
I hate it with a passion
but I love the results from the work.



#2  Elliptical machines- Instead of focusing on cardio that only involves lower body movements its a nice change of pace to combine them. I like moving my arms in a cross-country skiing fashion and moving my legs at the same time, helps teach my uncoordinated body some coordination between upper and lower movements.
Glute burning s not as prevalent with this machine and I'm finding I can get wicked stretches with my legs if I concentrate on it.
We are not simply doing the movement with any cardio, we are feeling the muscles work and act synergistic-ally while doing cardio. The combination of upper and body movements make this a refreshing pace from just sitting on the bike and making the legs do the work.

#3 Running on a Treadmill
Running after the bus is hard, running HIIT intervals in a field is hard, running on a treadmill is still hard but not as hard as running on a non-propellant surface.
The problem with the Treadmill is the tread, it moves you forward and makes running easier than on ground.
Its still hard, but its like fake running.
You can give me excuses about your knees and joints but its still fake running.
If you can't run, don't run at all.
If you can run, why are you using a Treadmill in summer when there's all sorts of places to run??
Its hard, not as hard as real running, its effective at boosting metabolisms, and gets the cardio/fat burning job done without a doubt.
However, I hate running of all kinds and despite how good it is for me I will never do it.
Your call.

#4  Cardio back Rowing machine
WhyTF is this in here?
Because it combines the power of both the back and the legs in a combined movement AND you can switch your grip to an underhand one to slightly engage the biceps.
2 of the biggest muscles groups are used and you can get on helluva back/bicep pump from this.
If my knees ache I can warm them up doing this before squatting and practice coming out of the squat hole by making my rowing deeper.
If you can deadlift and squat anything close to 225 there's no reason this machine can't be used on the max difficulty settings.
I also find it one of the least boring cardio machines out there.

#5 Stationary bike
Back in the day, this was all there was.
For some of us this is the only piece of cardio equipment we've seen and have used.
There's nothing inherently wrong with this machine, its just that there are better ways to spend your time, more effective ways.
Its good for warming up, cooling down, HIIT intervals, SPIN classes, and putting your laundry on if you have one at home.
I liked it because I could read books while riding it.
But easier doesn't make better and this machine is a little too easy if your taking your cardio more seriously.
I've also found it aggravates my injured lower back.
A good stand by when you're not in the groove or when the better equipment is all taken.

#6 Recumbent bike
This odd looking bike came out before treadmills and right after stationary bikes.
The main reason it is not on the bottom of the list is because generally it does not aggravate lower back issues for many people and it is a more comfortable device for overweight people new to gyms.
We all gotta start somewhere and the Recumbent bike is a decent place to start, especially if you are obese to start.
This machine is for the injured, the old and the overweight people.
You start here and then progress to more difficult machines.
If you're injured, you tend to stay on it because everything else hurts in a bad way.
It allows people who otherwise couldn't do cardio to do cardio.
That's it.



#7 Walking on the Treadmill
Almost the same as running on a treadmill, but walking. The tread is propelling you forward, there are no obstacles to dance around unlike real walking, and let me tell you...falling off a treadmill hurts way more than slipping and hitting the side walk.
"But I can do teh inclinez to make it harder dough!" you say.
So what?
You wanna do real incline work, move to San Francisco or walk up Everest.
This is lazy person cardio.
But again, for some that's all they can do but if you're aware you should chose something else.


#8 Hand pedaling "bikes"-no lower body movement
If I've missed any equipment on this list this "bike" would still be dead last.
This "bike" is for rehab, obese people, and older people.
If your leg is all FUBAR and you NEED to do cardio, do this, otherwise, do anything else but this.
It only uses the upper body (and not much of it either) and is a good start if your body is completely screwed up.
I have never stooped so low as to kick the 76 year old man off this bike so I can try it so my opinion is quite biased and naive.


That's it.
Do you agree with my list?
Do you have any additions you might like to try and get past the censor?  :P
Please like and subscribe to my "younoob" channel.
(forgive me, I've been watching too many top 10 lists on youtube  ;D )




Online FLEX

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I like rowing machines but I don't do cardio at the gym.

Wish I had room for one at home.
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2017.04.29:  610 Squat, 325 Bench, 600 Dead   |  1535 Total
2016.04.22:  600 Squat, 330 Bench, 600 Dead   |  1530 Total
2015.08.09:  600 Squat, 320 Bench, 600 Dead   |  1520 Total

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Looks like a good ranking.

I always thought of that hand bike thing as a "toning" and "shaping" apparatus for ladies that want "toned" ARMS.
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Offline Get-n-fit

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Good list
stair climber=hell climber- it is definitely a breath taker.
I personally enjoy hiit on a spin bike. 
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Online induced_drag

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I have been "paying my dues" twice a week just walking on a steep incline.  12-14%.   I set the pace for 2.5-2.8.  Whatever I need to do to get my HR above 150 and stay there for 30 min.


Offline BigDaddy

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It's a good list, the Step Mill is definitely the most brutal cardio machine in the gym.  Nothing kicks my butt like that thing!

Hitting the heavy bag can go on this list, and I think it would be #2 or #3 if done correctly.  Hitting the bag with good form, while moving around is a full-body workout and will really get your heart pumping. 

Arc Trainers are similar to the ellipse machine, and I would just add them to that entry.  The one difference is that you can reverse direction the ellipse machine to work you hamstrings and glutes more.  I switch directions every few minutes while using the ellipse machine.

The key to any of these machines is that you get out what you put into them, kind of like lifting.  If you get on an ellipse machine, and keep it on the lowest level and move your legs at walking speed, you are going to get a sucky workout.  You have to challenge yourself, or you won't see results.  A heart rate monitor is great way to measure your effort while doing cardio, and to track your progress.
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Offline LisaSkinnoble

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I think you've done a good job ranking them in terms of difficulty.  I definitely prefer a good long brisk walk outside, but in our winters, the gym has to suffice.  I like the bikes, walking on the treadmill, and for a really nice change I like the rowing machine.  I have to stay focused on the rowing machine though - if I let my mind wander I fall off the thing.  lol...

I recently bought a jump rope and have taken up skipping.  Trouble is, I don't have a clear, uncarpeted place in my house to skip.  So I can only skip in the gym or in my driveway for the neighbours to see.  It is fun, and it is taking me some time to get back into the swing of things.  I skip about 10 or 12 skips, then trip, then skip another 10 or 12 before tripping again, and so on.  I'm a klutz, but I'll get there.  Really gets my heart rate up though.  A friend reminded me that I could also do jumping jacks.  Might try those at home.
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Offline Little Tim

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The best of them all is the one that doesn't require any equipment  (although that'd disqualify it from an equipment list), the humbling squat-thrust/burpee. Done right,  there isn't many people that last more than 5 minutes without getting winded.

Online FLEX

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The best of them all is the one that doesn't require any equipment

I thought you were going somewhere else with that at first.  :D
Powerlifting Meet Bests:

2018.04.28:  620 Squat, 345 Bench, 615 Dead   |  1580 Total
2017.04.29:  610 Squat, 325 Bench, 600 Dead   |  1535 Total
2016.04.22:  600 Squat, 330 Bench, 600 Dead   |  1530 Total
2015.08.09:  600 Squat, 320 Bench, 600 Dead   |  1520 Total

Offline Fiend_73

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Looks like a good ranking.

I always thought of that hand bike thing as a "toning" and "shaping" apparatus for ladies that want "toned" ARMS.
I've only seen VERY old people use it.


I personally enjoy hiit on a spin bike. 

Are you insane?????
lol

I have been "paying my dues" twice a week just walking on a steep incline.  12-14%.   I set the pace for 2.5-2.8.  Whatever I need to do to get my HR above 150 and stay there for 30 min.

Its obviously working!
The most work with the least amount of time, you got this.

It's a good list, the Step Mill is definitely the most brutal cardio machine in the gym.  Nothing kicks my butt like that thing!

Hitting the heavy bag can go on this list, and I think it would be #2 or #3 if done correctly.  Hitting the bag with good form, while moving around is a full-body workout and will really get your heart pumping. 

Arc Trainers are similar to the ellipse machine, and I would just add them to that entry.  The one difference is that you can reverse direction the ellipse machine to work you hamstrings and glutes more.  I switch directions every few minutes while using the ellipse machine.

The key to any of these machines is that you get out what you put into them, kind of like lifting.  If you get on an ellipse machine, and keep it on the lowest level and move your legs at walking speed, you are going to get a sucky workout.  You have to challenge yourself, or you won't see results.  A heart rate monitor is great way to measure your effort while doing cardio, and to track your progress.

I've done the heavy bag and agree its can be an awesome workout but I've never seen one outside of the 1 boxing gym I went to, so it was excluded.

Arc Trainers look like a rip off of an elliptical machine so I excluded them, plus I've never used one longer than 5 minutes to determine I liked the elliptical better.

You're right about getting from it what you put into it.

I think you've done a good job ranking them in terms of difficulty.  I definitely prefer a good long brisk walk outside, but in our winters, the gym has to suffice.  I like the bikes, walking on the treadmill, and for a really nice change I like the rowing machine.  I have to stay focused on the rowing machine though - if I let my mind wander I fall off the thing.  lol...

I recently bought a jump rope and have taken up skipping.  Trouble is, I don't have a clear, uncarpeted place in my house to skip.  So I can only skip in the gym or in my driveway for the neighbours to see.  It is fun, and it is taking me some time to get back into the swing of things.  I skip about 10 or 12 skips, then trip, then skip another 10 or 12 before tripping again, and so on.  I'm a klutz, but I'll get there.  Really gets my heart rate up though.  A friend reminded me that I could also do jumping jacks.  Might try those at home.

Skipping is one I forgot and don't often see. There was a wave of skippers about 4 years ago, now I don't see any.
Good on ya for trying it though...I'm a klutz too!


The best of them all is the one that doesn't require any equipment  (although that'd disqualify it from an equipment list), the humbling squat-thrust/burpee. Done right,  there isn't many people that last more than 5 minutes without getting winded.

My sentiments exactly, but I'm never doing another burpee again in my life.
We should strive for outdoors cardio
and
a lotta in teh bedroomz cardio too.

The best of them all is the one that doesn't require any equipment

I thought you were going somewhere else with that at first.  :D

lol

I like rowing machines but I don't do cardio at the gym.

Wish I had room for one at home.

That's a big piece for home, very long. (I am not going any where else with that either, just keeping it to the rowing machine. ;D )







Thank-you all!

Offline itsagoodday

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Thanks for posting this!  I've realized I really do need to get back into cardio for a while, so it's got me thinking about what I need to do.  I'm glad the heavy bag was mentioned as well, surprisingly my gym does have one and I have gloves.  That actually is the most enjoyable gym cardio for me.  And our heavy bag isn't broken, which is more than I can say for a lot of our cardio equipment.

I think my greatest problems with cardio machines is that they bore. me. to. death.  One of the few things I can do regularly is get on a high incline treadmill, set it to some random mountain climbing program, and then it forces me to pay attention enough so that when it suddenly goes up to max incline and speeds up, I don't fall off the back of it lol.

Offline Squatzilla

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For me spin bike >> treadmill.

1) Changing the resistance is more seamless with a spin bike. I can just turn a dial, but with the treadmill, I have to wait for it to slow down or speed up, which makes it easy to lose focus when trying to do HIIT

2) I can't trip on the spin bike. For some reason, the treadmill I tried at my gym shakes excessively when it's changing incline or speed. I also don't think the belt is tight enough because it has these bumps that kind of come out of nowhere just to trip you.
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Offline Get-n-fit

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2) I can't trip on the spin bike.

lol, I did that last week, I finished my workout early so I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes, while playing with my phone, and walked to far to the edge and proceeded to look like an idiot.  It was my own fault for not paying attention, but another reason to stay away from those stupid things.
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