Arc Trainer vs Elliptical Trainer – Which One Provides a Better Workout with Less Joint Impact? 

Arc Trainer vs Elliptical Trainer

November 12, 2019

There are always times when people think about becoming more physically active and living a healthier lifestyle. You've probably had this sentiment several times this year. With the nearing threat of holiday weight from all the good food, you probably gained the past few months, the urge to get a gym membership is getting real.

The good news is that it’s easy to get on the health-is-wealth lifestyle because you don’t have to join a gym. You just need the right equipment and to do your research on which ones you should use to get the body that you want.

Cardio exercise is the best way to ease yourself into a workout routine, and one great option for this is the Arc Trainer. Although it is usually compared with a traditional elliptical, most gym buffs prefer the Arc Trainer—and for good reason! It is much easier to use and is an effective machine for newbies and experts alike.

What is the Arc Trainer?

The Arc Trainer is a cardio machine made by Cybex International. It’s similar to an elliptical but makes use of more controlled motions thanks to a more balanced design. Cybex released the Arc Trainer to the public last 2003 and it's been steadily gaining popularity ever since.

Cybex 750AT Total Body Arc Trainer

Arc Trainer

What sets the Arc Trainer apart from similar machines is that it gives you a weight-bearing but non-impact workout.

It comes in two models: one that targets the lower body and one that targets the total body. The lower body machine specifically targets your legs and rear, while the total body provides you with a full-body workout by also working your chest and arms. In addition, you can adjust the machine's resistance, incline, and stride rate.

What is the difference between the Arc Trainer and an Elliptical?

At first glance, the Arc Trainer and a traditional elliptical look almost the same. After all, both machines are designed with two pedals and moving handlebars that allow you to simulate a running stride. This is why most people simply presume that the two machines work the same and sometimes even use them interchangeably.

ProForm Endurance 920 E Elliptical

ProForm Endurance 920 E Elliptical

However, there are major differences between the Arc Trainer and an elliptical's usage, effect, and impact. This informative video shows how the two machines differ when it comes to motion and use.

With an elliptical trainer, your legs move in an ellipse or an oval motion. This means you have to push the pedals forward to keep going. It does a decent job at burning calories and serves as a fun way to lose extra pounds. However, its movement can reportedly cause strain on the user's leg muscles and stress on the joints and knees in the long run. Although an elliptical does also have various resistance levels, they cannot be adjusted to fit a specific weight input.

On the other hand, the Arc Trainer makes your legs move in an arc motion. Its pedals push down and back, which means once your foot reaches the bottom, you don't need to push farther for motion. This results in a decrease of potential joint pain while creating less stress on the knees. It can be used in three different motions: gliding like you're skiing, striding like you're using an elliptical, and climbing like you're on a stepper.

The best thing about the Arc Trainer, however, is its load-dependent operation. It features a computerized system that determines the resistance level based on the user's weight, making it 60% more efficient in helping you burn calories and toning your muscles.

Price-wise, a good elliptical machine will set you back about $1,000 - 1,500 while the price of an Arc Trainer starts at about $2,500 - $3,000. Both can be used for gyms and homes, but the Arc Trainer takes up less space than an elliptical.

Is the Arc Trainer an effective tool for weight loss?

Cybex 750AT Total Body Arc Trainer

Weight loss is the result of a consistent calorie deficit, which means that you burn more calories than what you consume. This is entirely dependent on your diet and daily activities. If let's say, you are already conscious of your caloric intake but are still not seeing a difference in your weight, then it means you need to supplement your limited intake with more activity. This is where the Arc Trainer comes in.

The University of Wisconsin conducted a study that found that the Arc Trainer helps its users burn about 10 calories per minute. This means half an hour on the Arc Trainer makes you burn a total of 300 calories. That’s the equivalent of an extra slice of pizza you ate for lunch. It has also been proven to help users burn more calories than a traditional elliptical trainer by 16%.

One pound is about 3,500 calories. This means that, with consistent use and with a limited caloric intake, you can easily lose a pound in a week. The more calories you burn, the faster you can lose weight.

Which muscles does the Arc Trainer focus on?

The Arc Trainer comes in two models with different targets: the lower body and the total body. The lower body model is perfect for leg day because it targets the thighs, legs, and glutes. It provides a substantial cardio experience, but with less stress overall. The total body gives you a workout for your entire body, working your arms and chest for added burn. This is a full-body workout that tones your muscles in less time and effectively burns excess calories all over.

What are you waiting for?

Becoming fitter and stronger is something everyone aims for. It also allows you to become more comfortable with your body and gives you a boost of confidence. Of course, this takes a lot of hard work and dedication. With the Arc Trainer, this daunting task is a little easier. It has proven time and again to be a great way to lose weight effectively and safely. Just a few minutes on the machine a day can definitely make a huge difference in your fitness goals.

About the author 

Kevin Lee

Health and fitness have always been a passion for me; whether its being in the weight room, going for a run before work or even participating in a half iron man triathlon. ShapeJunkie was created to share to knowledge and love of fitness with others.

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