Nowadays, setting up a home gym has become a necessity rather than a luxury, and one of the most popular home gym equipment includes an elliptical machine.
Individuals who regularly work out using an elliptical are guaranteed of reaching their fitness goals as this is a convenient machine that’s apt for use in a busy world.
Though having a home gym at home and installing various exercise equipment is a boon in this world, we should also accept its downside—we can’t clear our doubts with a professional nor check whether our moves are right.
In an elliptical, the machine’s flywheel is extremely important, and here, we would be discussing its impact on our exercise routine and flywheel weights that are best for ellipticals.
For an elliptical trainer, a heavier flywheel guarantees a smoother and quieter operation of the machine.
While every machine is fitted with a different flywheel, the general rule of thumb when purchasing home gym equipment is to ensure that the elliptical comes fitted with a 20lbs flywheel.
The higher the weight of the flywheel, the costlier the machine is.
The main criteria for picking a good elliptical are focusing on a good flywheel and a sturdy machine.
Given below are the tips that can help individuals choose the perfect elliptical for home gym use.
Table of Contents
The Impact of the Flywheel on the Elliptical
Before buying an elliptical, we need to understand the working mechanism of the machine. Only then can we choose a model that would be suitable for our requirements and budget.
To be precise, a flywheel is a large and heavy wheel that is available in the front, center, or rear of the elliptical, according to the model.
It is this flywheel that makes the machine stable and also provides momentum while riding. Hence, the heavier the flywheel, the higher is the elliptical’s performance.
But, heavy flywheels can also be expensive, and it is up to the individual to make a concerted choice.
The flywheel’s weight is the primary factor that determines the elliptical’s total cost.
Common Flywheel Weights
Let’s see the common flywheel weights that come fitted with an elliptical machine and what factors must be considered while purchasing an elliptical.
Generally, ellipticals come fitted with a flywheel that weighs between 10 and 40 lbs.
Individuals looking to set up a home gym elliptical must ensure that the model comes with a flywheel weight of at least 20 lbs.
Only then can we be assured of smooth and consistent performance of the machine.
Different Ellipticals Come with Different Flywheels
All machines might look similar initially, but the weight of the flywheel is a strong determining factor for the overall smoothness of the machine.
The heavier the flywheel, the smoother is the machine’s performance. The flywheel also determines the distribution of weight across the machine.
Generally, flywheels are metal discs. For instance, when we have two flywheels, each of which weighs 20 lbs and are of the same diameter, the elliptical machines’ performance differs as in one model, the weight is in the middle whereas, on the other one, the weight is on the outside.
As the weight keeps shifting to the outside of the disc, the moment of inertia is higher. Ellipticals depend mainly on inertia to keep the pedals moving, as even when the individual stops giving force on the pedals, the operation becomes smoother.
Hence, we can see that two elliptical trainers with the same flywheel weight can have different performances depending on the flywheel placement.
Manufacturers sometimes use the term “perimeter-weighted,” which means that the weight is outside the disc.
Another point to note here is that the bigger the flywheel, the weight moves further out from the center, strengthening the inertia.
Above all, the position of the flywheel affects the running/walking movements on the elliptical.
As the name suggests, front-drive ellipticals have a flywheel located in the front of the machine, and the pedals are situated right behind the front wheel.
The front-drive elliptical is a rather inexpensive model, but many exercise equipment manufacturing companies prefer making this model as it is advantageous and beneficial.
When the flywheel is placed in the front of the pedals, we automatically lean forward, thereby exerting more pressure on the glutes and hamstring muscles.
This way, the workout becomes more intense and reflects the same challenge as exercising with the inclination option.
So, those individuals who love to hike can go for a front-drive elliptical to keep the adrenaline levels higher.
As these machines also come with more fluid pedals, they can be adjusted according to our preferences, making the workout more enjoyable and specific to our requirements.
There are more moving parts in a front-drive elliptical. Though the elliptical is cheaper comparatively, it also needs more maintenance and care in comparison to other models.
A rear-drive elliptical has the flywheel located behind or at the rear of the pedals. Hence, this is just opposite to the front-drive elliptical, where the user’s weight is situated at the front of the flywheel.
Gyms usually have rear-drive ellipticals as these are professional ellipticals making them an ideal choice for use in professional settings.
The user’s body placement is not similar to a front-drive elliptical as the individual doesn’t lean forward nor move at an inclination.
The effects of such body placement might have a positive or negative effect based on the fitness goals.
But, such small differences in body placement must not have a debilitating impact on the overall fitness progress.
For those who are used to a front-drive elliptical, exercising on a rear-drive machine might be troublesome initially, but in due course, the body gets used to the working mechanism.
Rear-drive ellipticals also have less fluid comparatively, and hence, it is better to understand the differences and make the choices accordingly.
But, rear-drive ellipticals, on the contrary, are also heavier and offer better stability than front-drive machines.
Hence, the flywheel is also heavier, creating a better overall exercise experience for the individual, making use of the elliptical.
The machine and the pedals guarantee lesser noise and smoother movements as the machine is heavier and more stable.
Once again, as the name suggests, a center-drive elliptical has the flywheel located at the center-right under the individual.
Anyone who has a good budget and doesn’t need any inclination can choose this model.
Please remember that these machines are rarely used, but the primary reason behind this is because they were a recent addition to the market.
As the technology is new, these models are also priced higher comparatively but assure high quality and are professionally made.
If someone is wondering about the durability of the model, it is rather difficult to predict their longevity as they are the latest release in the market. At the same time, getting a good idea about the maintenance required is also difficult.
Before choosing to buy a center-drive elliptical, please get a fair idea about the warranty offered, the features, and other offers. Getting a clear picture of the chosen model is always recommended for better understanding and ease of use.
In case of doubt about any particular feature of the machine, call customer support and get the queries answered to avoid any problems in the future.
The best advantage of these machines is the size, as the entire unit is smaller due to the central placement of the flywheel.
So, a central-drive elliptical can be a good choice for anyone who wants to set up a home gym but suffers from space restrictions.
The machine promises a smooth-riding experience either with no incline or a small inclination option.
The placement of the pedals, which are quite close to each other, mimics the natural jogging position while using the elliptical.
An elliptical is a low-impact machine that doesn’t impose strain on the joints. To further make it easier, the center placement of the flywheel makes it easier on the joints and the whole body while working out.
In short, the center-drive ellipticals are similar to how we run naturally on the road.
Costing of Ellipticals
As all the elliptical types are now clear, it makes sense to look at the average pricing of each of the models.
|Elliptical Machine Type
|The average pricing of a 10lb flywheel
|The average pricing of a 20lb flywheel
|The average pricing of a 30lb flywheel
The table here is only the average pricing found across common elliptical brands. Some models are priced either higher or lower than the ones mentioned here, but this is a good average to consider.
Before making any choices, get to know your exact requirements, as this can help in eliminating other models and pick the right one for your health-related requirements.
Taking Care of the Elliptical Machine
Once the choices are made, and the machine is purchased, it is now time to take care of the elliptical to assure the durability and long-lastingness of the machine.
Making use of the elliptical trainer regularly helps us get in shape, and we also have to maintain the elliptical in its best shape.
The tips below can help in maintaining the home gym equipment in the best way possible:
Unplug the Machine from the Power Supply After Every Use
We have generally seen everywhere that the fitness machines remain plugged into the power source most of the time. Hence, the act of unplugging from the power source right after using the machine might seem an additional task.
But, this action helps in extending the durability of the machine as the electricity is not flowing continuously, unlike when it is powered to the plug source.
Remember, switching off the elliptical doesn’t mean that the electricity supply to the power outlet is banned. The electricity flowing through when the machine is switched on is indeed higher than the electricity passing through the machine that’s switched off, but even the small flow in the electricity can damage the piece of equipment in the long run.
Such currents can weaken the electrical mechanics of the machine and plug in the elliptical kills the electrics responsible for the working of the machine, thereby lowering the longevity of the elliptical.
Though we do have power strips that help avoid such hazardous outputs, when we use a large and expensive machine such as an elliptical, it is always recommended that we unplug the cord for safety purposes.
The act of unplugging is beneficial in prolonging the machine’s life and is an advised safety precaution for all those who have kids at home.
Else, there is no guarantee of 100% safety with heavy-duty machines at home.
Cleaning Away the Sweat After Use
At the gym, we wipe the seats every time after use as an act of courtesy. Isn’t this a fair thing to do—none of us like to use a machine that’s drenched with sweat from another person’s use!
But, at home, it is mostly only one or two people who use the gym, and the practice of wiping the sweat isn’t continued, especially if we belong to the same family.
But, cleaning off the sweat is a good practice even if you are the only one using the machine, as sweat can ruin the electrics of the machine.
Just compare the sweat on a machine to spilling water over the electric buttons—both have similar damages. Make sure to wipe off the sweat using a soft towel every time after using the machine.
Keep the Machine Lubricated
Any machine with moving parts needs lubrication, and so does an elliptical. Keeping the machine lubricated regularly helps extend its longevity and helps in the smoother functioning of its parts.
Before using any oil to keep the machine lubricated, thoroughly understand the effects, different oils can have on the working mechanism of an elliptical.
Some oils can even damage the plastic parts of the machine. Choose a lubricant that’s either given in the user manual or ask the support team for suggestions regarding the same.
While most machines need lubrication only once annually, it is better to read the manual before coming to any conclusions.
Clean the Machine Every Month
Just like we keep our home neat and clean, the elliptical also needs semi-deep cleaning every month.
Use a lint-free towel to clean off the dust from the machine. After this, make use of any cleaning solution that doesn’t have harsh ingredients such as ammonia or bleach to wipe the entire machine again.
But before doing any of this, check the user manual for any specific instructions given. If so, follow the same procedure.
Doing a thorough cleaning of the machine helps remove germs from sweat and all other dirt that accumulates over time. Above all, a clean machine is sure to last longer.
Deep Clean Once a Year
It is mandatory to do deep cleaning of the machine every year. Start with what we do when cleaning the machine once a month.
Once the semi-deep cleaning process is over, the machine might be moved and vacuumed thoroughly, including the area under the machine, to remove any dust that’s collected with regular use.
To do a thorough job, remove the plastic, vacuum the internal mechanics of the elliptical, and prevent any building up of dust on the internal side of the machine (this might lead to damage to the fitness equipment).
Machines that need to be lubricated once a year could be done at the same time you deep clean the elliptical. Before lubricating, go through the user manual and understand what can/cannot be done.
If the machine is just one year old, please go through the warranty and check its expiry date. In general, most machines come with a one-year warranty.
Hence, before the date, it is smart to check that all parts of the machine are working in tip-top condition. Else, make use of the warranty period to get help and fix the issue.