Stride / Comfort


Stride length is one of the most important features that most people overlooked when purchasing an elliptical machine. This should be the very first criteria you should consider. It is just as crucial as programs, resistance levels, attractiveness and the warranty. Stride length of an elliptical machine is determined by the user’s height so that he/she will feel comfortable and natural when exercising on the machine.

How to determine the right stride length for elliptical

So what exactly is stride length? Stride length is the longest total width of the elliptical motion that can be achieved. In general, a person who is under 5’3″ will require a shorter stride length such as 16″ to 18″. Users who are around 5’4″ to 6’7″ tall, should probably go for 18″ to 21″ stride length. Most fitness gyms and households use 20” as it is typically the most common and ideal length since an elliptical machine need to accommodate multiple users of different heights. As discussed, stride length is very important and it will have a great impact on your comfort level during exercises.

Although an elliptical machine is designed to work the muscles group of your upper and lower body, but it mainly focuses on the legs. Therefore, the longer stride you can achieve, the better it is for you.

For the purpose of this review, we have selected the following elliptical machines for comparison;

(Click on the tab below to view results)

Stride Length Comparison
AFG 3.1AE: 20″
AFG 4.1AE: 20″ – 22″
Sole E95: 20″
Sole E35: 20″
Life Fitness X1: 20″
Livestrong LS10.0E: 20″
NordicTrack 990: 18″
Pacemaster Silver XT: 21″
Proform 10.0ZE: 13″ /15″ /18″
Schwinn 430: 18″
Schwinn 420: 18″
Smooth 3.2: 18″
Smooth 3.6: 18″

The second feature we should consider under the stride/comfort criteria are the Q-factor and pedals of the elliptical machine. Q-factor is the distance between the foot pedals. This is extremely important because Q-factor determines how natural and efficient your movement is. This lessens the stress on your lower back and hips. Typically, a Q-factor of 0″ will be best as it offers a natural elliptical feel.

As for pedal, it should be designed so that it fits all sizes. Some poorly designed elliptical machine have such narrow and small pedals that users can barely stand on. This can totally destroyed the workout experience and lessen the comfort level. An ideal pedal should be big enough so that it can accommodate multiple users with different feet sizes and should also be able to adjust the Q-factor according to their needs, by spreading their legs apart if they want to increase Q-factor etc. Lastly, an ideal pedal should also be constructed with enough padding to withstand hours of workout exercises.

Lets take a look at the new AFG 4.1AE elliptical machine. This model is extremely well designed overall with the idea of efficiency and comfortability features in mind. This also concludes the stride/comfort criteria and we strongly believe that the AFG 4.1AE is the winner of this category.

(Click on the tab below to view results)

AFG 4.1AE: Q-Factor and Pedals Design
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