Elliptical training vs. twist stepper

Updated February 21, 2017

Cardio or aerobic activity is an essential part of any fitness program. It can increase your endurance and help you lose weight while reducing your risk of chronic diseases, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Both the elliptical and the twist stepper allow you to incorporate cardio workouts into your day without the inconvenience of unpleasant conditions or inclement weather. The machines vary, however, in the type of workout they deliver.

Complete Body Workout

Both the elliptical and the twist stepper offer a complete body workout, allowing you to target the major muscle groups. This feature makes your exercise more effective and provides the maximum calorie burn. With the elliptical, upper-arm bars are part of the main unit. Some twist stepper models may also include handlebars or exercise bands to tone your upper body.


The size of the two different units may play a large role in your training. Even an elliptical that folds up may require about 3 feet of floor space. The twist stepper folds up completely and can easily be stored behind a door or under a bed. The ease with which you can access your exercise equipment may determine how much you exercise. Visibility is another factor. It can be much harder to ignore an elliptical placed in your home gym than a twist stepper tucked out of sight.

Weight-Bearing Activity

One of the major selling points of an elliptical is the reduced impact on leg joints. If you have knee problems, this may make these machines more desirable due to its smooth, easy movement. With the twist stepper, you are stepping up and down. While this involves weight-bearing activity, it is also beneficial in that it can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis.


Both machines come with manual resistance adjusters, allowing you to match the resistance level with your fitness. This is an important feature of training with either machine. As you become stronger, it is important to increase the intensity of your workout so you can still gain the health benefits of exercise. Your body will adapt quickly to your activity. A machine that can adjust to your fitness level will allow you to continually challenge yourself physically.


Another of the important benefits of an elliptical or twist stepper is the ability to adjust your workouts to target different muscle groups. This is an essential feature of your training because it allows you to work all major muscle groups. The stepping action of the twist stepper will tone your calves and thighs. The twisting motion will challenge your abdominals. Adjusting your stride on your elliptical can focus training on your quads in the front of your thighs or your buttocks and hamstrings. The ability to target different areas of your body makes either machine a worthwhile addition to your fitness training.

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About the Author

Chris Dinesen Rogers has been online marketing for more than eight years. She has grown her own art business through SEO and social media and is a consultant specializing in SEO and website development. Her past work experience includes teaching pre-nursing students beginning biology, human anatomy and physiology. Rogers's more than 10 years in conservation makes her equally at home in the outdoors.