Which Exercise Machine Burns the Most Calories?

Which cardio machine should you use when you want to quickly burn off last night’s cheesecake?

Ben Greenfield
5-minute read
Episode #1
Exercies machine

How to Burn the Most Calories on the Elliptical

When it comes to calorie burning, the two most common mistakes made on the elliptical trainer are:

  1. excessive leaning against the rails on the trainer (on those ellipticals that don’t have arm movement);

  2. inadequate resistance (similar to the same problem on the bike).

So to get the most benefit, try to use the rails as little as possible, and challenge yourself with the resistance settings. Shoot for a cadence or stride rate of 120-140.

Keep throwing those cardio curveballs at the body, and you’ll burn more calories and lose that weight.

Quick and dirty tip for the elliptical: Choose a resistance that is actually high enough so that the machine isn’t doing all the work for you. If you don’t feel your muscles contracting during the forward and back stroke of the elliptical, they probably aren’t!

How Many Calories Does the Rowing Machine Burn?

An incredible upper and lower body cardiovascular challenge, the rowing machine can burn over 1000 calories per hour. Just ask Ben Hur. But this quasi-torture device can also be nauseatingly boring when you try to go for long periods of time. To make time go by faster while still maintaining a high intensity, incorporate short periods or distances of very hard pulling combined with easy pulling. For instance, row for 250 meters as hard as possible, then 100 meters easy, and repeat 6-8 times. Be sure to use as many body parts as possible when rowing, including the torso and the legs--not just the arms.

Quick and dirty tip for the rowing machine: It’s actually pretty easy to throw out your low back if you don’t know what your doing, so look at the little diagram that appears on the instruction panel of most of the machines; see how it shows a little stick figure pulling with the whole body, including upper back and legs? Make sure you do that.


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.