You’ve heard it before but it’s worth reminding you again of all the great benefits of exercising with cardio fitness equipment.

Cardio equipment is an essential element to any new gym, be it a hotel fitness center, a sports training center, personal training studio or a full scale coed membership gym. Treadmills, Ellipticals, Upright Bikes and Recumbent Bikes are all used for pre-workout warming up and post-workout cooling down as well as for vigorous cardiovascular training.

A good cardio equipment will make you or help you sweat out a lot, but there are people who don’t really sweat that much so we can’t say that this is a really accurate indicator of how effective a cardio equipment is. Another way, a much more practical way, to measure whether your cardio machine really is good and effective is if it increases your heart rate, because that would also mean that your body is pumping oxygen to the muscles throughout your body fast. If it can increase your heart rate to a maximum then that machine will really give you a good cardio workout.

Right Cardio Equipment for You

Right Cardio Equipment for You

Stationary cycles

If you’re an avid cyclist, a stationary cycle lets you continue your habit indoors during bad weather or dark, cold nights. This type of machine is especially ideal if you need to work out quietly or don’t have much space for storing large equipment. Look for a cycle with the narrowest pedal spacing possible, so it’ll feel more like riding a real bike.

Rowing machines

Rowing machines work the back, arms, and legs simultaneously, offering as close to a total-body workout as available from a machine. Unless you’re used to rowing, the motion initially may feel unfamiliar, and some people find it hard on the back. When purchasing one, consider pulley models instead of piston models for a more realistic rowing experience.

Stepper

Once ubiquitous, these have faded from gyms a bit, but they can still be found here and there. The original StairMaster is a cross between climbing stairs and scaling a ladder. It’s a great butt workout you will definitely feel your glutes the next day! The other type is a stepmill where you are walking up real stairs that rotate at a fixed speed. I find these exhausting! I use stepmills the same way I use the rower I’ll do them for about 10 minutes as warmup and then switch to another piece of cardio equipment.

Treadmill

Great for walking and running, it’s the most popular piece of equipment in most gyms. Most treadmills have programs you can follow for “fat burning” or “hill climbing/glute” workouts. Choose this if you like to run or walk fast. You can also lift and lower the treadmill to simulate a flat surface or going up hills. I’m a big fan of setting the pace at “almost have to run” and then goosing the incline as high as the machine will go. It’s great for your butt and super heavy cardio equipment.

Rowing machines

Rowing machines

Elliptical trainers

Elliptical trainers have pedals that travel through an elliptical arc and allow you to simulate the motion of running without a lot of impact on your joints. These machines also produce less noise than a treadmill. The only catch is that both the machine’s stride motion and the positioning of its moving handlebars must fit your body, so this isn’t the best choice if several people of different sizes will be sharing the same machine.

Arc Trainer

The Arc Trainer is very similar to the elliptical with one big difference: the pedals are usually set a bit wider than the ellipticals. I find this a bit easier for men to work with than women. If you have a knee issue, the wider stance might not work well for you, but give it a go. If it bothers you,just pick something else, but if it doesn’t bother you, it’s a good cardio tool. I use it every once in a while for variety.