Ellipticals Stride Length: Most Important Features Explained

importance of the stride length in ellitpical trainers

Stride Length on elliptical machines: a not so well known feature

Elliptical trainers or cross-trainer have become very popular with fitness enthusiasts. They allow people to perform a full-body cardio routine without putting too much strain on the joints and muscles. Even though the budget-friendly elliptical trainers come with a hefty price tag, it is essential to pick the right one.


One of the factors on which you must base your decision is the stride length. Many buyers often overlook this key specification, who instead focuses on the various accessories like music and built-in workout. While there is no doubt that these can make a workout session more fun, the stride length of the elliptical trainers ensures its effectiveness.

So let us now dive deep into the importance of the stride length in elliptical trainers:

What is stride length?

Stride length is generally defined as the distance between the two pedals of the elliptical trainer at their farthest point from each other. To experience the best workout session using elliptical trainers, the length must match the individual’s natural walking stride. It also depends on the height of the user. As a general rule of the thumb, the length will be longer for a tall person and shorter for short individuals.

Importance of the stride length

Stride length is very important as it makes all the difference between an enjoyable, high-calorie burnout session and a distressed, low-calorie burnout session.

If the elliptical length is too short, you will experience a jerky and jumpy feel while using the equipment. On the other hand, if the length is too long, you will feel uncomfortable and overstretched.

Thus, the length bears an impact on the overall benefits one can take out of using elliptical trainers. Apart from shortening the workout routine’s duration, the lower body muscles suffer as the technique and form are off.

The length is also an essential factor from a safety point of view as the incorrect length significantly increases injury chances. A short stride length puts excess strain on the ankles and feet while a longer length adversely impacts the hips and knees.

It is, therefore, necessary to work out on an elliptical trainer that has the appropriate length.

How is the stride length calculated?

As mentioned, the length depends on the height of the user. It is usually calculated by multiplying the individual’s height by a factor of 0.25. If the result is in decimals, feel free to round it off to the next whole number.

Alternatively, you can calculate the length by following the below method:

• ✔️ Draw a line on the ground with chalk and take 10 natural steps forward.
• ✔️ Once done, mark the point where the front of your right foot touches the ground.
• ✔️ Next, measure the distance from the starting point to the final point using a tape.

The distance between the two points is the stride length you must look for in an elliptical machine. However, if you do go by this method, repeat the process a couple of times to get an accurate measure. Additionally, include an error margin of 1-2 inches in your calculations.

Ideal stride length based on height

Below are the standard recommendations for the ideal stride length based on the user’s height:


For 5 feet 3 inches or shorter, the appropriate length is around 14 to 16 inches. This length will help them take comfortable strides on the elliptical without hurting their lower body while ensuring a great workout routine.

Medium height

For people who are between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 7 inches, the appropriate length is around 16 to 18 inches. The longer length will provide a better workout and make them feel at ease while using the fitness equipment.


For people taller than 5 feet 7 inches, the appropriate length is around 20 to 21 inches. It is not recommended for tall people to work out on elliptical trainers with a shorter length as it may cause severe strain on the lower back and joints.

Benefits of training on an elliptical with an appropriate stride length

Here are 3 of the most important benefits one can derive by choosing an elliptical trainer with a suitable stride length.

1. Burn more calories

When using an elliptical trainer with a length most suited for your height, one can receive maximum benefits from the workout session. Depending on the elliptical speed and the user’s present weight, it can help shed around 150-400 calories within 30 minutes.

2. Low impact exercise

If you use an elliptical trainer with the right length, it will not strain your lower body. Hence it allows users to lose weight by performing low impact exercises. This makes it ideal for people who are recovering from an injury or suffering from age-related ailments.

3. Improves balance

Maintaining the right balance is extremely important to prevent a fall or injury. By using an elliptical with an appropriate length, one can avoid such dangerous circumstances. Moreover, it also helps to improve one’s agility and flexibility.

🚴 🛒Try before buying

As figuring out the ideal stride length may be difficult for some, it is highly recommended trying a few ellipticals with different lengths before bringing it home. Visit a few retailers, especially the ones that deal exclusively with fitness equipment.

Use the elliptical for at least 10 minutes to get a good hang of it. While working out on it, pay close attention to how you feel while moving your legs. The motion must be smooth, and nothing should impede it. If you think anything otherwise, it means that the stride length is not ideal. So keep looking!

📰 Conclusion

The search for the right elliptical trainer is not an easy matter. Therefore, do your homework before finalizing your choice. Among the various factors, you must consider the stride length of the elliptical, this should be typically given paramount importance. After all, the effectiveness of the workout session depends on it. Hence, do not take it lightly. Find one that is most suitable for your height and start pedaling away to a better health and fitter body!

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