When it comes to losing weight and getting in shape, choosing the right exercise machine can make all the difference. Some machines help you burn more calories and fat than others, allowing you to see results faster. But with so many options available at gyms and for home use, how do you know which exercise equipment provides the best workout for weight loss?
How Exercise Machines Help Burn Calories
Exercise machines help you burn calories and fat in a few key ways:
- They engage multiple large muscle groups – Working major muscle groups like your glutes, quads, hamstrings, chest, back, and core requires more energy output from your body.
- They provide resistance – Pushing, pulling, or working against resistance requires increased muscular effort, which burns more calories.
- They get your heart rate up – Aerobic exercise machines like treadmills, ellipticals, stair climbers, and rowing machines elevate your heart rate into your target zone for fat burning.
- They work you harder and longer – Exercise machines allow you to work at higher intensities, for longer durations than you may be able to do unassisted.
The more muscles worked, the higher the resistance, the more sustained your heart rate elevation is, and the longer you can exercise, the more calories you’ll burn.
Calorie Burn Rankings for Exercise Machines
So given how they promote calorie and fat burning, how do some of the most popular exercise machines compare when it comes to weight loss? Here is a ranking of calorie burn potential per 30 minutes of exercise on some gym machine options:
|Exercise Machine||Calories Burned (30 min, 155 lb user)|
|Stair climber machine||220-320|
As you can see, machines like rowers, treadmills, ellipticals, and VersaClimbers burn the most calories per 30 minutes of use. The rankings will vary slightly based on the intensity you work at, but these tend to consistently be top-ranked for calorie and fat burn.
Top 3 Exercise Machines for Weight Loss
Based on calorie burn potential, overall effectiveness for weight loss, and exercise benefits, here are the top exercise machines for losing weight:
1. Rowing Machine
Rowing machines (also known as rowers or ergs) provide an incredible full-body workout that burns calories and builds lean muscle. Rowing works your legs, core abdominals, back, arms, and shoulders all at once using smooth, fluid motions.
Here’s why rowers are so effective for weight loss:
- Burns up to 400 calories in 30 minutes
- Engages 80-85% of your muscle mass
- Provides both strength and cardio training
- Low-impact so easier on joints than running
- Works all the major muscle groups
- Increases endurance and cardiovascular fitness
Rowing is essentially a combined strength and metcon (metabolic conditioning) workout all in one. It provides the muscle toning and endurance benefits of strength training with the heart-pumping calorie burn of steady-state cardio. This makes it one of the most time-efficient and effective exercise methods.
Treadmills remain a gym staple and reign supreme for cardio machines for running, walking, or intervals. Treadmill workouts build endurance, strengthen bones, tone muscles, and burn maximum calories when you use them at higher intensities.
Benefits of using a treadmill for weight loss include:
- Burns 300-400 calories jogging for 30 minutes
- Allows for steady-state walking, running, or intervals
- Adjustable incline increases calorie burn
- Low-impact and easy on joints for most people
- Convenient and simple to use
- Engages multiple lower and core muscles
The treadmill is great for getting in that heart-pumping cardio at the pace you want. And by adjusting the incline, you can maximize the calories burned walking or running. Treadmills provide a versatile and effective cardio workout.
The VersaClimber is a unique vertical climbing machine that provides an intense full-body workout. It simulates climbing by using your arms and legs in a continuous climbing motion.
Here’s how the VersaClimber wins for calorie torching:
- Burns 400-450 calories in 30 minutes
- Works all major muscle groups at once
- Continuous motion increases calorie burn
- Low-impact and safe on joints
- Increases core strength, endurance, and cardio fitness
- Provides high calorie burn in short workout
This machine essentially combines a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout with a challenging strength and cardio workout all at once. The VersaClimber allows you to get an intense, high-calorie burning workout that also builds muscle. This makes it highly effective for weight loss in a short time frame.
Benefits of Using Exercise Machines for Weight Loss
Using cardio machines, strength machines, rowers, climbers and other fitness equipment provides many benefits for losing weight beyond just calories burned. Benefits include:
- Consistency – Exercise machines allow you to workout consistently regardless of weather and have structured routines.
- Ease – Machines are simple to get started on and most have clear programs and settings.
- Low-impact – The smooth motions are gentler on joints than activities like running.
- Muscle building – Strength machines help build metabolism-boosting muscle.
- Cardio – Cardio machines elevate heart rate for fat burning.
- Convenience – Home and gym machines allow you to workout on your schedule.
- Versatility – Machines like ellipticals work upper and lower body together.
- Motivation – Features like displays, programs, and heart rate tracking can help motivate.
Using a combination of cardio and strength machines makes getting in effective workouts for weight loss easy and sustainable. The structure and consistency helps many people stick to a workout routine better as well.
Tips for Using Exercise Machines for Weight Loss
Here are some top tips for using exercise machines effectively for losing weight:
- Combine cardio and strength training – Mix up cardio machines like treadmills and ellipticals with strength machines.
- Interval training – Intervals burns more calories than steady-state. Do short bursts of high intensity.
- Uphill or high resistance – Walking or rowing on an incline or at a higher resistance increases calorie burn.
- Keep your heart rate in the zone – Wear a heart rate monitor and aim for 60-80% of max heart rate.
- Engage your core – Maintain good posture and engage your core muscles to get more out of the workout.
- Pair with calorie deficit – Create a 3,500 weekly calorie deficit through diet and exercise to lose 1 lb per week.
- Lift heavier weights – The more muscle worked, the higher the calorie burn. Lift challenging weights.
- Try new machines – Mix up your routine to use different muscle groups and prevent plateaus.
The key is using smart programming and techniques like intervals, resistance, and compound exercises together with exercise machines to maximize calorie burn. Combining this with a reduced calorie diet results in steady, sustainable weight loss over time.
At Home Exercise Machine Options
Many effective exercise machines for weight loss can also be purchased for use at home. Home fitness equipment provides convenience while also saving money long-term compared to gym memberships.
Here are some top home exercise machines for weight loss:
- Treadmills – Treadmills are the most popular and effective home cardio machine. Models range from manual to smart machines with trainers and apps. Folding treadmills can save space.
- Exercise bikes – Stationary bikes provide low-impact cardio. Upright and recumbent options allow for intense cycling workouts at home.
- Ellipticals – Elliptical machines mimic running without the impact on joints. They can raise your heart rate for effective cardio sessions.
- Rowing machines – Rowers provide an intense full-body workout that users love. They burn calories while building lean muscle mass.
- Stair climbers – Compact machines that simulate climbing stairs, stair climbers are challenging cardio machines for home use.
- Strength training equipment – Dumbbells, resistance bands, and machines build strength to boost metabolism.
Investing in a couple key pieces of home fitness equipment can make getting in consistent workouts simple and convenient. Machines like treadmills and rowers give you the most bang for your buck, providing effective cardio and strength training.
What burns more calories: treadmill or elliptical?
At moderate intensities, ellipticals and treadmills burn calories at a relatively comparable rate. However, at high intensities, running on a treadmill generally burns about 20-30% more calories per hour than using an elliptical.
How many calories does a stair climber burn?
You can expect to burn around 160-200 calories in 15 minutes on a stair climbing machine at a moderate pace. Extending this to 30 minutes, you could burn 320-400 calories. Climbing at high speed and resistance can burn over 500 calories in 30 minutes.
Should beginners use exercise machines?
Yes, exercise machines are a great option for beginners since they guide you through the motions and offer stability. Low to moderate intensity settings prevent overexertion while allowing you to learn proper form. Treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes and strength machines are all beginner-friendly.
Can you lose weight using only exercise machines?
It is possible to lose weight using exercise machines alone. However, following a calorie-controlled diet that creates a daily deficit will lead to greater, more sustainable weight loss over time. The combination of diet and exercise using machines has been shown to be most effective.
What burns the most belly fat: cardio or weights?
Cardio exercise and strength training can both burn belly fat. However, high-intensity weights may be better for targeting visceral fat around organs. Combining HIIT cardio with heavier weights provides maximum fat burning effects. Compound moves and core exercises also help trim abdominal fat.
The Bottom Line
When trying to lose weight and burn the maximum calories through exercise, using cardio machines like rowers, treadmills, VersaClimbers, and ellipticals is highly effective. These machines torch calories and fat while building muscle. Combining strength training with 30-60 minutes of moderate to high intensity cardio exercise on these machines leads to impressive weight loss results over time. Tracking calories burned while following a reduced calorie diet accelerates fat loss. Investing in home fitness equipment provides convenience for getting in effective workouts. Using exercise machines makes reaching weight loss goals more feasible and sustainable.