How to Determine Stride Length for an Elliptical Machine

April 3, 2013 7:30 am
How to Determine Stride Length for an Elliptical Machine

Elliptical trainers, ever since they made their appearance in gyms during the 90’s, have become very popular among the health conscious people. This is because of the ability of these machines to not only provide effective cardio workout but also fact that the workout is very low impact and does not cause any strain on the joints of the user. One can see members of a gym making a beeline to get a chance to step on to the elliptical trainer. Elliptical culture has made many words and technologies associated with these cross trainers household, and one such term in the elliptical glossary is stride length. Every individual has a different stride length depending upon his natural body movement during walking and also upon his height.

As the feet movement plays the most important part during a workout on an elliptical trainer, it pays to choose the trainer according to your stride length. There are elliptical trainers with different stride lengths. Some have a 16 inch stride length, while there are also trainers with 20 inch stride length. It is better to go for elliptical trainers with a variable stride length such as Schwinn 460 Elliptical Machine. This allows the users to adjust the stride length depending upon their natural stride during walking and making them feel most comfortable while doing a workout on this fitness machine.

Knowing your stride length with a measuring tape

There are many different ways to measuring your stride length if you are not aware of it. Place the measuring tape at the heel of your right foot and then take a step with your left foot as you do while walking. Now take the step with your right foot and complete the first step. Place the tape at the heel of your right foot now. Finally, calculate the distance between the two marks. This is your natural stride length.

Measuring stride length by counting steps

Count the number of steps you take to cover one round of your college track. The track is usually 400 meters but there are tracks with a length of 440 yards also. Divide the length of the track with the number of steps you have taken to arrive at your average stride length. Do not forget to convert the yards or meters into feet first.

Alternatively, you can walk from the goal line to another goal line in a football field which is a measured distance of 300 feet and divide this distance with the number of steps taken to arrive at your stride length.

Ten step method

Walk ten steps on ground and measure the distance covered. Now divide this distance in feet with 10 and arrive at your stride length.

There are also methods that make quick estimates based upon the height of the individuals. For example, multiply your height by 0.413 if you are a female and by 0.415 if you are a male and you get a rough estimate of your stride length.

It is only natural for short people to have a shorter stride length than taller people as tall people can cover a larger distance with their larger feet. While people close to 6 feet of height have a stride length of 20 inch, those around 5’6” have 18 inch stride length. Nautilus E514c Elliptical Machine is one elliptical machine that has a fixed 18 inch stride length. People who are close to 5 feet in height have a short stride length of around 16 inches. Schwinn 420 Elliptical Machine is a popular fitness machine that has a fixed stride length of 18 inches.

If you are in the market looking at different models of elliptical trainers, you obviously do not come prepared with a measuring tape to calculate the stride lengths of the trainers. This is why people generally rely on the quick estimate that is based upon the height of the individual. This method says that you have a stride length between 16 and 18 inches if you have a height of less than 5’3”, a stride length between 18 and 21 inches if you have a height from 5’6” to 6’.

The stride length of the elliptical is often provided in the features or specifications that are given in the manual. If you are not able to ascertain the stride length, the best way of course is to check your comfort level by sitting and pedaling along for some time on the trainer yourself.

  • Every individual has a different stride length depending upon his height and the length of his feet;
  • Not having a elliptical trainer with a matching stride length can make one feel constricted or overstretched;
  • It is prudent to check the stride length of the trainer with your own stride length before purchasing.
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