Treadmills Burn More Calories Than Aerobic Riders According To New Study By American Council On Exercise

Posted: Jan 24, 1996 in

SAN DIEGO - Results of a new study by the nonprofit American Council on Exercise (ACE) say while novice exercisers will get the most out of the aerobic riders, consumers who are already fit might be better off working out on a treadmill versus the HealthRider, Cardioglide or E-Force (aerobic riders), currently some of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment on the market.

The study, sponsored by ACE and conducted by the Department of Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology Lab at California State University Northridge, will be published in the March/April issue of ACE’s new publication, ACE FitnessMatters™.

A group of college-age women were monitored for heart rate and oxygen consumption while using each of the three machines. An earlier test on a treadmill, however, brought about significantly higher maximum aerobic capacity values than found on the aerobic riders.

"When participants performed the exercises recommended by the aerobic rider manufacturers, their oxygen consumption or calories burned were at or below 50 percent of the maximum level found on the treadmill," said ACE FitnessMatters Editor, Richard T. Cotton. The study found that the average amount of oxygen consumed by participants while performing the most strenuous work on the Cardioglide was 74 percent of the amount consumed on the treadmill. Similarly, the E-Force and the HealthRider consumed 69 percent and 67 percent respectively. This means approximately 25 percent fewer calories would be burned using an aerobic rider than during a similar workout on a treadmill. The results of the study also indicate no difference between the participants’ ability to reach peak aerobic capacity on any of the three aerobic riders.

Muscle activity was measured on one taller and one shorter participant and showed high biceps and abdominal muscle activity on the E-Force, while abdominal activity was considerably lower on the HealthRider. The only muscle group consistently exercised regardless of participant size or machine was the hamstring.

Of concern, said Cotton, was the level of back pain reported by five out of seven participants after exercising on the Cardioglide and the HealthRider.

Published bi-monthly by the American Council on Exercise, ACE FitnessMatters contains news and information on fitness, exercise, nutrition, medical research reports, and more.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s "workout watchdog," ACE conducts university-based research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at

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