Elliptical stride length by height: how to choose optimal stride length?

Every person who has been to the gym or keeps fit at home has experience with elliptical trainers. When choosing a device, you should pay attention to the elliptical stride length by height. This factor makes training more effective.


Step features with elliptical trainers

The concept of elliptical stride length by height refers to the distance that is between the ends or the central part of the pedals. The amplitude of movements during training depends on the step size. If you select the wrong step length for height, this negatively affects the effectiveness of the workout.

In this case, the physical condition of the person deteriorates. In the process of training, you may encounter severe discomfort, abnormal load, and excessive fatigue. This suggests that in the process of using an elliptical machine, training does not be effective.

You are just exhausting your body. If you constantly train with the wrong step, the muscles begin to deplete, so you have to take breaks more often. That is why it is extremely important to set a longer stride length correctly to achieve the best result.

The need to set the elliptical stride length

It is significant to set the correct elliptical stride length so that the athlete is comfortable and can effectively conduct the session. Scientists have been doing research and were able to determine that with the correct setting of stride length, most of the muscles are involved.

Therefore, the athlete can burn more calories and increase energy expenditure. In this case, the load on the body remains normal. Thanks to this, even with little effort, you can get more results from your workout.

Optimal elliptical stride length

As you know, there is no universal step length. It all depends on how tall you are and how long your legs are. All people have different body structures. If you properly configure the simulator, it is effective for almost all users.

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In most gyms, elliptical trainers are set to an ideal elliptical stride length of about 20 inches. This is a fairly versatile option that is appropriate for most users. The figure is based on height from 5.3 feet to 6 feet.

All elliptical trainers that are installed in the gym are designed for weight. If you plan to install it at home, then it is better to dwell on certain models that are appropriate for your parameters.

Rules for setting the elliptical stride length

Quite often, people are trying to figure out how to correctly set the proper stride length on an elliptical machine. You should focus on your height.

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Each person has a certain step length and experiences comfort with different walking amplitudes. In most cases, it is recommended to set the amplitude to about 15.75 inches. However, this option will not be appropriate for those who are tall. After all, when moving, you have to experience a certain stiffness.

This negatively affects the effectiveness of the training. Before you start buying an elliptical machine, it makes sense to consult a specialist. You can also find a special table on the net, where different growth indicators are registered.

For teenagers, it is recommended to set a length of 15.75-16.15 in. The same parameters are appropriate for people with small or medium heights. If a person is tall, then the step length should be about half a meter.

Elliptical trainers, which have a longer stride length, are expensive. However, if you decide to save money and buy a model with the wrong settings, this leads to adverse consequences in the future.

Therefore, it is better to buy a subscription to the gym and exercise on a quality device. After all, a low-quality simulator installed at home does not allow you to exercise effectively and achieve the desired results. You can also practice a little to see if the set stride length is right for you.

Rules for measuring elliptical stride length

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This parameter can be found in the characteristics of the simulator. The exact step length can be written in the instruction manual or on the product card that comes from the manufacturer. If you do not have the opportunity to study the documentation, then the calculations can be carried out without it.

It is necessary to take one platform forward, and the second back. Then measure the distance between the right and left toes using a ruler. You can also measure the distance between the centers of the platforms or the heels. The values are identical.

It is necessary to find the center of the axis, where the movable platforms are fastened. You need to measure the distance, and then multiply the indicator by 2.

Often there are cases when the real value differs from what is written by the manufacturer. Therefore, it is better to check everything yourself. Such work does not be superfluous.

Working muscles with the optimal elliptical stride length

As already mentioned, the correct setting of the ideal elliptical stride length helps to work out certain muscle groups. According to experienced fitness trainers, you can simultaneously work out the gluteal muscles, calves, inner thighs, and quadriceps.


When you are exercising on an elliptical machine, you are trying to maintain optimal balance. Therefore, you can better work out the hips and abdominal part of the press. This makes it possible to conduct a complete cardio workout using only one machine. At the same time, provide a load on all the muscles of the body.

Varieties of elliptical devices

The choice of an elliptical machine and the length of its step depends on the height optimal stride length of the person, as well as the length of the leg. There are several varieties of elliptical devices based on this parameter.

Machines with a stride length of fewer than 16 inches

Elliptical machines, which have a shorter stride length, are in particular demand. The indicators are no more than 16 inches. This is the best solution for people who are 5.3 feet or less. If you’re that tall but have long legs, it’s best to go with 17-18″ stride lengths.

If you are on the border of indicators, you have to visit the gym first. Practice on different devices to find the best option for yourself. You can also buy a home elliptical machine that has adjustable stride length.

Medium stride devices

Often such devices have an ideal stride length of 17-19 inches. This is the best solution for people who are 5.4-5.11 inches tall. If the person is 5.9-5.11 inches tall, it’s best to make sure your stride length is right for you. To do this, you can visit the nearest gym.

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If you have a short torso and long legs, then it is better to have a shorter stride length. The optimal figure is 20 inches.

Long pitch devices

These machines have an ideal stride length of over 20 inches. This is the best option if your height is 6 feet or more. Such designs are versatile and make it possible to adjust the correct stride length.

If you need to find a model of the simulator with a stride length of more than 21 inches, then certain difficulties may arise. You also need to remember that they are more expensive. If your height is 6.2 feet, then it is better to look for options in which the stride length can be adjusted up to 22 inches.

The best models of elliptical trainers with different stride lengths

The different models of elliptical devices differ in stride length.


Proform (820, 485E, and 735E)

You can choose a step length from 15 to 22 inches in such models. This is a one-stop solution for most people who want to exercise.

Healthrider H45E

This model is also adjustable, and you can set a longer stride length from 18 to 20 inches. The devices are affordable. However, they do not be suitable for people who are less than 5.2 feet or taller than 6.3 feet.

Life Fitness 9500HR

This option features a fixed stride length of 18 inches. The device does not have an adjustable stride length. If you are over 6 feet tall, then it is better to look for other models of simulators. It works quietly and allows you to use a quality device at an affordable price.

Schwinn 470

The best elliptical stride length is 20 inches. This is the best solution for most people with short stature. At the same time, the cost of construction is low, and it takes up little space in the house.

The device is supplemented with a monitor that displays performance. You can adjust the magnetic resistance. In total, there are about 16 resistance levels.

Sole E95S

If you are tall, then you should look for fairly tall elliptical devices. The best elliptical stride length can be up to 24 inches. The machine is quite massive, and you can set the correct stride length from 18 to 24 inches. Therefore, this is an almost universal simulator version, which is suitable for most.

You can buy such a simulator if you are tall and another family member is slightly shorter. Runs smoothly and quietly. It is complemented by a touch screen, the diagonal of which is 10 inches. This allows you to control various functions. Weighs about 400 pounds.

The design has a weight limit. The manufacturer provides up to 5 years warranty.

Rules for adjusting stride length


Often people wonder how exactly to adjust the stride length on an elliptical trainer. It only takes a few simple steps to get this job done. All of them apply to most elliptical machines. Several methods of adjusting stride lengths should be noted, which will be discussed below.

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The first method for adjusting stride lengths

This adjustment option is the most popular. The essence of the method is that you have to adjust the power of the device. You can change the power ramp level. When you change it, the adjustable stride lengths will also change.

If your elliptical machine supports power adjustment, you should take advantage of that. The setup happens pretty quickly, as is the case with changing the resistance at the touch of a button. You should increase the level by a long step. If the stride needs to be shortened, the resistance level needs to be reduced.

The second method for adjusting stride length

This method lies in the fact that all configuration is done manually. This option is appropriate if you use old elliptical machines. However, modern models that have appeared recently can also be configured manually.

Often in such devices, there is a special knob that is responsible for the adjustment. You can create short or long slides. An adjustment knob on both sides of the simulator may be required.

The easiest way is to find a special handle, which is located on the rear wheel. If there are certain difficulties with this, you can use the instructions that come from the manufacturer.


When it comes to stride length on elliptical machines, there are a lot of questions to ask.

How do you measure your stride on an elliptical?

To measure the stride length, you should measure the size between the toes on both pedals, which are installed in different positions. That is, one pedal must be taken as far back as possible, and the second – forward.

Is a 20-stride elliptical good?

As already mentioned, stride length depends on human physiology. However, the most versatile option would be a stride length of 20 inches. It is appropriate for most people who are of average height.

What does stride length mean on an elliptical?

The stride length refers to the distance between the pedals at the maximum distance from each other. To many, this indicator is considered not so important. However, it affects the effectiveness of your workout as well as your comfort.

What is the step-on height for an elliptical?

Almost all elliptical devices installed in homes have pedal heights of around 12-14 inches. If you cannot determine the height optimal stride length, you should add 18 inches to your height. This determines the optimal height, as well as the best safe buffer performance.


As you can see, stride length on an elliptical trainer is an extremely important parameter. This allows you to achieve the maximum effect from the workout, and work out all the muscles. You also need to understand that the length of the step is responsible for your comfort during training. Therefore, try to choose the right one based on your height.

Read more about elliptical stride length here

Author of article
Steven Hopkins
Welcome to my website, or even a blog. For the past 15 years, I have regularly visited the gym, spending at least 2 hours a day there. I love protein shakes, quality athletic shoes, and I know a lot about exercise equipment. This is my hobby. Every day I run kilometers on the treadmill, do dozens of push-UPS, and hundreds of pull-UPS on the uneven bars. Sport is my life...  
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