Precor Fitness Equipment

Elliptical Story

You step onto a Precor EFX and you immediately feel something different from other machines. As you move your feet, there's a fluidity that you'll only find with Precor equipment. You're there, feeling the gentle elasticity as you push your legs, hearing the quiet hum of a quality machine.

Before the Precor EFX, there was never even an elliptical fitness crosstrainer category in the world of fitness. Not only did Precor originate the break-through technology of mimicking the natural elliptical pattern of your foot, but we combined it with CrossRamp technology which allows you to alter that elliptical path. In other words, you work different parts of your body for a full crosstraining effect.

You'll find that, while the concept of leaping to your next fitness goal may be a tough one, it's actually more attainable on your Precor EFX. By following Precor's engineering strategy that every one of our machines moves the way you do, we have eliminated the jarring impact that you feel on other crosstrainers. The Precor EFX is easy to use, allowing you to experience the natural movement of walking or running. It follows the motion of your body, no matter what your size or weight, so you don't feel off- kilter.

And because the Precor EFX is low impact, helping you move fluidly, you'll have lower Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE). That means your workout is so smooth that you don't feel like you're working as hard as you are. And that means you'll stay on the Precor EFX longer. The longer you stay on, the better your conditioning.

It's challenging enough to consistently follow your fitness routine - Precor actually makes it desirable by offering equipment that you actually want to use. So condition yourself for those walks, runs, and climbs. Move naturally, with fitness and through life.

Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainers

Elliptical Buying Guide

by Gregory J. Florez

This is an aerobic category that has become tremendously popular over the past five years. Elliptical training combines the best of stair climbing, cross country skiing, and running in a low impact, variety rich workout. It is a highly effective cross training activity that is viable for anyone from beginning exercisers to elite athletes.

It is worth noting that Precor is the inventor of the Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer. Now elliptical trainers have become a mainstay in cardiovascular equipment.

Shopping for your elliptical

  1. Consider your goals and the goals of other potential exercisers in your home before you start your search. Most families will have more than one individual that will likely be using the equipment. It's important to consider their goals and needs as well as the primary users. Runners will benefit from the non-impact movement as a complement to their running. Older users will appreciate the fluidity and ease of the motion.
  2. Start your shopping with an authorized specialty fitness retailer. Make a list of local retailers who specialize in fitness equipment - not hockey, basketball and golf. These dealers will likely have a more educated staff, higher quality equipment and the ability to assemble and service your product more effectively. Sometimes these dealers will also have relationships with personal trainers to help you start your program.
  3. Go to the store prepared to test the equipment in the manner in which you will be using it. Almost any unit will feel and seem adequate if you test it for 5 minutes. It's only when you begin to put an elliptical through its paces by adjusting the ramp, using different programs, or exercising in both forward and reverse motions that you will start to notice major differences in quality and comfort. The best elliptical trainers will utilize a wide variety of muscle groups depending on angle and forward or backward motion. Plan on wearing comfortable exercise clothes and walking or jogging shoes.

Must Have's

  1. Adjustable incline. This is a feature that makes this product a true cross-trainer. Adjusting the ramp incline varies the focus on muscle groups and provides a great way to add variety to the routine. Few ellipticals offer this feature, but it's one worth finding since that added variety can reduce boredom, enhance motivation, and keep you from reaching an exercise plateau.
  2. Elliptical motion. The elliptical motion provides the closest simulation to walking and running available without the impact. An important factor to look for here is the feel of the motion. Some machines have a "kick" in their motion where the heel comes up off of the platform. You don't want to feel any "kick" or "bounce" in your motion. Find a machine that provides a true elliptical movement pattern for both forward and backward directions.
  3. How does the movement "feel?" This is a critical question to ask when trying an elliptical. Does the product feel smooth? You can only determine this by trying several types of units. Spend at least 20 minutes exercising on a unit. You should not feel unusual stress on your knees or hips. Also when using the unit, you should be able to exercise in a neutral position without reaching for the handrails or bending over.
  4. Dependent upper body motion. Some machines have upper body levers to add an upper body workout element. If you are not strength training (see balanced fitness), having upper body movement can help accomplish some upper-body strengthening. Keep in mind that if you are testing an upper and lower body elliptical trainer, make sure that both motions are comfortable and intuitive. You should not have to lean to complete the range of motion or otherwise compromise your position. Test different machines to find what is most comfortable for you.
  5. Forward and Reverse motions. The ability to move in a forward or reverse motion adds variety and challenge to the workout. This also greatly reduces the risk of repetitive use injuries common with some treadmill and stair climber users. Most ellipticals have this option. Note that an adjustable ramp, combined with forward and reverse motions further varies the movement, muscle involvement, and intensity of the workout in both directions.
  6. Quiet operation. Look (and listen) for a product that feels smooth and is quiet in operation. A truly well designed elliptical trainer should be relatively silent at all intensity levels.
  7. Adjustable resistance. Good units will have a broad range of resistance that is adjusted electronically. Look for a system that makes resistance changes simple and intuitive so that interval training sessions can be easily incorporated into your routine.
  8. Electronic Features. Many ellipticals have a spectrum of features to lure buyers ranging from calories expended to amount of energy used. Consider what is important to you and how you will use it. You can find more details on specific electronic features and their advantages in "programming and motivation." The key is to look for electronic features that are both motivating and challenging. Look for an electronic package that will grow with you as you progress and one that will accommodate the needs of multiple users.

A quality elliptical trainer can serve as the foundation for a home exercise room. It is very flexible, space efficient, and quiet. For the user who already has a treadmill or a bike, it is a great addition to add variety and cross training elements to enhance any sport or recreational activity.

Things to remember when shopping for an elliptical trainer

Shopping for an elliptical trainer:

  • Consider both your goals and other members of the household's goals before you begin your search
  • Start shopping with a specialty fitness retailer
  • Go to the store prepared to test the equipment- wear exercise clothes!

Must haves:

  • Easy to read and easy to use console
  • Adjustable ramp (for lower body ellipticals only)
  • Good elliptical motion
  • Judge if the elliptical motion feels smooth to you
  • Dependent upper body motion (for total body ellipticals only)
  • Forward and reverse motion capabilities and smoothness
  • Quiet operation
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Variety of electronic features important to you

Safety and Maintenance

  1. Safety features. Look for electronic safety features like warm-up and cool-down periods, adjustable resistance, and heart rate feedback and interactivity. Make sure the elliptical has handrails or console grips that are comfortable without being obtrusive. Can you exercise comfortably without hitting them? Are they ergonomically located so that you can use them when you start or stop? Testing in the store for several minutes will help you choose wisely.

    The elliptical movement should also be evaluated when considering safety features. Avoid machines with a "kick" in the motion that causes your heel to come off the foot pedal during exercise and be sure to avoid machines that produce any discomfort or unusual stress on your knees or hips.

  2. Maintenance. Look for a product that is maintenance-free. A well-designed unit takes normal wear and tear into account so you don't have to.
  3. Warranty. An elliptical is an electronic piece of equipment. A quality unit is a long-term investment that, with regular use, will require service at some point. Most quality units will offer a lifetime warranty on the frame. When it comes to other components, look for a warranty that provides for at least 1 year of labor and a minimum of 1-3 years coverage on parts. Ask your salesperson what components are covered. Be sure your warranty includes electronics and other key components.

    Equally as important, does the dealer from whom you are purchasing have their own service staff who are trained and authorized by the manufacturer to service your equipment?

Programming and Motivation

The basics from a fitness point of view are: elapsed time, stride, and incline. Having a measure of calories burned can also be very motivating. Consider what additional information or features will help keep you motivated day after day. Some of the most useful added features include:

  1. HR interactivity. Measuring your heart rate (HR) is the surest indicator of progress and intensity. Everyone has a target heart rate range for which you should work within. Too high and you risk injury. Too low and you won't reach your goals. The best ellipticals will actually adjust your workout variables while measuring your heart rate to make sure that you stay within this range. There are two categories here: HR interactive vs. HR display. The ideal is HR interactive because the machine will make automatic adjustments for you to keep you at your desired HR. You simply punch in the desired HR and the machine will respond accordingly throughout the workout.
  2. Pre-set and custom programs. One of the biggest reasons people quit a program is boredom. Having a product that provides a myriad of programs will help keep a program fresh and full of variety. The ability to customize a program for your specific needs is also a great feature. Look for some research behind the programs.
  3. Custom Courses. The best products will "remember" your favorite workouts or allow you to create your own custom course. Look for the ability to create and store custom courses in order to duplicate them again.
  4. Ease of Use. In the world of personal training we have found over the years that many clients are intimidated or simply frustrated with the amount of features and buttons on electronic equipment. It becomes another obstacle to regular exercise. The best products keep it simple. It should take no more than 2 to 3 steps to launch a program. Look for an elliptical that has a manual or "quick start" mode. These modes require only 1-2 pushes of a button and you go.
  5. Variety. The key to success in any exercise program is consistency over the long haul. If you find a product that can add variety and challenge to your routine, you are more likely to stay motivated and experience success in reaching your goals. Look for features like an adjustable ramp, forward and reverse motions, and adjustable resistance levels. Minor tweaks to one or more of these variables will keep your routine fresh and challenging.

About Author

Gregory Florez oversees the nation's premier personal fitness and educating company. First Fitness is considered the leading experts on the fitness and sports and fitness industry. Gregory and his staff provide information, education, coaching, and tools to consumers, sports and fitness professionals, equipment manufacturers and retailers, and health care payers and providers worldwide.

Gregory is featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post,, Men's Journal, and Ladies Home Journal magazine. Gregory and his staff work with major equipment manufacturers and specialty fitness retailers to train their staffs to become "Fitness Equipment Experts." The FEX certificate program is a joint endeavor with the American Council on Exercise to provide professional support for customers who buy exercise equipment.

Some of Gregory's accomplishments include:

  • Spokesperson for ACE (the American Council on Exercise)
  • Appointment to board of advisors for IDEA (the International Association for Fitness Professionals), the largest educator of fitness professionals in the world
  • Board of Advisors for Newlife Technologies
  • Contract athlete for Nike
  • Lecturer for The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Treadmill Story

When you're on a treadmill, you probably glance frequently at the heart rate monitor, the angle of ascent, rate of speed, calories burned, or any of a number of other features on the console. But when you're on a Precor treadmill, focus for a moment and feel just how different the machine is. Feel each step you take and how precisely the treadmill responds. The Precor series of treadmills makes it easy to do your run -- your workout is so smooth, you may not want to hit "stop." And you won't suffer the typical high-impact aches and pains from an extended workout.

You'll find that any Precor running deck gives you the best shock absorption as you put down your heel, and it increases stability as you push off from your toe - all to reduce joint stress and fatigue. This Ground Effects technology also adjusts to your height or weight, leaving you with a superior, low-impact run.

Integrated Footplant technology is another unique feature of Precor treadmills. Essentially, this accommodates your foot's natural acceleration and slowing during the course of each step. The technology is so sublime that the equipment software monitors your heel strikes and adjusts motor speed up to 100 times per second as you run. That's an attentive machine.

All this sophisticated engineering may not be your primary interest, but you know a smooth workout when you feel it. When exercising is this comfortable, you tend to go longer, working your heart more, thus getting in better shape. It's the Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE) -- the difference between how hard you think you're working and how hard your heart actually works.

So here you are on your Precor treadmill. Your running experience on this machine is as natural as your outdoor run, but without jarring your joints. You adjust the console settings to get the specific workout you're looking for and you keep going, accelerating, moving the way you want through life.

Integrated Footplant Technology

How this science works?

Mimics natural running motion - When running or walking,

the foot accelerates and slows during the course of each

step. If exercising outdoors, the ground's firm surface

supports the natural acceleration at the beginning of each

stride. Precor technology works with this natural acceleration

by precisely adjusting belt speed as the foot hits the deck—

supporting the natural motion and preventing drag that can

pull the foot backwards as the runner moves forward.

Harmonizes running speed and belt speed - Precor treadmill

design calibrates belt speed so that the treadmill surface shares

the stationary benefits of running outside. To do this, equipment

software monitors heel strikes and communicates with equipment

hardware to adjust motor speed about 100 times a second. The

resulting harmony between runner and machine means a smooth,

fluid and rhythmic running experience.

Promotes workout ease and comfort - Relative perceived

exertion (RPE) is the difference between how hard your brain

says you're working and how hard your heart actually works.

If you’re jogging, the perceived level of exertion drops when

impact to your ankle, knee and other affected joints is reduced.

Our patented treadmill technology absorbs the impact of each foot

strike up to 38% more than other treadmills. So you experience

a more comfortable workout that keeps you motivated and moving

toward your fitness goals.

Ground Effects Technology

How this science works naturally with the human body.

Absorbs shock only where needed!

Precor running decks are secured at the back so you get the greatest

shock absorption at the front: Right where you need it -

where the heel hits the tread - for a smooth, natural running

motion. This patented design provides maximum lateral stability

across the running surface without compromising the give

you need at the front for a comfortable workout experience.

Supports a strong push-off - running deck with enhanced

stability makes a strong push off possible. That's important

because without it, your foot sinks as it pushes off, requiring

more energy, increasing fatigue, and diminishing workout results.

Precor patented treadmill deck design provides added firmness

at the back so you get just the right balance of hardness and

absorption for a solid push off with reduced stress to the joints.

Adjusts to the user's individual needs - Precor innovative technology

includes triangular-shaped shock absorbers at the front of the

deck. This unique feature progressively absorbs impact based

on the runner's height and weight. The combination of lateral

stability and variable shock absorption means that- whether

you're training for a marathon or recovering from an injury-

you’re on a machine that adapts to your build and your workout.

Promotes workout ease and comfort

Relative perceived exertion (RPE) is the difference between how hard your brain

says you’re working and how hard your heart actually works.

If you’re jogging, the perceived level of exertion drops when

impact to your ankle, knee and other affected joints is reduced.

Our patented treadmill technology absorbs the impact of

each foot strike up to 38% more than other treadmills.

So you experience a more comfortable workout that keeps

you motivated and moving toward your fitness goals.