1

votes

Treadmill, elliptical machine, exercise bike, rowing machine, climbing machine, or none?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 17, 2011 at 10:03 PM

I just moved and need to buy some exercise machine, to complement my outdoor activities, especially in the harsh winter days. In the past I have used Treadmills, elliptical machines, exercise bikes, and rowing machines, and another possible alternative is the climbing machine. I would love to know your views on the value of each of these machine types and whether you find some of them more compatible with natural movement. Of course, also if you find that some machines or movements are specially at odds with primal movement. Any reference or link will be greatly appreciated!

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 01, 2011
at 11:22 AM

Then you are saying that if given the opportunity to row on a lake or sit inside and row the same "distance" and level of effort on a machine, you'd rather be inside at best or it wouldn't matter either way to you. I'd be willing to bet that if you took the machine outside, you'd even prefer that to sitting inside.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on October 01, 2011
at 02:44 AM

I agree in that I prefer to be outside, even while lifting weights. However, I respectfully disagree with a lot of your post. If you sit down on a rower to do a 5x500m sprint session, you will be anything but bored.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on September 30, 2011
at 11:54 PM

Current Travis iteration disagrees; just go outside and walk as much as possible.

77732bf6bf2b8a360f523ef87c3b7523

(6157)

on January 18, 2011
at 02:39 PM

Rower >>>>> bike > treadmill > elliptical. I actually like sinn's answer below regarding a power cage and barbell equipment the best.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on January 18, 2011
at 01:02 PM

check out www.concept2.com or look on craigslist for a decently priced one. The older models can show up pretty cheap, but they go mega fast.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on January 18, 2011
at 01:01 PM

The rower is your best friend from a paleo standpoint. It's actually intervals the whole time, since you're going through a push-pull motion constantly. The feedback from the monitor is great for analysis. You can also do pretty much any workout from tabata to marathon on it. It's scary as all hell to force yourself to do a 2k (I'm a former collegiate rower) but that is one amazing machine.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on January 18, 2011
at 03:01 AM

The rower terrifies me. If my workout for the next day is to pull a PR on a 2k row, I might not sleep that night. In short, get the rower.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on January 18, 2011
at 12:10 AM

Another good quickie is 500m sprint, rest the time it took to do the 500m, 250m sprint, rest, 125m sprint, collapse...

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on January 17, 2011
at 10:14 PM

thanks Travis a chin up bar is the only indoor equipment I currently have

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10 Answers

5
34a367e60db77270bd7096dc04270fdc

(4171)

on January 17, 2011
at 10:43 PM

Personally, I think the rower is the best all around machine. It doesn't matter how good of shape I'm in, it always kicks my ass and I can never catch my breath on it.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on January 18, 2011
at 03:01 AM

The rower terrifies me. If my workout for the next day is to pull a PR on a 2k row, I might not sleep that night. In short, get the rower.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on January 18, 2011
at 01:02 PM

check out www.concept2.com or look on craigslist for a decently priced one. The older models can show up pretty cheap, but they go mega fast.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on January 18, 2011
at 01:01 PM

The rower is your best friend from a paleo standpoint. It's actually intervals the whole time, since you're going through a push-pull motion constantly. The feedback from the monitor is great for analysis. You can also do pretty much any workout from tabata to marathon on it. It's scary as all hell to force yourself to do a 2k (I'm a former collegiate rower) but that is one amazing machine.

4
5514047f3281f61b1139fe6483ae6989

on January 17, 2011
at 10:28 PM

If you've got the funds for a machine; I'd highly recommend a squat cage (with a built in pull up bar),olympic bar, some plates, and a copy of Mark Rippetoe's "Starting Strength," instead.

1
Cb2415c2aef964ab499a09dc92ae7e01

(783)

on January 18, 2011
at 12:07 AM

Another vote for a rower. Sprints on the rower are killer. Something like this:

3 mins warm up
30 secs 80% max, 90 secs slowdown
30 secs 85% max, 90 secs slowdown
30 secs 90% max, 90 secs slowdown
30 secs 90-95% max, 90 secs slowdown
30 secs 90-95% max, 90 secs slowdown
2 mins slowing down

Total time 15 minutes. Unlike treadmills and bikes the rower gets legs and upper body.

Another option if you are building a home gym is a kettlebell or 3.

209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on January 18, 2011
at 12:10 AM

Another good quickie is 500m sprint, rest the time it took to do the 500m, 250m sprint, rest, 125m sprint, collapse...

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on January 17, 2011
at 11:53 PM

i agree with others: rower definitely. I don't like machines in general, but ive never met a machine that can humble a man quicker than a rowing machine. I do it as a warmup, get the blood flowing before lifting and within 5-7 minutes i've gotten a good sweat.

I second the rec for a pullup bar. amazon has them for like 30 bucks, no tools needed.

1
209d2fc1f43df88348031c7c38077172

(693)

on January 17, 2011
at 11:21 PM

I think I would vote for the rower. It's almost full body with sneaky core impact. And it will kick your butt without having to do it for an hour.

1
5f0158c23fcb5636e57b4ce097784da0

(1386)

on January 17, 2011
at 10:58 PM

i'm a fan of HIIT on elliptics. but only of you have a big/sturdy gym quality one that can provide up to 500W resistance or more. 30sec on 500W, 90sec idling, repeat.

1
Medium avatar

on January 17, 2011
at 10:09 PM

Doorway chin-up bar...just did 2 sets of 15 for the first time in my life. Nice compound movement.

Ac1e55cf06c2180f4008ff01953d10dd

(3524)

on January 17, 2011
at 10:14 PM

thanks Travis a chin up bar is the only indoor equipment I currently have

Medium avatar

(39821)

on September 30, 2011
at 11:54 PM

Current Travis iteration disagrees; just go outside and walk as much as possible.

0
D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on September 30, 2011
at 11:50 PM

None. When a person uses a machine indoors, the second the timer goes ding or they hit their mileage or whatever unit of measure, they get off and are finished. When you're outside running, riding, rowing, etc. you have a unit of measure goal, but are less likely to quit at that exact moment - because it's not so damn boring.

For indoors I like the powercage and doorway chin-up bar. You may quit at the exact moment of whatever your goal is, but you'll have accomplished something besides imitating a hamster on a wheel and won't have wasted too much time doing it.

When you're bored, and every indoor machine will bore you, you are doing anything but living the primal life. I run in some brutal winter weather and feel good after the run - the worse the weather, the more bad-ass I feel.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on October 01, 2011
at 02:44 AM

I agree in that I prefer to be outside, even while lifting weights. However, I respectfully disagree with a lot of your post. If you sit down on a rower to do a 5x500m sprint session, you will be anything but bored.

D3ff004d4a0c42b67cc2c49a5ee9c0f3

(5801)

on October 01, 2011
at 11:22 AM

Then you are saying that if given the opportunity to row on a lake or sit inside and row the same "distance" and level of effort on a machine, you'd rather be inside at best or it wouldn't matter either way to you. I'd be willing to bet that if you took the machine outside, you'd even prefer that to sitting inside.

0
Medium avatar

(19479)

on September 30, 2011
at 11:21 PM

What about a kettlebell?

You don't need a whole lot of space and there is an almost infinite variety of movements that you can perform with a bell. Combine it with calisthenics (push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, etc.) and you can get a killer cardio workout with minimal fuss.

A barbell is another good option.

You can go all the way from raw strength (just did a piece on The Crossfit Total that uses just a barbell) to low weight high rep olympic movements, jumping over the bar, etc.

0
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on September 30, 2011
at 10:09 PM

If you have the money, go for an erg (rowing machine). On lower resistance settings they're good for endurance or sprint-like workouts, and on higher settings it's essentially a full-body lift. Either way, totally worth it. It lines up well with Mark Sission's principles of primal fitness, too:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-succeed-with-the-primal-blueprint/#fitness

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