Maquel Jensen1, Huang Hsu-Han1, John P. Porcari1, Blaine E. Arney1, Scott Doberstein1, Kimberly Radtke1, Carl Foster1. A Comparison of Energy Expenditure when Exercising on 10 Indoor Exercise Machines. 1Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA.


Introduction: There are a growing number of indoor exercise machine options available to consumers. As exercise professionals we are often asked which is the “best” exercise machine. The best exercise machine is often considered to be the one that results in the greatest level of energy expenditure (EE) during exercise. Purpose: To compare EE between 10 exercise machines to determine which one burns the most calories. Methods: Sixteen apparently healthy volunteers (8 males and 8 females) completed exercise bouts on a motorized treadmill (TM), step mill (ST), Airdyne (AD), elliptical (EL), upright bike (UB), Cybex arc trainer (CY), rower (RO), recumbent stepper (RS), recumbent bike (RB), and arm ergometer (AE). On each machine, subjects completed 5-minute exercise bouts at workloads that elicited RPE levels of 11, 13, and 15 on the 6-20 Borg scale. Oxygen consumption (VO2) was measured directly during all testing and converted to EE (kcal/min). Results: Overall, EE values on TM and ST were significantly higher than all ofthe other machines. EE values on AD, EL, UB, CY, and RO were significantly higher than RS, RB, and AE. AE resulted in the lowest EE. Conclusions: If someone’s goal is to maximize EE, exercising on a TM or ST is the best option. However, the other machinescan provide a variety of benefits, depending upon individual goals.