If you are taller than 6'2 then finding an elliptical that lets you extend your full stride is not easy. Most elliptical machines fall short of the tall claims (no pun intended) that they make in the sales pitch.
When you actually hop on to the cycle and start exercising, you'll discover that you are either too cramped or are forced to compensate for the limited room by bending your knees, which then touch your chin. Not kidding!
For one it's too uncomfortable. Secondly, it's a recipe for an injury. As an athlete who's 6'5, this has been a consistent thorn in the flesh for me.
For a while, I even contemplated giving up on the elliptical altogether and opting for a treadmill with a reasonably-good incline instead, despite my persistent knee injury.
That's when my coach suggested a few elliptical machines with a 22-inch stride. After checking a few of these out, I changed my mind about elliptical machines altogether.
Today, I am going to share my experiences with you as well as recommend the best 22-inch elliptical for tall athletes like myself.
The Best 22 Inch Stride Elliptical in Market
Much to my surprise, I found out that there's no dearth of 22-inch elliptical in the market for tall athletes. I found five of them, hopped on each one and gave it a whirl. Mentioned below are the ones that I liked the most, starting with my personal favorite and the one I own.
#1 - Sole Fitness E35 - Editor's Choice
The Sole Fitness E35 is a top-of-the line elliptical that comes standard with all the bells and whistles, you expect from a much higher priced unit. But let's get to the crux of the matter first, the stride.
The stride is adjustable from 20-22 inches which more than suffices for me. I can make a complete stride without cramping up my hamstrings or bending my knees, this makes it a great cardio machine for weight loss, getting fit, etc.. with minimal risk of injury.
The pedals are large and comfortable even for my size 14 feet. They have a non-slip, textured finish so your feet won't slip off constantly even when you are running the machine at top speed. Talking about speed, 25 pound flywheel moves butter smooth. There's no jarring, or sudden jerks which can interrupt the flow.
Also, the machine is one of the quietest ellipticals that I have used in a long time.
I also like the fact that the controls on the console are positioned perfectly for quick adjustments. There are six standard programs to choose from as well as two custom programs that can be tailored depending on your fitness goals, and two HIIT programs.
In case you crave some added resistance, the Sole E35 comes with a power adjustable incline with 20-incremental levels!
- 20-22" adjustable stride
- Large pedals
- 25-pound flywheel with butter smooth operation
- Power Incline with 20 Integrated settings
- 10 Workout programs
#2 - Precor EFX 835
Commercial grade built, but compact enough for home gyms
The Precor's EFX 835 is a compact elliptical with a deceptive appearance. At first glance, it almost looks like a budget machine. But this is in fact a commercial grade elliptical that's built like a tank, it would be a great addition to any home gym setup.
That's not all. Its USP is an adjustable ramp that lets you target specific muscle groups or all major lower body muscles by adjusting the ramp angle from 10-35 degrees.
It has a low-impact EFX motion that's smooth and natural, allowing you to do longish workouts without ending up sore. Also, it features a converging stride path that allows you to get your full stride in without a change in the path of motion. This is critical for comfort as well as strain-free workouts.
The EFX 835 is designed for comfort, regardless of your height. There are raised foot pedals which take the stress off your back, hips, and knees.
There are 20 resistance levels (from easy to challenging) to choose from, which work for users of all ages and varied fitness goals.
Almost forgot to mention that it also features reversible pedal rotation throughout the 20 levels of resistance. There's a motion-control enabled LED console that helps you navigate through different exercises easily, as well as keep an eye on the stats.
- Patented CrossRamp technology lets you adjust the ramp from 10-35 degrees
- 20 levels of resistance
- Moving handlebars and wide pedals for comfort
- Compact formfactor for home use
- Motion-Control enabled LED Console
#3 - Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 - Best Budget Option
If you are shopping on a tight budget and have limited room, then the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 is the elliptical of choice for you. This is a compact, foldable unit that requires no more than 15 square feet of space when folded up for storage.
Also, it features a capacious 45" stride. Here I was struggling to find a good machine with a 22" one. Lol!
I am 6'5 as I mentioned once. I was able to comfortably move on the SF-E902 elliptical. It does take some extra clearance above the head, though because of the way the pedals are positioned.
That's not necessarily a deal breaker unless you plan to park this in a low ceiling basement.
The SF-E902 simulates slow walks and works up to full runs without interruption. I like the non-slip pedals that offer some extra real estate. One less thing to worry about.
The maximum weight capacity of 220 Ibs. suffices for me. But if you have users who weigh more, then this may not be an ideal choice, there are other options out there with higher weight limits you can check out.
It also has an LCD monitor that displays calories burned, steps taken, time elapsed, distance covered, heart rate information and some other important details.
- Compact Elliptical that folds into 15L x 19W x 61. 5H dimensions
- Generous 45" stride for tall users
- 220 lbs. max weight capacity
- Air Walk pedals that simulate slow walks to fast runs
- Smooth motion
- Perfect for home use
#4 - Nautilus E618
The Nautilus E618 is one of the bestsellers from the brand. It is a mid-range model features some of the best in-class functionalities, at a price that wont break the bank.
But what sets it apart is the 22" stride with multiple integrated, adjustments. For instance, the built in suspension allows the feet plate to conform to different angles according to an individual athlete's physiology. That’s a terrific feature in my opinion.
The optimized drive train keeps things quiet and smooth, regardless of what speed the elliptical is functioning at. There's no dearth of workouts and interactivity either.
You can sync it free with 'Explore the world app', which lets you choose from 19 locations with 27 routes. It also features 29 preset programs for heart rate training or weight loss as well as customized workouts. 29 is a lot folks! You’ll never get bored with this.
The E618 comes in two sizes i.e. 18" or 22". The larger one is dedicated for taller users who need that extra clearance when moving on the machine.
- 22" Dual Rail Stride for even weight distribution
- Integrated suspension system on the footplate for angle adjustment
- Can sync with Explore the world app', which lets you choose from 19 locations with 27 routes
- Comes with 29 built in workout programs
- 10-degree motorized incline
#5 - Bowflex BXE216
The Bowflex BXE216 is a 2-in-1 elliptical and exercise bike.
It features an open design with 29" of clearance at the highest point for more pacing and standing options during workouts. A perimeter weighted flywheel gives it high inertia for an easy start up, and consistent smooth performance while alternating between leg and arm work.
The stride is 22" and it's an ergonomically designed machine. So you should have no problems with your range of motion.
With 25 resistance levels &, over 12% incline, there's no dearth of intensity for your exercise. There are 11-preset workout programs to choose from, in case you are looking for a hands-off approach to training.
The elliptical is Bluetooth 4.0 compatible and features a 9" full color, backlit LCD display. Just like the Nautilus E618, you can sync this with 'Explore the World' App and perform you workouts in exotic locales around the world.
- 22" Stride length
- 25 levels of resistance
- 12% Incline
- 11-Preset workouts to choose from
- 9" Full Color Backlit LCD Display
- Sync it with 'Explore the world' app
Things You Should Know About the Stride Length
When shopping for an elliptical, one of the primary factors that should be taken into consideration is the stride length. For the uninitiated, the stride length is basically how much stride you take per step.
In other words, the step length or the distance that your heel travels every time you take a step.
The general consensus is that the average stride length for women is 26.4" and the average for men is about 30". But this is not entirely accurate though.
The fact is that it depends largely on the height of the individual.
Also, the stride is generally longer when you are running outdoors or on a treadmill. On an elliptical machine, you'd take a smaller stride, which means that 20-22" might be the sweet spot.
Here one thing that you should know aboutelliptical stride length:
When it comes to elliptical, longer is always better because it allows taller users to exercise without getting cramped. This is particularly important for users who are taller than 6'2, or are born with longer legs.
Shorter users will still be able to use these normally. Because they have a limited range of motion. But taller people with long strides may find shorter strides on the elliptical uncomfortable.
All things said and done, here's a ballpark chart that you can use as a reference to select an elliptical machine based on your height.
- For Users who are under 5 feet - If you are shorter than this, then a stride length of 14-16" should suffice for you. There are very few companies who manufacture elliptical with this stride length mind you.
- For Users who are 5 feet to around 5'7" - A stride length of about 16-18" works best for you. This is a popular range among users, and almost all elliptical manufacturers offer their products in this size.
- For Users who are 5'7" to around 5”11' - A stride length of 18-20" should be good enough for your needs. If the stride is shorter than that, then you might need to bend your knees more than required so as to reach the pedals. But longer, and you'll feel cramped up after a while.
- For Users who are around 6'0" - A stride length of 20-22" should be adequate for most people in this range. 22" is considered ideal by many fitness experts. You can also go for a stride length that is 1 to 2 inches longer.
- For Users who are 6'1" and taller - A has a stride length of 22-24" works best for people who are this tall. Anything shorter than this will feel cramped up for you. I fit into this category and I have already mentioned the problems I used to face.
What Elliptical Stride Length Is Best for Your Height?
As mentioned in the table above, pick an elliptical that's closest to your height.
For example, if you are 5'5", then that should be around 16-18" range. If you can afford it, go for an elliptical with a stride length of 18" as this will be good enough for most people.
If you feel cramped up even after going for an 18" stride, then go for a 20-22" stride machine. There's no one-size fits all in fitness. You might have to try out a few elliptical before you find one that's a comfortable fit.
P.S - Don't choose a stride length that is shorter than your height as this will make you feel uncomfortable and might even cause knee problems. And if the strides are longer, then it may force you to bend your legs more than required.
How Is Stride Length Calculated?
It is rather simple to calculate your stride length. Just divide the distance you have covered by the total number of steps taken.
This may not be an accurate measurement though. But estimates work fine in fitness.
If you want to calculate your stride length, then here's a great calculator that you can use. It crunches a bunch of numbers and shows you a close estimate of your stride length.
Benefits of Determining Your Stride Length
A lot of fitness buffs undermine the importance of their stride length or dismiss it as unimportant before they start exercising. But this might be one of the most vital things to fix before you start to run or try an elliptical.
Over striding or overstretching your stride taxes your legs. Your lower body is forced to work extra hard which results in fatigue setting in faster.
Also, when you are stretching your legs more than you should, you are automatically placing unwanted stress on your knees, ankles, calves and hip flexors. You might be able to get away with it temporarily.
But it will in all probability lead to an injury.
Determining your stride allows you to make the right decision, especially when it comes to selecting exercise equipment like the treadmill and the elliptical.
You are no longer shopping pig a poke. You know exactly what stride works for you and what's overkill.
What to look for when buying a 22 Inch Stride Elliptical?
If this is the first time you are shopping for an elliptical with a 22 inch stride, then here are some factors that you should be aware of.
The Clearance on top and in front
Elliptical cycles are deceptively large. They look like they'll fit right into your living room and then you realize that you are short of a few inches from the wall and a few from the ceiling.
Check the length of the cycle with the pedals extended fully during operation. This is the only accurate way to gauge how much clearance you need from the walls. Similarly, check the step up height and the max height that the pedal reaches during operation.
There are some elliptical cycles designed for low clearance rooms whereas some have pedals that extend almost 25" above the ground.
Elliptical cycles have a constrained path of motion. They are not free flowing like treadmills are, allowing your body to take its own natural posture.
Hence, ergonomics is more important than you think.
Is the posture comfortable when you are standing on the cycle? Can you grab the handlebars comfortably? Does it allow a full stride without compromising or limiting the ROM?
Are the footpedals wide enough to support comfortable, continual use?
Resistance and Workout Programs
Incremental resistance levels are important if you seek a workout that gets progressively challenging. The exact number of resistance levels is not as important as getting sufficient resistance at the higher levels is.
Some elliptical machines also offer a motorized incline, which is a great add on. Preset workouts take the guesswork out of exercising. You can hop on, press a button on the console and get started.
Most elliptical cycles offer 5-10 preset workouts. Some models allow you to sync the cycle with an interactive fitness app, like 'Explore the world', which will greatly expand the number of workouts as well as routes that you can try.
Benefits of Owning a 22 Inch Stride Elliptical
I have been privy to some conversations in the gym as well as on messaging boards on the internet, where people are skeptical about a 22-inch elliptical and any potential advantages that it offers.
If that describes you, then here's a summary of some advantages that I have experienced myself.
I can finally do low-impact cardio after busting my knee
My phsyio had recommended elliptical cycling as a low-impact alternative to treadmills a long time ago. But after trying almost 8-10 elliptical cycles with smaller strides, I had practically lost hope and abandoned my quest for a comfortable elliptical for my height.
That's until I found the Sole E53. It's not the largest one out there. But it's allowed me to resume cardio without my knees going sore after every workout.
The ergonomics are top notch. I am no longer overstretching my stride, nor am I getting cramped up. It would have been impossible to do this without a 22-inch Elliptical.
Since 22" is the ideal stride for taller users, most ellipticals in this category are low profile designs. This means that there's a distinct possibility that you might be able to park this in a low-ceiling basement gym, or a tiny apartment.
These are the benefits that I can think of, off the top of my head. I will add to the list as and when I can remember more.
Top Elliptical Brands
When it comes to Elliptical Cycles, there's only a handful of brands that you will see time and again in most gyms.
Sole Fitness is an American manufacturer, based out of Oregon USA. They started off assembling elliptical machines and treadmills and were known as a low cost alternative to Precor etc during their early days. But over the years, they have stepped up their game to make some of the best ellipticals and treadmills in the industry. The E35 and E55 are probably two of the most recommended Elliptical Cycles under $2000.
Precor is an American manufacturer based out of Illinois, USA. They produce a variety of commercial and home fitness equipment. They have always had a reputation of being leagues ahead of the competition when it comes to R&D, which is one of the reasons why Peloton acquired them for a pretty penny last year.
Sunny Health & Fitness
Sunny Health & Fitness is a large Chinese manufacturer. They produce a wide range of fitness equipment including treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes. Their machines are generally at the budget end of the marketplace. That said, the quality is pretty decent for the price.
Nautilus is an American manufacturer that boasts of an extensive range of fitness equipment. They have a wide range of elliptical machines that are suitable for different user needs.
However, they are known for making premium fitness equipment. So the prices are not exactly what we'd call pocket-friendly.
Bowflex is an American manufacturer that specializes in home gym systems. They have been around since 1986 and boast of a large number of elliptical machines in their lineup. They are also amongst the most popular brands in the business too.
FAQ about owning a 22 Inch Stride Elliptical and using it
If you still haven't found the answer to your question, don't worry. Here is a further rundown on elliptical facts to give you an even better insight...
What is the Best Elliptical for a Tall Person?
Based on my personal experience as well as my interactions with my buddies who are almost my height or slightly taller, I'd recommend the Sole E35. It's an excellent choice for tall users. But the Precor E385 is not too bad either.
Which Ellipticals Have the Longest Stride?
Most ellipticals boast of a stride length range of 18 to 22 inches. Only the Precor E585 has a stride length of 31.5", while the Sunny SF-E902 Airwalk has a stride length of 45". You can pick one of these two, if you are looking for the longest stride.
That said, do consider the stride selection guide that I have shared above. Too much is as problematic as too little.
Can you adjust the stride on an elliptical?
Yes you can. But not all elliptical machines have the stride length adjustment option. The Sole E85 does. That was one of the prime motivators for me to get it. My partner is 5'9 and the 20" stride works great for her too, a 20" stride elliptical should work with most people. When I am about to use it, I readjust it to 22" and get started.
What stride length is best for elliptical?
The ideal or best stride length for an elliptical depends on the height of the people who use it. Here's a summary of what we covered earlier. Under 5 feet - 14-16". 5' - 5'7" - 16-18". 5'7 - 6' - 18" to 20". 6' and taller - 20-24".
Would a 22-inch stride elliptical be good for a Short Person?
No it wouldn’t. Just like too short a stride can cramp you up, a longer stride than what's ideal can lead to you over-striding and impacting your knees and ankles. So maintain an optimal stride length for the height of the user and you'll be good.
Is 20 minutes a day on the elliptical enough?
That depends on your fitness goals. Are you looking to lose weight? Then it's probably not going to be enough unless you are performing the 20 minutes at max intensity with no intervals. But if you are looking at performing low impact cardio, then it might be enough, with several caveats. To be fair, it depends on a multitude of factors such as your age, body weight and fitness goals, to name a few.
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