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Discover the best full body cardio machines on the market so you can engage many muscles while working your cardiovascular system.
Before doing so, you want to know that these full body cardio machines will typically not build a lot of muscle.
For this goal, you want to keep your cardio and strength training separate.
Table of Contents
1. Elliptical machine
The elliptical is one of the most popular full body cardio machines in the gym.
You can describe elliptical machines as a construction with two big pedals that rotate and two handles that go back and forth.
In turn, your cardiovascular workout involves push movements, pull movements, and engagement of the main leg muscles.
To really make this cardio machine more of a full body workout you could even turn up the resistance.
Another benefit of the elliptical machine is that you can influence what muscles you work more.
For example, if you want to focus more on your arms, chest, and upper back, you can reduce to what extent you use your legs for rotating the pedals.
Additionally, the quiet noise levels make ellipticals a reasonable choice when it comes to cardio equipment for apartments with thin walls.
One downside of elliptical machines is that they are relatively pricey.
You need a decent amount of space to use and store them too.
2. Rowing machine
The rowing machine is a relatively well-know way to get a cardiovascular too. Especially among CrossFit enthusiasts.
If you have not heard of this full body cardio machine, it is basically a construction that simulates rowing a boat.
As you can expect, this definitely gets your heart beating when you pick up the pace.
The pull movement involved will also engage your latissimus dorsi (middle/upper back), trapezius (upper back), biceps, and forearm muscles a nice amount.
One potential downside of rowing machines in the context of this list is that they neglect some areas.
For example, your chest, triceps, and front deltoids will generally not work too much while rowing.
You may find the leg engagement of the rowing machine a bit too lacking too.
Additionally, you need a decent amount of floor space to use this total body cardio machine too.
That being said, rowing machines are still one of the most popular options on this list for a reason.
They do not only offer a good workout but also a lot of fun (at least if you are into rowing).
3. Dual action exercise bike
You likely know about regular stationary bikes where you padel away with your legs to get better cardiovascular health.
However, to really work muscles over your entire body it is better to choose a specific type of exercise bikes.
Dual action exercise bikes have handles that move back and forth or rotate on top of the more standard leg engagement.
Compared to something like an elliptical machine, dual action exercise bikes do still involve less core engagement.
At the same time, they definitely still deserve a spot on this list of full body cardio machines.
One potential benefit of dual action exercise bikes is that they require less balance.
This can be helpful for people who find other exercises and sports too challenging in this area.
Additionally, it is relatively easy to enjoy your favorite movie while getting fitter on the dual action exercise bike.
4. Vertical climber
Vertical climbers offer a movement similar to climbing up a ladder but in the comfort of your own home or gym.
Due to the more vertical movements, vertical climbers can be good cardio equipment for small spaces.
At least when it comes to the surface necessary. You still need a good amount of vertical space to use this full body cardio machine.
Similar to rowing machines, one potential downside of vertical climbers is that they don’t work your chest, triceps, and deltoids that much.
Additionally, you do need a decent amount of balance and coordination to use one of these machines.
On the other hand, you may really like the core engagement of the vertical climber.
This can make daily activities like standing up and walking around more convenient.
5. Arc trainer
Arc trainers are very similar to elliptical machines but they are not quite the same either.
More specifically, the leg movements on an arc trainer are more vertical instead of horizontal like on the elliptical.
This means arc trainers will work your quadriceps (front thighs) slightly more and glutes (butt) and hamstrings (back thighs) slightly less.
When it comes to upper body engagement, these full body cardio machines are both great thanks to the push and pull movements.
Two big downsides of arc trainers are their price tag and large dimensions.
If you don’t have a big home gym and the matching budget, this is likely not the best full body cardio machine for you.
Additionally, arc trainers are not that common in gyms either.
6. Ski machine
Ski machines like the SkiErg are relatively well-known in the CrossFit world but outside of it, not many people know about this full body cardio machine.
You can describe these ski machines as a construction where you can pull down two handles against resistance.
Similar to a rowing machine but more vertical.
In turn, ski machines are a relatively arm-focused cardio machine with a nice amount of upper back and core engagement too.
You typically also go through your knees slightly which makes ski machines engage your legs to some extent too.
That being said, it is fair to say that this area is not its hardest engagement.
In that sense, some people may find ski machines a bit lacking as a full body cardio machine.
Additionally, you may find these machines too pricey compared to many SkiErg alternatives.
At the same time, this is still a cardio machine that works a variety of areas all over your body.
You can definitely get a good cardiovascular workout.