Clinical implications of changing parameters on an elliptical trainer

Yonatan Kaplan, Meir Nyska, Ezequiel Palmanovich, Rebecca Shanker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Specific weightbearing instructions continue to be a part of routine orthopaedic clinical practice on an injured or postoperative extremity. Researchers and clinicians have struggled to define the best weightbearing strategies to maximize clinical outcomes. Purpose: To investigate the average percentage body weight (APBW) values, weightbearing distribution percentages (WBDP), and cadence values on the entire foot, hindfoot, and forefoot during changing resistance and incline on an elliptical trainer, as well as to suggest clinical implications. Study Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: An original research study was performed consisting of 30 asymptomatic subjects (mean age, 29.54 ± 12.64 years; range, 21-69 years). The protocol included 3 consecutive tests of changing resistance and incline within a speed range of 70 to 95 steps/min. The SmartStep weightbearing gait analysis system was utilized to measure the values. Results: The APBW values for the entire foot ranged between 70% and 81%, the hindfoot values were between 27% and 57%, and the forefoot values between 42% and 70%. With regard to WBDP, the forefoot remained planted on the pedal (stance phase) 2 to 3 times more as compared with the hindfoot raise in the swing phase. Conclusion: The study findings highlight the fact that elliptical training significantly reduces weightbearing in the hindfoot, forefoot, and entire foot even at higher levels of resistance and incline. Clinical Relevance: Weightbearing on the hindfoot consistently displayed the lowest weightbearing values. Orthopaedic surgeons, now equipped with accurate weightbearing data, may recommend using the elliptical trainer as a weightbearing exercise early on following certain bony or soft tissue pathologies and lower limb surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Body weight
  • Elliptical parameters
  • Weight distribution
  • Weightbearing


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