Are Elliptical Machines Bad for Your Back?

Are elliptical machines bad for your back? Unless you are exercising so hard that you are throwing every vertebrae out of alignment with each movement, elliptical machines are easily one of the gentlest types of exercises that you can do when it comes to your back. These machines require you to stand on them and use your legs as if you were riding a bicycle.

Low Risk Exercise Machine

You have handlebars for support, so there is very little danger of falling and injuring yourself in that way. Aside from that, using an elliptical requires you to stand up straight. Thanks to the placement of the handlebars, it usually improves your posture, especially if you have a tendency to slouch or lean to one side more than the other. This puts you in the best position to get in a solid workout with causing any injury to your back or without exacerbating an injury that already exists.

That does not necessarily mean that you won’t feel a certain amount of discomfort when you exercise, especially if you already have severe back problems. The truth is, if your back pain is bad enough, you are going to feel it regardless of what you are doing. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you must exercise and get fit in order to reduce the pain, yet it is that very same pain that is preventing you from exercising. In this particular case, virtually any type of exercise is going to be painful. However, the elliptical is still going to be far gentler on your back then virtually anything else that you might consider using.

Low Impact on Your Back

The reason the elliptical is so gentle on your back is because of the way it is designed. It was actually designed for people who have bad knees, yet want to get a solid workout without being forced to run. You can definitely get an excellent workout using an elliptical, one that rivals any treadmill. The difference is that you are being gentle on the joints throughout your entire body. It only stands to reason that a machine designed to be gentle on the knees will be equally gentle on every other part of the body.

A lot of people who have back pain notice that when they do any type of exercise that involves impacting the ground with their foot, the pain gets worse. Some people feel as though their back is being compressed. That is because it actually is being compressed and it is being jarred dramatically every time you take a step. Getting on the elliptical allows for gentle stretching and an excellent workout without doing more harm than good in the process.


Overall, using the elliptical is actually really good for your back. If it hurts you to do a lot of strength training and you can’t hardly stand the thought of another day on the treadmill, give the elliptical a try for at least a week. You might be surprised at how good you really feel when it is all said and done. In addition, your back pain might decrease as the muscles in your back get stronger.