What are some of the best ellipticals for tall people?

Ellipticals are a popular form of low impact, body-friendly aerobic exercise that hits almost your whole body.

But for people who are a little longer than average, using a standard elliptical can be a struggle, because of the way they’re designed.

That means, if you’re buying an elliptical for your home gym, you need to know what to look out for, and why that matters. Here’s what you should know:

The best ellipticals for taller people in 2023

Top Pick
Freestride FS10i

Freestride FS10i

Best overall elliptical for a shorter person

An extremely good quality elliptical that pretty much blows anything else out of the water. The stride length is just right for anyone under 5' 6 inches and the built-in screen makes for some exciting, engaging interactive workouts.

Check Latest Price

NordicTrack’s Freestride series is one of the best elliptical designs for bigger and taller people, for one main reason.

The colossal, adjustable stride length, runs up to a ridiculous 32 inches.

This is only possible because of the way the Freestride system is designed. Unlike a standard elliptical, which has a fixed range of motion, the footwells on the Freestride are linked to a suspension system that lets them move with you, mimicking your natural foot placement and stride pattern.

What this means for you is, no matter how long or short your stride is, the FS10i works alongside you for the best workout possible. It also has a truly absurd 175kg (375lb) weight limit, which is almost 100lbs more than anything else out there.

If you’re in the mood for a different experience, you can effortlessly switch the system over from elliptical mode, letting it function both as a stepper with vertical movements, and as a treadmill.

This is all backed up by NordicTrack’s premier interactive fitness app; iFit. It’s an open secret that we love iFit, both because of the sheer range of classes on offer, and how professional and well put together each class is. Interactive fitness is here to stay, and the quicker you get on board, the better. Unlike almost every other fitness company out there, NordicTrack also throws in 30 days of a free family membership with every purchase, which lets you see the benefits before you buy.

And yes, let’s address the price tag. The FS10i is reasonably pricey, but when you factor in everything, from the smoothness of the operation and the incredible build to iFit to the fact that it’s actually three machines in one, the price starts to make sense.

All of this put together points in one direction. The Freestride isn’t just the best elliptical for taller people. It’s a much more complete fitness machine than that. If you’re looking for something that’s built for the tallest amongst us, this is it.

Top Pick


Best overall elliptical for a shorter person

An extremely good quality elliptical that pretty much blows anything else out of the water. The stride length is just right for anyone under 5' 6 inches and the built-in screen makes for some exciting, engaging interactive workouts.

Check Latest Price

The biggest and best cross trainer in JLL Fitness’ range, the CT600 is a sizeable, well-built beast that can easily take larger, taller users, with its 20-inch stride and 135kg (300lb) weight limit.

It’s an attractive piece of kit. Sleek and modern, with a solid front-mounted 6kg flywheel that provides easily enough resistance for a challenging workout. Controls are incredibly simple, using a smart and easy to understand LCD console with space provided for a linked phone or tablet.

Built-in sensors can measure heart rate, as well as provide body fat percentage readings using the same electrical resistance, which is a nice touch. JLL use Kinomap for their fitness app, which we’ve reviewed here, and found it provided fun, effective workouts for a really reasonable price.

It’s also simple to assemble and move around, with detailed instructions and transport wheels that make shifting it between rooms, or away from the wall so you can exercise, a breeze, which can really help to save space around the house.

If you’re looking for an elliptical that simply performs, without any unnecessary frills, but has the space for expansion and interactive workouts, the CT600 is our top pick.

Top Pick
NordicTrack C 7.5

NordicTrack C 7.5

Best overall elliptical for a shorter person

An extremely good quality elliptical that pretty much blows anything else out of the water. The stride length is just right for anyone under 5' 6 inches and the built-in screen makes for some exciting, engaging interactive workouts.

Check Latest Price

The second NordicTrack elliptical on the list, the C7.5 is a much more traditional system than the Freestride, and looks and feels very similar to a commercial class machine that you’d find in gyms and health clubs.

Unlike a lot of fitness equipment at this level, the C7.5 focuses almost entirely on the machine, rather than flash and gadgets. It’s built to NordicTrack’s exacting standards, with a 125kg (275lb) weight capacity and ironclad build. The stride is an accommodating 20 inches, working off a weighty 9kg flywheel that offers a lot of resistance.

Impressively, unlike almost no other ellipticals, this also has a built-in incline function, up to 22 degrees, which links into the onboard iFit and can be adjusted by your trainer on the fly.

However, this comes at the cost of a small inbuilt screen and the necessity of using a Bluetooth linked device for the fitness classes.

The C7.5 has one clear purpose in mind. To be the best elliptical it can be, and it does that job impressively well.

Why do you need to buy an elliptical that’s designed for a taller person?

Stride length

The reason you need to choose an elliptical that’s based around your height is a little something called stride length.

The average person has a stride length of around 20 inches, and conveniently, so do most ellipticals. Considering the average man is around 5’10, that means if you’re 6ft or taller, you’re probably going to need an elliptical with a stride length that can accommodate this.

In general, taller people should be looking for ellipticals with a stride length of around 20 inches, which should be more than enough for you to work out comfortably. The issue is that a lot of budget ellipticals designed for the home will have a stride length that hovers around 15-16 inches.

Why is stride length so important?

Stride length on an elliptical is important for two reasons. One is effective workouts, the other is long term comfort and avoiding injury.

stride length so important - elliptical for tall people

Studies show that a longer overall stride length helps to engage your glutes more, burning more calories and helping with muscle growth. If you want strong, healthy, muscular legs (or that elusive squatters’ butt) then a longer stride length is one way towards that.

Second, limiting yourself with a shorter stride length might cause you health issues, both in the short and long term. It stands to reason. You have a natural stride, and walking with an artificially longer or shorter stride is going to force your muscles and joints into patterns that they aren’t built for.

Not only is this plain uncomfortable, especially over hundreds of reps, it’s going to put excess stress on your joints and muscles, and could lead to long term strain, joint pain, and in the worst cases damage to joints or the cartilage around them.


There are also a whole bunch of supplementary issues around comfort and size, including the length of the handlebars, how adjustable everything is, where the console is placed, and more.

While most of these are minor problems, they all add up over time, which impacts how everything feels in use, and how comfortable it all is. Something that’s a small issue the first time you exercise on your shiny new machine will eventually gnaw at you until you just can’t deal with it, making the whole process of working out that much less pleasurable.

Weight capacity

Finally, there’s the weight capacity. There’s no getting around it, taller people weigh more. It’s as simple as that. So if you’re particularly large or tall, the chances of you exceeding the weight limit on a particular machine are higher, especially with lower quality, cheaper machines that are likely to have flimsier build quality.

Is a cross-trainer an elliptical?

cross trainer an ellipticalThe last thing to address is whether a cross trainer and an elliptical are the same things because we feature both in the list below.

The answer is a resounding kind of. Cross trainers and ellipticals both work your lower body the same, the difference is how the handlebars work.

On an elliptical, the handlebars are fixed. On a cross trainer, the handlebars move, giving your upper body a workout as well as your bottom half. That’s the difference.

Final thoughts

Buying exercise equipment can be a struggle for the biggest among us because a lot of gear just isn’t built with people like that in mind. But hopefully, our guide has shown that, with a little bit of hunting around and some smart choices, you can pick up a system that can easily handle the giants among us, as well as everyone else.

Tom Armstrong

Hey! I've been training in all kinds of places, with all kinds of equipment for the best part of 30 years. I love training with my weights at home and writing about new products and training methods online. Well, with a name like Armstrong, I would have to be into training, right?