How much weight can an elliptical hold? This varies from model to model. For example, a standard model can handle much less weight than a heavy-duty elliptical for a plus-size person.
Finding an elliptical that matches your weight can be a bit of an obstacle.
There are many types of ellipticals, but if you’re a heavy individual, you’ll need a device that will properly support your weight.
This generally limits your options.
That’s why we dedicated an entire post to compare the best elliptical machines for heavy individuals.
You’ll find relevant buying suggestions to make a better purchasing decision. So let’s dive straight into it!
Table of Contents
How much weight can an elliptical hold? Introduction
You always need to check the maximum weight capacity!
If the weight limit of the elliptical of your interest is too low, it’s not even worth spending your time and research in.
So always check it straight away before everything else.
Also, it’s always a good idea to allow a margin between the weight limit of the elliptical and your body weight.
For example, if you weigh 275 pounds, don’t pick a device with a weight limit of 300 pounds or lower.
Instead, go for a design with a 350-pound weight limit or more. It’s better to always be on the safe side.
Picking a device with a slightly higher weight limit lowers the risk of crossing the maximum weight limit.
Reading tip: How do I choose an elliptical for my home? lets you discover how to select the best elliptical for your situation and goals.
Maximum weight limit of an elliptical
Exceeding the weight limit might cause your elliptical to break.
Plus, if you put less pressure (caused by the weight) on the device, you’ll most likely have a much smoother training experience.
There’s no standard weight limit, though.
Some may claim that most ellipticals can hold a person between 225 to 425 pounds. But this all depends on the model.
Some elliptical models might have a maximum weight limit of 450 pounds, while basic models might have a maximum weight limit of only 200 pounds.
So, long story short: Make sure you check it! Tip: Read How do I choose an elliptical for my home? for more buying tips.
What if you go beyond the weight limit of your elliptical?
What will happen if you weigh much more than the weight limit of your elliptical device? Well, three things can happen.
So which one will happen? That depends on how much you’re crossing the weight limit, how frequently, and the device’s quality.
As we said already: three things can happen when the weight limit is surpassed.
The first option is the best: absolutely nothing (because you’re still within the safety margin).
The second option is that the elliptical undergoes increased wear, but still functions.
The third and worst option is (structural) failure of the elliptical.
To understand the odds a little bit better, let’s take a closer look at what these options mean:
Within the safety margin
There will be a safety margin in almost everything you buy.
Most producers care about their items and want to provide you the best possible experience. A big part of that experience is the lifespan.
This experience wouldn’t be fantastic if the device would break immediately. Not to mention the possible service warranty claims.
Most ellipticals will have a safety margin where absolutely nothing terrible will happen, or at least not instantly.
It also depends on how old or worn the device is already.
For example, a safety margin of 15% when the machine is new might only be 5% when parts are wearing out.
On the other hand, producers would like to advertise a weight limit that’s as high as possible since it can be an excellent selling point.
It would even increase their potential consumer base!
So sadly, it’s not very likely that you’ll get an elliptical with a much larger weight limit than it’s advertised.
Increased wear and tear
At least one thing is for sure: if you put more weight on an elliptical device, the wear will increase.
This will directly shorten the lifespan since the weight puts more stress on the frame as well as the moving parts.
If you’re asking more of an elliptical (or any other device) than it’s made to do, you really have to maintain it strictly.
Lubing won’t help with frame damage, but it will absolutely help reduce the wear on moving parts.
It’s a lot like tuning a car for more power; you’ll have more wear on the bearings and other parts.
This will cause a much shorter lifespan, no matter how well you tune it. But changing the oil more often will help.
But again, it also depends on how much you cross the weight limit, for how long, how frequent, etcetera.
You’re entering the safety margin of the machine and may even go beyond that. So while it may not break instantly, it will break quicker!
Structural failure of the equipment
But how much faster will it break? Even 2 elliptical trainers of the exact same brand and model could fail at different points.
Obviously, it depends on how much over the limit you fill the elliptical and for how long.
This means that the smoothness you use the device with also plays a role.
For example, simply jumping on it is more likely to cause damage than carefully stepping on it.
There is a line from “regular wear” to “increased wear” to “failure”.
Where you are on that line is a direct result of the stress you put on it.
How much weight can an elliptical hold? Summary
Hopefully, reading this post helped you come closer to making a final buying decision.
If you are a heavier adult, the weight limit plays a crucial role in your buying choice.
A 225-pound person usually needs a different elliptical machine compared to a 325-pound user.
Are you still unsure about the sense or nonsense of an elliptical in the context of losing weight? Then be sure to read our related article Is an elliptical good for obese people?.