Unfortunately the gym did not have elliptical machines or trainers- or at least they were not an option for the class I was in – if indeed they were there.
The pain became so intense that I had to convince the instructor to let me try running on the outdoor track with the track team where the ground/pavement was much softer. To this day, my knees can only withstand so much running before the pain hits in. I cannot even use a treadmill except for basic walking.
So for those like me, or those who just don’t want to use a treadmill, what options are there? The answer lies in ergonomically joint friendly elliptical machines like the Schwinn 430 .
What to look for when purchasing an elliptical machine?
One of the benefits of an elliptical exercise machine is that it works both cardiovascular and muscle building. However, not all elliptical trainers are created equal and therefore not all will give the same desired results. Therefore, here are some points to consider when looking for a machine:
- Elliptical stride and motion
- Computer console and programs
- The brake system
- Computerized features/functions
Below I will explain each of these as they relate to the Schwinn 430 elliptical machine. Whether you choose to ultimately go with a Schwinn or other product – this review will help you think through the various aspects of what to look for.
Stride and Motion
One of the unique features that makes elliptical machines so favored is that it is extremely gentle on joints. By gentle I mean little to no impact on your joints during your workout. This is directly related to what is termed Bio Glide Motion Technology.
The Bio Glide Motion relates to the smooth movements of the elliptical stride. The Stamina 430 has an 18″ stride which is a natural stride distance for most people.
The design of the elliptical machine is one in which the foot and heel does not need to raise off the food pads when in motion. It is this design that allows there to be little to no impact on the knees, back, or even hips.
The Schwinn 430 elliptical machine also uses the term BioFit. This term refers to the ergonomic design of every point where there is contact between you and the machine. Whether the hands or feet, this elliptical machine is made to offer the maximum comfort, convenience and practical functionality.
Weight is important in two forms. One is the weight of the individual using the machine, and the second is the weight of the machine itself.
In regards to human weight, according to the Schwinn manual, it is advised not use this machine if you weigh more than 275 pounds. However, the Schwinn 420
and 431 models will accommodate up to 300 pounds.
The Stamina 430 machine weighs 152 pounds which is a good sturdy weight. For some, a lighter machine will seem desired for purposes of moving it around. However the greater the weight, the less likely it will tip over, wobble, or feel unsteady when in use.
Computer Console & Programs
This elliptical exercise machine has an LCD computer display which sits in easy reach and view of the user while exercising. It is important that the console is not only easy to use, but also offers a good mix of exercise programs.
The Stamina 430 comes with 6 programmed exercise profiles, from an easy “Ride in the Park” program to an intense “Cross Training” program.
It also provides a manual program where you can set your own pace and adjust the resistance manually as you are working out.
In addition to these programs, it comes with a Calorie Goal program which displays a countdown to zero from your entered target goal. For example, if you set 300 calories as your goal, along with your desired workout profile, the computer will display the amount of calories in a countdown fashion until it hits zero calories.
Not only does this machine offer 6 programs, it offers 8 different levels of resistance which are controlled using easy up and down buttons. So you can choose the easiest profile and increase the resistance as you improve.
The Brake System
A braking system is usually associated with bikes, however the elliptical machine has a breaking feature as well. It is important that the braking mechanism is smooth and quiet, not a type of braking system that suddenly stops. This Stamina elliptical machine has such a braking system which uses resistance to bring the machine to a smooth and graceful stop.
Anytime you want to buy and exercise machine for the home, it is important to make sure that the piece of equipment you are buying actually fits where you want to put it!
The Stamina 430 measures 59 inches long, 26 inches wide and 68 inches in height. In addition, the Stamina manual recommends to provide 19 inches of free space around the machine to allow for easy maneuverability getting on and off.
Additional Functions and Features
The elliptical machine reviewed here comes with even more features which deserve mention.
Heart Rate Recovery: The Heart Rate Recovery feature will take your heart rate using the heart rate grip pads located on the handlebars. It will take your heart rate when you first stop exercising and then will monitor it for 1 minute where it then records your rate again. The larger the difference between the two numerical values, the quicker your heart rate recovery. The goal is to be able to return to a normal heart rate in a shorter amount of time.
Quick Start: The Quick Start option is exactly that – it bypasses any prompts and settings and simply starts the machine in manual mode. At this point you can then adjust the resistance level to whatever level you want.
Forward/Reverse: This feature allows you to use the machine in reverse mode. Mostly used at the end of a work out, the reverse motion works different muscles in your legs.
Water Bottle Holder: The Stamina 430 does come with a nice water bottle holder which can hold the majority of water bottle sizes. However it will not accommodate large oversize bottles.
Transport Wheels: This machine comes equipped with wheels on the bottom of one end to move it around, rather than making it a permanent piece of equipment in your room.
In addition to the elliptical machine it is recommended to purchase either online or at a local store, some white lithium grease. This is an important part of the assembly process to help lubricate the screws and attachments and is recommended not only by the company but also by a number of reviewers at Amazon.
Some people also recommend using a mat under the machine. This will help prevent any marking on the floors and to provide an more level surface. However, it does come equipped with levelers to level the machine.
What do people have to say?
The average rating given by over 450 reviewers at Amazon was 4.5 stars out of 5, with 5 being the highest. Here are a few of the comments:
“Just as good as the really expensive ones at the gym”
“Great machine @ great price”
“Awesome exercise machine”
“Very solid elliptical, very good price”
You can read more reviews here at Amazon.
What complaints do people have?
The most common complaint I have seen by reviewers was an issue of squeaking. Most people were able to solve or lesson this issue by using lithium grease to lubricate the joints. However, some users also discovered that it is important during assembly not to over tighten the screws as this could definitely be related to the squeaking noise. Once lubrication was applied or loosening the screws occurred, the noise was significantly reduced.
Another comment which was mentioned was not so much a complaint, as much as it was an observation – and this was that the LCD display light was actually not very bright. This however was not a concern for the majority of users since most people work out in areas of adequate or bright light anyway.
The Stamina 430 elliptical machine comes with a warranty of:
- 15 years on the frame
- 2 years on mechanical parts
- 1 year on electronics
- 90 days for labor
Where to Buy for the Best Price?
The Stamina 430 falls into the mid-range category of pricing. Low end pricing would be in the low 100’s, mid range in the mid to upper 100’s and the high end range would be in the 1000’s. I recommend viewing this product on Amazon , where they consistently offer the most competitive prices. They also currently (at the time of this review) offer free shipping with the purchase.