An elliptical trainer is a big machine and you probably don’t want it in your living room. It’s a bit of an eyesore. So can you safely put one upstairs or in an apartment that’s not on the ground floor? Let’s find out.
It’s safe to place an elliptical trainer upstairs or in an apartment. Elliptical trainers weigh 100 to 150 lbs. Working out on is low impact so the floor doesn’t see much more load than your body weight. This means any floor that’s up to code can handle an elliptical and user easily.
Below you can find out why this is the case and some extra tips to make putting your elliptical trainer upstairs even safer.
Can an upstairs floor handle an elliptical trainer?
A building that’s up to code in the USA will be able to handle 30 to 40 lbs. of uniform load per square foot upstairs. Uniform load means that every part of the floor can handle that amount of weight in every spot of the floor at the same time.
Of course you rarely have a load like that on the whole floor. Usually the floor isn’t completely covered in heavy things. And if it is, you probably can’t fit an elliptical trainer in there anyways.
Code compliant buildings have another requirement and that is that you should be able to put a 300 lbs. load in any one spot. And you should be able to put a 300 lbs. load on more than one spot in the room as long as you don’t exceed the total load limit of the room and the spots where you put the pressure on the floor are far enough away from each other.
Elliptical trainers have at least four feet (sometimes more) that are spread out pretty well. That means you can have an elliptical that weighs 4 times 300 lbs. which is 1200 lbs.
I would recommend staying a little under that 1200 lbs. That number is the limit so staying safe and aiming for a 1000 lbs. max load is a good idea.
The load you put on the floor consists of two parts; the weight of the machine and the body weight of the user. Let’s dive into those two separately because there are a few things you should know.
How much does an elliptical weigh?
I’ve written a post about the average weights of elliptical trainers before so if you want to know all the details you can click here to see a list of common elliptical trainer weights.
The average elliptical machine for home use weighs about 136 lbs. (61.7 kg). Simple elliptical machines without electronics and lighter construction are much lighter at 60 to 80 lbs. (27 to 32.3 kg) while ones with electronics and more features range from 120 lbs. to 250 lbs. (54.4 to 113.4 kg.)https://homegymresource.com/how-much-does-an-elliptical-machine-weigh/
Heavy elliptical trainers will weigh around 200 lbs. or a bit more. That’s not lightweight but that’s still quite a bit lighter than a heavy treadmill. And as you can read here, in most cases a treadmill is not an issue to place upstairs. Since you want to load a floor to about 1000 lbs. to stay on the safe side, an elliptical is absolutely no problem.
The weight of the user is another part to take into account though.
Exercise and floor load
The only time where a treadmill can be problematic is when a heavy person is running on it. Running on a treadmill creates a pretty hard impact that can be 3 times the bodyweight.
Elliptical trainers are a little bit different though. The good thing about them is that the impacts are much lighter than on a treadmill. That’s because the foot pedals move with your feet so the weight is transferred much more smoothly and the impact won’t be much higher than one time your body weight.
That’s great news because this is the part that actually creates the biggest impact on the floor with a treadmill.
To be on the safe side, multiply your bodyweight by 1.5 and your floor will be perfectly fine. You’ll probably run into the weight limit of the elliptical trainer before you exceed the load limit of the floor.
For example, you’ve got a 250 lbs. elliptical trainer and you weigh 300 lbs. yourself;
- 300 x 1.5 = 450 lbs.
- 250 lbs + 450 lbs. = 700 lbs.
So in that situation, a heavy elliptical machine and a person 300 lbs. can work out perfectly safely upstairs. The 700 lbs. load limit the floor is going to ‘see’ in this case is well under the 1000 lbs. you want to limit yourself to.
Above you can see that most people will be perfectly safe to work out on an elliptical trainer that’s not on a ground floor. If you’re still a little worried, there are a few things you can do to make extra sure you’re good to go.
- Find a joist/supporting wall: If you know where the supporting walls or joists are in the floor under you, place your elliptical on top of them. On top of one of those, a floor is going to be much stronger. Keep in mind, the building code only specifies the minimum load the floor should be able to handle: (1) if you load the whole floor. (2) at the weakest spot. So some parts will have to be much stronger.
- Close to the wall: If there are no supporting walls under you, the closer to the wall you are, the more load a floor can handle. So while you want to keep a little space free next to the wall, try to keep it as close to the wall as reasonably possible.
- Find a lightweight elliptical: If you are sure you have to lower the weight, the easiest way to do that is to find a lighter elliptical trainer. However, quality and weight do seem to be loosely correlated. An elliptical that is sturdy and high quality is often a bit heavier.
- Use a hard layer/mat: A thick equipment mat or even layer of plywood under your elliptical will spread out the weight over a larger area. Spreading out the load means a lower load per square foot.
Ask an expert
If you feel unsure if your situation is safe or not, you can always ask the advice of an expert. Find a local engineering company that is familiar with the building code in your area and ask them. A quick phone call will probably answer your question very quickly.
If they’re not sure, you’ll have to ask someone to come out to your house and inspect the situation. That will probably cost some money but that’s better than just going for it and discovering it was too much later on.