Working out is hard enough and it really doesn’t help when your equipment is conspiring against you. If you’re dealing with an elliptical that won’t stop dancing around while you’re just trying to work out, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Plenty of people deal with this issue, and there are a few ways to get your elliptical to stand still.
To make it stop rocking, put your elliptical trainer on a rigid floor (preferably hardwood or concrete). The bolts might be loose, so you can tighten those as well. In extreme cases, bolt the elliptical to the floor to keep it firmly in one spot. A rubber mat can reduce moving around.
Keep reading to learn more about wobbling ellipticals and how to stop their unwanted movements for good. If one solution doesn’t work for you, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to try to make your elliptical stable again.
Type of flooring
Elliptical trainers do best on rigid floors. Rigid floors are floors that are built for stability, such as hardwood, concrete, or even vinyl. Any floor that is flat, level, and sturdy will be good for supporting an elliptical.
Ellipticals that are dropped on carpets usually won’t stop rocking around like Elvis. The carpet isn’t rigid, so if you’re cycling on your elliptical, pushing the machine up and down as you’re working up a sweat, the carpet won’t hold it up. It will squish and move and let the elliptical push it around. Unlike rigid floors, the carpet is a total pushover.
Manuals for ellipticals don’t say that you can’t put your trainer on the carpet, but they do recommend at the very least putting a mat between the elliptical and floor. This is for a variety of reasons. Moving your elliptical off the carpet won’t just help the wobbling, but it will also protect your carpet from getting squished and ruined.
If you can move your elliptical from a carpeted room to a room with a smooth floor, do it. This should solve your wobbling problem instantly. But if you can’t, then there are other options for you.
Leveling your elliptical trainer is a surefire way to keep it from rocking. When you first set up your elliptical, you probably leveled each leg to the floor to make sure it would stay sturdy. Well, the best way to fix any imbalance is to go back to that step and fiddle with the legs until it stops rocking around.
How to level an elliptical differs based on the brand and model, so be sure to crack open your manual and find the instructions for your machine. But, generally speaking, for most ellipticals, the best way to see which leg is off is by holding your elliptical by the handlebars and gently rocking it yourself. If it moves and wobbles on one or two legs, then you’ll be able to see which ones are too short and which ones aren’t level.
Most ellipticals have feet that can simply be screwed in or out to adjust the lenght. Sometimes you can do this by hand while on others you need to use a wrench or other tool. But, it’s never too difficult.
Leveling is so much easier to do on rigid floors, which is another reason the floor matters. Even if you level your elliptical on the carpet, the carpet moves around when you use it, so what might be level at first won’t be level after ten minutes of working out.
Most elliptical manuals recommend tightening the bolts and screws on your machine before or after you use it each time. This might seem like overkill, but the suggestion is there to prevent this exact problem you’re dealing with: a dancing elliptical. And while most people don’t tighten the bolts every time they use their elliptical, the general consensus is to perform a maintenance check every three to six months.
The maintenance check is when you tighten the bolts, lubricate the elliptical, and deal with any other possible problems. If the screws are getting loose, you can fix them and keep the elliptical from rocking around. Not only will this stop the wobbling now, but if you keep doing it every few months, it will prevent the elliptical from wobbling again. You can also give the machine a longer life and make your own workouts more enjoyable since your elliptical won’t be rocking around while you’re on it or making odd noises.
Tightening the bolts is actually very simple, and it shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes to complete. The process is pretty self-explanatory, but for more information on how to perform a proper maintenance check for your elliptical, watch this helpful video:
An equipment mat can help stabilize the elliptical trainer as well. Equipment mats are usually rubber or PVC. They are meant to dampen noise, stop equipment from ‘walking’, provide grip for your or the equipment’s feet, protect the flooring and make things easier to clean.
The biggest benefit of a rubber mat (Thick rubber is a much better option than PVC) is that it stops the machine from moving around. Rubber provides a lot of grip for the feet of the elliptical or other equipment which stops it from sliding around.
Putting a rubber equipment mat under your elliptical trainer (or other cardio machine), will stabilize it in a few ways;
- Rubber is solid, heavy and a little flexible at the same time. The heaviness compresses the carpet, reducing the ‘squish’.
- The rubber is usually flatter which makes it easier to level the feet
- There is still a little flex in the rubber. However this is less than the flex in the carpet which means the wobbling is reduced.
However, if the things above are not in order, you’ll probably not get a good result just by putting a mat under your elliptical if it’s falling apart and the feet aren’t leveled. A thick mat can take up some of the slack but there are limits.
A solid thick mat can help you make the elliptical feel more solid on carpet. That’s if the carpet is not too plush. However, if you’ve got super soft carpet, the next option might work better.
Treadmill mats will work perfectly fine for an elliptical trainer as well. Suggested post: How much does a treadmill mat cost?
If moving the elliptical to a rigid floor, tightening the screws, and twisting the leveling feet didn’t work, then it’s time to bring in the big guns. Or, the big panel of wood.
Putting a mat between the elliptical and the carpet is good, but getting plywood is even better. Using plywood can mimic a rigid floor and you can still use your elliptical in the same room without moving it around too much…well, you’d have to move the elliptical to get plywood under it, but you get the point. Plus, you get some weight-lifting training as a bonus!
Plywood is great, and it’s not super expensive. An elliptical is about 6 ft long and 3 ft wide, and a sheet of plywood is generally 4 by 8 ft, with the thickness varying from 1/4 to 3/4 an inch. Plywood panels at that length can cost anything from $40 to $80 depending on the type of wood. The thicker the panel and the stronger the wood, the better the plywood will be at supporting your elliptical. If you splurge for a more expensive panel, it will be worth it. You won’t have to worry about your elliptical wobbling or moving around anymore.
Adding an extra mat on top of the plywood makes it easier to clean, dampens some noise and looks better.
Stick to the Floor
If all else fails, you can always just get rid of all the extra variables and quite literally bolt the elliptical to the floor. This is drastic, but it’s not like you’re permanently sticking it to the floor. You can always unbolt it later, but it will take some extra hassle. And you’ll always have holes in the floor unless you buy a carpet to cover it up.
If your elliptical is still rocking around on concrete, don’t despair. Check out this website to learn how to bolt anything to concrete.
Favorite Cardio Machine Accessories
Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:
- Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high quality choice.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and workouts, there is no better choice than the GymNext Flex. It’s super easy to use and set up with a phone app.
- Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
- Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.
To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.