What’s The Best Elliptical Stride Length For You? +Chart

Buying elliptical machines can be difficult. There are many different variables that can make one perfect for you or terrible to use. Stride length is one of those variables. What is right for you? Here’s what you need to know.

The optimal elliptical stride length depends on your height. For an average 5’9 person a 20” stride length is suitable which is this is a common stride length in commercial gyms. For shorter people (5’5) a stride length of 16-18” is great. For people taller than 5’9, 22”+ is good.

User heightStride length
Under 5’14"-16"
5’9 and up20"-22"+

What is the stride length of an elliptical machine and what does it mean? Keep reading to find out.

Looking for an elliptical machine with a 20″ stride length? Click here to see which one I recommend.

What’s The Best Elliptical Stride Length For Your Height?

There are a lot of elliptical trainers on the market and stride length is a very important factor in choosing the right one. One of the things that have a really big impact on your workout quality on an elliptical is the stride length. Too long isn’t good, too short isn’t good.

Suggested: What’s Elliptical Stride Length?

Here’s a chart of which stride lengths are suitable for certain height.

User heightStride length
Under 5’14"-16"
5’9 and up20"-22"+

Those are the optimal lengths. It’s OK to be a bit off in either direction. If you have to compromise, just make sure you’re not more than 2″ off the ideal.

Why Is Elliptical Stride Length Important?

Elliptical stride length is the distance the pedals move back and forth. If the stride length is too short for you, the movement will feel choppy, cut short and in general not as smooth as you’d like it to be. When the stride length is too long, you might feel like you’re stretching your inner leg muscles too far.

Both situations can cause you to be uncomfortable while using the machine. In the worst case you could even injure yourself. Either way, you’re not getting as much out of the machine and your workout as you could.

Elliptical trainers stride lengths vary from 14” to 24”. 14″ is too short for pretty much everyone. It’s for very compact elliptical trainers and is a compromise. 16″ to 24″ is what’s good for most people.

Which length is best for you depends on how tall you are. Or more specific, how long your legs are. If two people of different heights spread their legs the same amount of degrees at the hips, their feet will not be the same distance apart. Another factor is how trained you are. Better trained individuals have a longer stride length.

That’s why getting an elliptical machine with the correct stride length for you. What is right for you depends on how tall you are. To be more specific, it depends on how long your legs are but since that’s not a common metric, total height is much easier to talk about.

Stride length is important but so are your workouts. Are 20 minute sessions enough? Click here to learn more.

If there is more than one person who’s going to use the elliptical machine, there are good chances they are different heights and need different stride lengths. If you’re in that situation, the solution can be to get a machine with adjustable stride length. Usually they’re not super easy to adjust but it can make the elliptical more comfortable to use for all users.

Another solution is to compromise and get a stride length that’s in between what both users need. If you’re not sure if an elliptical machine is right for you, it’s best to try it out. It’s OK to be 2″ off your ideal and won’t lead to issues.

A stride length of 20” is suitable for the largest portion of the population. This is why you find this size in most commercial or publicly available spaces.

Stride length isn’t the only thing you should look at when buying an elliptical machine but it’s one of the most important variables. There are other things to consider like features, quality, load limit and more.

Best Elliptical For Tall People

If you’re a taller person, there’s no need to have an elliptical that is too short for you. There are some good options out there with up to 24″ stride lengths.

The best option is the Sole E95S. It is a big machine but that’s what you need if you’re tall. The E95S has an adjustable stride length of 18″ to 24″ which means not only you but most people can use this machine. This helps if you’ve got shorter family members who also want to use the elliptical.

Besides being suitable for people of below average height to tall people, it’s a great elliptical. It has a very smooth action and is quiet. There is a beautiful 10.1″ touchscreen that controls all the functions, a 400 lbs. user weight limit and a 5 year warranty.

It also has some cool features like built in fans, heart rate monitoring, bluetooth connectivity and speakers.

Best Elliptical For Short People

Don’t need a very long stride? The Schwinn 411 is a good choice with a fixed 18″ stride length. This works well for below average height people. it’s a much simpler machine than the Sole recommended above but also a lot smaller and cheaper.

You still get a performance monitor, magnetic resistance adjustment and a low impact workout though.

Related questions

How much weight can an elliptical machine handle? On average, an elliptical machine for home use can handle 292 lbs./132.5 kg.  The weight limits for elliptical machines range from 220 lbs. (99.7 kg) to 400 lbs. The most common user weight limit is 300 lbs. (136 kg).

Click here to find out more about elliptical user weight limits.

How much does an elliptical machine weigh? The average elliptical machine for home use weighs about 136 lbs. Simple elliptical machines without electronics and lighter construction are much lighter at 60 to 80 lbs. while versions with electronics and more features range from 120 lbs. to 250 lbs.

Click here to find out more about elliptical machine weights.

Favorite Cardio 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.
  • 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.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

Recent Posts