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Elliptical Stride Length By Height – Find Your Perfect Pick

Elliptical Stride Length By Height? Elliptical trainers are one of the best low-impact, full-body fitness equipment in the fitness world. One of the major features of any elliptical is its stride length. Different individuals have different stride distances as a result of differences in height, weight, and natural walking stride posture.

Most elliptical manufacturers do their best to cater to a varying degree of stride distances. However, to have an idea of what is best, trainers would have to know what elliptical stride length provides the maximum comfort. The article examines how best to determine the optimal stride length using height as a major criterion.

Elliptical Stride Length By Height

What Is Stride Length?

Stride length is the distance/length between the pedals when they are farthest apart. This is the farthest point the pedals can go. The stride length of elliptical machines is designed to mimic the moving steps of a fitness trainer. People have different stride lengths when walking, running, or stair climbing. Several factors determine how short or long the stride distances are in humans.

The design and location of the drive system would determine whether it will have a short stride length or longer stride length. The rear-drive and front-drive systems are known to have varying stride lengths but ellipticals with center drive systems usually don’t have higher strides.

Elliptical Stride Length

In combination with the resistance mechanism, stride length creates the tension or resistance needed for low-impact, total-body elliptical workouts. So, to get maximum workout results, an optimum stride distance is needed to counteract the tension of the flywheel.

Another feature that makes stride length comfortable is the design of the pedals. They are designed large or oversized to allow for comfort on the ankles. 

An elliptical stride length is one of the most important features of any elliptical. Elliptical machines come with adjustable or fixed stride length features. Ellipticals with adjustable strides can accommodate multiple users and varying strides. This makes them a perfect machine for multiple trainers. The stride length can easily be adjusted with an adjustment knob.

Importance of Determining Your Elliptical Stride Length By Height

Stride length plays an important role in achieving the desired workout performance. Comfort is the most highlighted importance of getting an optimal stride length on elliptical machines. The whole idea of low-impact workout equipment is that trainers wouldn’t have to subject their joints and bones to injuries.

Importance of Determining Your Elliptical Stride Length

If you’re on an elliptical with too short a stride length, it feels like you’re pedaling in an uncomfortable, short oval motion. Not only will it have almost no effect on burning calories, but it’ll also most likely leave you with sores on the feet and ankles.

On the other hand, working out on long stride-length ellipticals is even more uncomfortable. You can pull a muscle from all that straining, trying to keep up with the pace. Either way, for a better workout perfect, fitness trainers have to use an elliptical machine with a comfortable stride length.

When the elliptical is used in a home with varying heights and leg lengths, it’s best to buy an elliptical that caters to that range of heights. If you’re not on a budget, you can easily settle for a mid-range or expensive elliptical that comes with adjustable stride lengths. 

Alternatively, get an accurate measurement of the stride lengths of trainers using the elliptical. Then, when purchasing an elliptical, buy one with an average stride length that accommodates all users.

What is the best stride length, and How Stride Length Calculated?

There’s truly no universally calculated stride length that would magically be comfortable for everyone. Since stride distances are vital in determining the overall comfort on an elliptical, the stride length would be more personal than generalized. Experts and elliptical manufacturers reported, in the past, that the recommended average stride length is 20″, but this can sometimes be misleading.

Smaller and shorter trainers would struggle with comfort on a 20-inch stride-length elliptical.

Several parameters can determine stride length, but the height of the trainer seems to be the easiest and best way to determine it. For a quick calculation of the correct stride length, trainers can use this simple formula.

Height of trainer X 0.25 = Ideal stride length

First, you would have to measure your height in inches and then multiply it by 0.25. Most stride distances come in whole numbers, so you may need to round up your answer to the nearest whole number. This is the easiest and quickest way to know your preferred stride length.

Understandably, not everyone has a flair for mathematics, but there’s really no better way around this. Another more practical way to calculate a correct stride length is to measure your natural walking steps. 

Get a chalk or a temporary marker and mark a starting line on a level floor. From this start line, take ten steps forward. Take normal steps to ensure accurate measurements. On the tenth step, make a mark on the front of the right foot. Measure the distance between the start line and the last marked line. Divide the result by 10 to get your stride length.

Since walking steps can vary, it’s best to repeat this step several times to get a more accurate average. This gives you an accurate stride length for your height. 

Compact ellipticals generally come with shorter strides than commercial ellipticals. The smaller design would only be able to accommodate short strides. 

However, elliptical machine manufacturers design each model to cater to a range of individual stride distances. The stride length chart below gives a range of the optimal elliptical stride length for each height type. The chart is more like a guide to show you which stride length can offer more comfort with its corresponding height.

Optimal Elliptical Stride Length

Optimal Elliptical Machine Stride Length by height

Height RangeOptimal Stride Length Range
Under 5″13″ – 14″
5’0″ – 5’3″14″ – 16″
5’4″ – 5’6″15″ – 17″
5’7″ – 5’8″15″ – 17″
5’9″ – 5’10”15″ – 18″
5’11” – 6’2″16″ – 19″
Over 6’2″19″+

How To Find The Best Elliptical Stride Length For You

Since stride length is an important feature of ellipticals, it’s important fitness trainers get it right. There are a couple of ways to find and determine what stride length would be best for you.

What's your height

What’s your height?

The first and most important factor to consider when looking for an ideal stride length is the height of the trainer. Since taller trainers would naturally have longer strides, it’s easy to conclude that they should go with ellipticals offering longer stride lengths. 

There are average-height trainers who may have longer legs or even shorter legs. But going with the measured height of the trainer and making calculations with the stride length formula can at least help give an accurate stride length range.

To make it easier for you to find the best elliptical that suits your height, check these guides,



No matter the accuracy of the stride length calculations, it all falls back to how comfortable the trainer would be on the elliptical machine. The level of comfort would determine the training intervals and intensities. Ideally, the best stride length should offer maximum comfort, irrespective of what the calculated stride length measurements say.

Average walking stride distance

Average walking stride distance

Individuals have unique walking stride distances. This is a result of a combination of factors like height, weight, and posture. Knowing your normal stride distance will help you choose the right and comfortable one on an elliptical. 

A good way to get your accurate walking stride distance is to take a measurement of it. Take ten steps forward and try to get the average by dividing the distance from the start point to the end by ten.

Targeted muscles

Targeted muscles

A distantly related factor that should help determine the stride length is the intended leg muscles you want to work on. A shorter stride length can make a workout unbearably ineffective as you would stress and could possibly strain the hamstrings. 

A longer stride length would put the hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps at risk of strain. When on an elliptical with the right stride length, its low-impact action can actively engage the right muscles of the lower body.

Total number of users

Total number of users

Unless you are using the elliptical machine alone, you’ll need to take into consideration the stride length of other users. Commercial ellipticals are known to come with adjustable stride lengths so trainers can adjust to their level of comfort. 

Most compact ellipticals do not come with this adjustability feature. Since compact ellipticals have more use at home, users would have to buy one with a stride length that would accommodate the range of stride length in the house. The stride length chart is a good guide to knowing which stride length range is ideal for the family.


Elliptical stride length is the maximum distance foot pedals can attain during workouts. Stride lengths on ellipticals are designed to imitate fitness trainers’ natural walking and running strides. Since individuals have varying stride lengths, it’s always best to have a good estimate of stride length before buying an elliptical machine.

Elliptical trainer manufacturers also understand this difference and design the machines to accommodate a small range of stride lengths or offer additional features that allow trainers to adjust stride lengths manually or automatically. However, this extra feature increases the overall cost of the elliptical as they are seen on more expensive models than on their compact counterparts.

The best way to know the accurate stride length of a trainer is to measure it. It can be done quickly using a formula or practically by measuring the distance between ten complete walking steps. Results may not be perfect, but they’ll give a close estimate of the ideal stride length a trainer should look out for when buying an elliptical.

Matthew Fletcher

Matthew Fletcher

Matthew is a fully qualified fitness trainer specializing in weight management and strength training. He is a certified trainer with more than 15 years of training experience. He uses his technical know-how's with his passion for fitness to provide thoughtful curation of objective exercise equipment reviews. His insightful reviews will help you find the best fitness product for the price.

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