June 22, 2020 4 min read

Get the most out of your next workout. In this article we're going to discuss the cardio machines that burn the most calories in a one hour period.

Treadmill

Calories burned per hour: 712 (running at a rate of 10km per hour with a healthy BMI)

Treadmills are a staple of most gyms and, due to their growing affordability, have even become commonplace in peoples’ homes. As well as burning calories, treadmills are great for strengthening your calves, quads, and glutes. Another upside to treadmills is that they’re accessible – there’s not much of a learning curve (if you can walk, you can run!), though we do recommend you conduct a little research into running with good form.

We must also mention the Air Runner style treadmills that have recently entered onto the market. These treadmills are motorless and solely powered by the human body. They provide an excellent, intense workout because of the energy required to move the treadmill’s belt. Consider an Air Runner if you'd like to take your treadmill workout to the next level.

Summary:

The treadmill stands out when it comes to cardio – with an hour long run burning more than 700 calories. Running is also a great way to strengthen the muscles in your legs and one of the most affordable forms of aerobic exercise.

If you’d like to boost your workout, consider an Air Runner treadmill, which is powered by the movement of your body.

Bike/indoor bike

Calories burned per hour: 622 cycling at a moderate pace (healthy BMI)

According to Better Health, there are a number of benefits to cycling. Many cyclists opt for the bike because of the low impact the exercise has on your joints – cycling is ideal for those that want to reduce the pressure on their knees due to pre-existing conditions or sensitivities. Cycling is also incredibly accessible: road and mountain bikes are affordable and stationary bikes are present at nearly every gym. Lastly, cycling is great not just for your cardio, but also for strengthening your legs. Regular sessions on the bike will help build your quads, hamstrings, and parts of your calves.

Summary: 

Cycling is a great way to keep fit – with an hour long cycle burning more than 600 calories. On top of that, cycling is low impact on your knees, easily accessible, and an efficient way to build muscles in your legs.

Elliptical

Calories burned per hour: 800 (going at a fast pace, with a healthy BMI)

Ellipticals are a difficult one. A study by Houston State University concluded that many machines have a tendency to overestimate the number of calories burned per hour. However, it is undeniable that an hour of pushing hard on an elliptical machine will have you panting for air and soaked in sweat.

One thing that we love about ellipticals is that they are low impact on your joints – especially your hips and your knees. The ski poles present on most machines also allow you to work your arms at the same time as your legs, providing a strong full body workout.

Summary:

Ellipticals are another great way to burn calories – with a one hour workout potentially burning up to 800. There’s also the added benefit that elliptical machines are low impact and allow you to work your arms at the same time – providing a full body pump.

Rowing machine

Calories burned per hour: 622 (at a moderate pace with a healthy BMI)

Rowing machines are an excellent way to burn calories. One study, by Hallym Medical University in Korea, found that regularly working out on a rowing machine can positively impact both muscle composition and fat composition (bringing muscle up, and pushing fat down). The emphasis on your upper body means that rowing is low impact on your hips and knees – which is a fantastic way to keep fit if you’re healing from an injury. Rowing is great for your lower back: rowing regularly will help you build your traps and your lower back.

Summary:

Working out on a rowing machine for one hour can burn up to 622 calories. Rowing is a great way to keep active while avoiding injuries to your lower body. Plus, there’s the added benefit that you will b build your traps and lower back.

Little Bloke Wildcard: The SkiErg

Calories burned per hour: 402 (at a moderate pace with a healthy BMI)

This machine is not as well known as the gym staples mentioned above, but is a fantastic addition to any home setup. The SkiErg, which you can see a picture of here, is essentially an upright rowing machine.

The SkiErg requires you to generate force down through your arms, core, hips and legs. This results in a high calorie, muscle-building workout – it’s even been claimed that the SkiErg can hit your lats, triceps, abdominals, pecs, biceps, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and lower back all at once. That’s a lot of muscles!

Summary:

The SkiErg is a great addition to any gym. This niche device helps build cardiovascular endurance at the same time as strength.

Conclusion

Based on our calculations, the elliptical machine comes out on top – burning over 800 calories per hour. However, treadmills were a close second and both cycling/rowing are still a great way to work up a sweat. Different machines work different muscle groups, so be sure to tailor your workouts to your individual goals.

Note: all calculations provided by Harvard University