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J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2004 Jun;44(2):141-6.

Physiological changes following a 12 week gym based stair-climbing, elliptical trainer and treadmill running program in females.

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  • 1Department of Physology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.



Despite the growing popularity in recent years of the elliptical trainer aerobic exercise modality the physiological changes induced following a training program using elliptical trainers remains unknown. The present study investigated the metabolic and cardiorespiratory improvements following a 12-week aerobic training program using elliptical trainer, treadmill or stair-climbing modalities.


Twenty-two moderately active females (28.6 +/- 5.3 y, 1.65 +/- 0.05 m) were randomly assigned to treadmill running (n=7), elliptical trainer (n=8) or stair-climber (n=7) groups and trained 3 days x week(-1) initially at 70-80% of maximum heart rate (HRmax) for 30 min, progressing to 80-90% HRmax for 40 min. Subjects performed incremental exercise to volitional exhaustion using an electronically loaded cycle ergometer before and upon completion of the program. In addition, subjects performed sub-maximal fixed load tests at 0, 4, 8 and 12 weeks, using ergometers specific to their exercise group.


No significant inter-group differences were recorded for pre-training VO2max or VEmax. Significant (p<0.05) post-training increases in cycling VO2max and VEmax were observed for treadmill (mean +/- SEM, 40.7 +/- 2.2 vs 43.4 +/- 2.6 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1) and 82.9 +/- 5.1 vs 90.2 +/- 6.4 l x min(-1)), elliptical trainer (36.9 +/- 2.5 vs 39.6 +/- 2.4 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1) and 86.8 +/- 2.3 vs 92.5 +/- 4.1 l x min(-1)) and stair-climber (37.4 +/- 2.9 vs 39.2 +/- 3.1 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1) and 95.9 +/- 5.8 vs 97.4 +/- 5.8 l x min(-1)) modalities, however, the increases were not significantly different between groups. For all groups, sub-maximal HR significantly decreased from week 0 to 4, and from week 4 to 8.


In moderately active females similar physiological improvements were observed using stair-climber, elliptical trainer and treadmill running when training volume and intensity were equivalent.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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