My journey to discover the best exercise machine for lower back pain began when I became one of the 80% of Americans who experience this issue.
After several years of pain and testing different machines I am confident that the Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine is the best solution to your lower back issue.
The logic behind this choice is simple. As an elliptical trainer it offers a low impact workout. This prevents additional stress being placed on your lower back.
It also gives you resistance controls and will allow you to work on a variety of muscle groups; helping to ensure your overall fitness improves.
Table of Contents
- 1 The Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine – Overall Winner
- 2 The Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine – Best For Lower Back Workouts
- 3 Exerpeutic Gold 500 – Best For Ease Of Set-Up With Back Pain
- 4 Nautilus T616 Treadmill – Best For beginners With Low Back Pain
- 5 Summing It Up
The Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine – Overall Winner
- 7 Preset programs: 6 profile, 1 quick start
- High speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel for a smooth and quiet workout
- adjustable straps to help select different workouts
- Color touchscreen to help you understand your progress
- Very smooth when in use
- Ergonomically placed grip heart rate monitors
The Advantages of the A40
It doesn’t matter how tall or short you are, this machine can be quickly and easily adjusted to suit your needs.
This eliminates the issue with uncomfortable or counter productive workouts as you try to fit the stride length of the machine.
- Resistance Levels
With 7 Preset programs you are bound to be able to find the right one for your needs. You can even increase it slowly as you workout to really push yourself and feel like you are getting somewhere.
The resistance moves across a 20 pound band. This illustrates just how small the change is between levels and how easily you’ll be able to improve.
The A40 comes with a chest monitor to allow you to monitor your heart rate. This is connected to the machine which has several inbuilt apps and can be connected to the web.
The result is a virtually limitless amount of workout routines and the ability to easily monitor and record your progress every time you exercise.
Even the best exercise machine for lower back pain has some issues that could be improved on.
- The Flywheel Weight
The flywheel is just 20 pounds. This is relatively light and may not fill the needs of all users. It is also worth noting than heavier people may find that the stride movement is not as strong as they hoped.
Although this is a great machine it is unlikely to give you as good as workout as the professional trainers in your gym.
- Stride Length Issues
It is fantastic that this machine offers the ability to change your stride length. Unfortunately there are still a few parts of this process which need clarifying.
In short it can feel unnatural to switch between stride lengths; especially when mid-exercise. You may find the machine is simply left on one setting.
The Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine – Best For Lower Back Workouts
- 29 workout programs including 12 profiles.
- LCD display includes media shelf, MP3 port, USB charging point and even an adjustable fan.
- Syncs with a large number of apps.
- Weighted flywheel & inertia drive allow for fast starting and a smooth approach to your workout.
- Small footprint _ 28.2” x 70.1” with a height of 63.2”
Advantages of the Schwinn 470
- Known Quality
Schwinn is one of the biggest and best known names in the industry. Purchasing the 470 means you are guaranteed quality and durability.
It is capable of taking 300 pounds and is extremely sturdy.
This is backed up with the comprehensive lifetime warranty
- Computer Functions
For a reasonable price you will get one of the best supporting computers on the market. There are 2 backlit screens with 29 programs included.
You can select from 12 workout options, 9 heart rate ones and several more personalized ones.
It also allows you to track your progress either on screen or through the MyFitnessPal app.
- Automated Settings
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many settings you have, you just can’t easily change them while you’re using the machine.
The 470 gets round this issue by having quick keys. You can increase the intensity or incline at the touch of a button; a very attractive and useful feature.
Disadvantages Of Schwinn 470
There are several downsides which are why this was not the best overall option.
- The Incline
The incline adjustment is just 10°. That is not really enough for anyone other than a beginner. As you’re investing in this machine for a long term boost in fitness without aggravating your lower back pain this is simply not good enough.
Less incline means you’ll be unable to target specific muscle groups in the way you might like.
- The Heart Monitor
Most machines offer to monitor your heart rate. This is particularly important in cardio or if you are attempting to stay in the fat burning zone.
Unfortunately the 470 does not include a chest monitor; which is disappointing considering the funds you are spending on the machine.
It is possible to hold the central grips for 10 seconds to get your heart rate reading. But, this is likely to break your stride pattern.
- Stride Length
Although in many cases the stride length is never adjusted it is a useful feature to be included.
However, this is not the case on the 470; it is simply not possible to adjust your stride length. This can make it difficult to for tall or short users. In fact you’ll struggle if you want to change stride length mid exercise!
Exerpeutic Gold 500 – Best For Ease Of Set-Up With Back Pain
- Foldable which makes it easy to store
- Supports up to 400 pounds
- Compact: 39” x 26.4” and just 48.4” high
- Powder coated steel frame – built to last
- Quiet Operation thanks to balanced flywheel and V-belt
- Leg stabilizers
Advantages Of The 500
This is a great machine for anyone with limited space who wants to get into shape again. With a simple lever and push the bike folds in half; much like an ironing board.
This is great for storage and ease of access when you want to use it.
The materials it is made from and the stabilizers ensure it can handle large weights and people of heights between 5’1” and 6’5”!
The transportation wheels also make it easy to maneuver when required.
- Excellent Computer Functions
The computer is built into the large central display. This makes it easy to read while exercising.
It displays the calories you’ve burned, distance, time, speed and even your pulse.
You can even monitor your heart rate through the grip sensors. This should give you all the info you need as you pedal vigorously away.
- Good Warranty Cover
You can generally tell the quality of a product by the warranty the manufacturer is prepared to give with it.
The Gold 500 is acceptable on this front. The frame is covered for 1 year while the other components are given just 90 days.
You’ll also be pleased to learn that the bike can be assembled in just 4 steps; making it a one person, less than 10 minutes job.
Disadvantages of The Gold 500
- App Connectivity
The console is easy to read and gives the same sort of features that other exercise bikes give for the equivalent investment.
But, it would be much better if it had inbuilt apps or could be connected to the internet. This would make the training that much harder and the rewards significantly sweeter.
It is difficult to find many faults with this bike; it is exceptionally well made. However at in excess of 50 pounds it is not as mobile as it could be.
Considering it is foldable this is an issue which may cause a problem when you are trying to position the bike to start exercising.
Nautilus T616 Treadmill – Best For beginners With Low Back Pain
- Large crown rollers complement a 3 CHP motor and a spacious running area to make this a great machine for any beginner.
- Foldable – saving space.
- Patented StrikeZone cushioning system to reduce impact when running.
- Wide range of programs and app links.
- Appeals to a wide range of people.
Advantages of Nautilus T616
- Program Variety
There are 26 different programs on this treadmill. These include 3 interval routines, 6 training, 5 weight controls, 4 for your heart, 3 quick goals, 1 manual and 4 custom options.
This means you’ll have every setting you need to get you started and keep you training; without injuring your back any further.
- Impressive Console
The console is well laid out and connects you with MyFitnessPal app or the Nautilus v ersion via BlueTooth. These will help you to track your performance and study your workout data.
There is also an audio system built in and quick access to any of the other workout programs; should you become bored with your current routine.
- 15% incline
The machine gives you a respectable 15% incline to ensure your workout is as challenging as it needs to be.
This will also offer you the opportunity to target specific muscle groups.
Disadvantages of the Nautilus T616
- Limited Warranty
It is normal for the bigger and better established brands to offer lifetime warranties on their equipment.
Unfortunately this is not the case on this one. The frame and motor have a 10 year warranty while the electric parts have 2 years and labour is only covered for 1.
- Weight Limit
The maximum weight supported by this treadmill is 300 pounds. This seems a little low in comparison to what other mid range machines offer.
A limit of 350 to 400 pounds is more acceptable.
Summing It Up
Losing weight and staying in shape will help with lower back pain. But you need to be able to do this without experiencing more pain.
That’s why it is so important to select a piece of equipment that minimizes impact on your body.
All of these machines have potential and could be what you need. But the Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine has the best range of facilities without any impact on your joints. This makes it the best option to start your new exercise program and overcome your lower back pain.