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These are two very popular elliptical-type machines that have significant advantages over a standard elliptical trainer.
But what about when you pit them against each other?
How do they compare?
And which is best for you?
Well, this really depends on what you’re looking for.
This post will give you a rundown of the main differences between them so hopefully you can find the best fit for your needs.
Freestrider vs Max Trainer: Price
When it comes to affordability, the Max Trainer has a slight advantage right now.
As of this writing, there are 3 different Max Trainer models. You can buy them starting around $1499 with Free Shipping here. The models vary by console, length of built-in workouts and resistance levels.
They all however carry the famous Max Trainer design that was built to burn more calories in less time than a standard elliptical trainer.
The Freestrider comes in a bit higher. There are currently 2 different models starting around $1899 with Free Shipping here. The models vary by console size and incline/decline options.
However the main design – the completely adaptable stride length of up to 32 inches that makes the Freestrider so popular – is the same for all models.
Max Trainer vs Freestrider: Lower Body Motion
This is where you see one of the biggest differences between these two machines.
The Nordictrack Freestrider offers you more of an elliptical “running” pathway. The main difference is that, because it’s not a crank-connected pedal, you’re not locked in to a set elliptical stride.
So you can do short, stair-climbing strides, longer running strides or even longer hurdling strides. This gives you a lot of flexibility in your workout routine. You can basically use it as 3-machines-in-1.
This also makes it a great elliptical machine for multiple-user families – since everyone can choose a stride length that feels most comfortable for them.
The Max Trainer is called an elliptical trainer and it may look like one. But when it comes to the lower body motion, it’s more of a stair-stepper. It doesn’t give you a running motion as you get with the Freestride trainer or an elliptical.
You also don’t have the flexibility to set your stride, go forward and backwards etc on this machine like you do with the Freestrider.
However you do still get the upper body moving arm bars like an elliptical trainer. So it’s more like a hybrid elliptical-stair climber.
Freestride Trainer or Max: Calories Burned
The Max Trainer has a slight advantage here – mainly because Bowflex has actually done the tests to prove that you can burn 2.5 times more calories on the Max than on a stair climber, elliptical or treadmill.
Max trial users actually burned up to 600 calories in 30 minutes, which is incredible.
And Bowflex is savvy enough to advertise this.
This doesn’t mean you can’t burn more calories on a Freestrider than on an elliptical. In fact you probably can (because you’re not getting used to one set stride – and you’re always challenging your body).
But so far Nordictrack is not really pushing the “More Calories Burned” advantage yet. They might in the future.
But currently Bowflex is way ahead of them – with several lab tests done already to be able to make the claim of more calories burned.
Basically I think this is more a case of better marketing on the part of Bowflex than any actual machine difference.
It’s also interesting to note that, according to the manufacturer, it was designed specifically to help you burn more calories in less time with special HIIT training workouts.
So if you want the assurance that you’ll burn more calories, faster, then the Max has the clear advantage here.
Entertainment and Streaming
You have different options across different models of either the Freestrider or Max Trainer. So it’s hard to compare this unless you’re comparing model to model.
However in general, most Max Trainer models and all Freestrider models have full-color, HD touch-screen consoles – which is pretty cool.
Both the Max Trainer and the Freestrider offer streaming programs and world trail workouts – in different forms.
Nordictrack offers the iFit streaming option on their Freestride Trainers. This is a bit more advanced than the Bowflex option since it’s been around longer.
You can run trails all over the world and watch the scenery pass you by in the screen. The elliptical will incline (or decline) to match the terrain, which is pretty cool.
You can also stream fitness classes to your machine. You can even take live fitness classes in real time where the trainer can control your machine for you (you can override this if you wish).
The Bowflex Max Trainer offers JRNY streaming. You can run world trails and also get customized workouts with this option.
You can also stream fitness classes to your machine. However as of this writing there are no live classes.
One thing the higher-end Max Trainer models have is – if you get the full paid subscription to JRNY – you an also watch your Netflix, Disney Plus or Amazon Prime shows through the console.
That’s pretty cool. But note that you will need the full paid version of JRNY to do this – you can’t do it with the free version.
There are paid and free versions of both iFit and JRNY. The free versions include several built-in workouts and you don’t need the paid version of iFit or JRNY to use any of these machines.
Freestride Trainer vs Max Trainer – Size
While both machines are smaller than a regular elliptical trainer, the Bowflex Max has the slight advantage here.
It has an average footprint of 49 x 30 inches.
Compare this to the average Freestrider footprint which runs about 58.5 x 29.5 inches and you’ll see that the Max Trainer is just a bit more compact than the Freestride trainer.
So the Max trainer might work better for smaller workout spaces like condos or apartments.
So what’s the bottom line in the Freestrider vs Max Trainer debate?
Well, the Freestrider and the Max Trainer are both ultra-low impact, unique fitness machines that can help you burn more calories than a standard elliptical.
The Freestrider gives you more of an elliptical “running-type” motion whereas the Max trainer offers more of a stair-climbing experience.
The Freestrider gives you a lot more variety in terms of working out – up-and down motion, jogging, running, backwards, forwards, incline and even decline.
However the Bowflex Max trainer does come in at a more affordable price and it’s more compact. Plus, it has a proven track record when it comes to burning more calories.
So while both machines have their own benefits, it really comes down to what’s most important to you.
Want to learn more? Check out the links below to compare models.