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ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer Review

ProForm Cardio HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Elliptical Trainer is built to maximize a user’s exercise in minimal time. HIIT is currently one of the most popular trends when it comes to fitness and entices people who don’t have much time to exercise and want to make most of the available time.

The aim of HIIT is just to offer maximum effort for a stipulated time period followed by a short break for recovery and then repeat. ProForm Elliptical Trainer does this job the best by combining stepper and elliptical motions and thus provides a total body workout without exerting excessive stress on joints while burning significant amount of calories and keeping users’ heart rate up and building strength during the entire course of workout.

Published: February 19, 2019.

proform cardio hiit elliptical trainer 1

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer is a vertical elliptical trainer that provides a very steep elliptical pattern with 5” horizontal path and 10” vertical path on every step. This machine has been built to offer HIIT workouts for maximum muscle activation and calorie burn. It’s also very similar to the popular Bowflex line by Max Trainers, especially from the price point of view.
ProForm Elliptical Trainer helps users burn 4 times more calories than that with a treadmill in the same amount of time. It does this by adding upper as well as lower body movement allowing users to activate their hamstrings, calves, glutes, quads, biceps and triceps, everything in a single movement.

ProForm comes from the same makers of the famous NordicTrack ellipticals and is known to manufacture higher performance machines at a reasonable price. This makes ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer particularly appealing. It also offers a quality exercise combined with motivational technology.

Features of ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

Offers Vertical Elliptical Path for HIIT Training

ProForm Elliptical Trainer offers a steep elliptical and so, activates more muscle groups in both upper and lower body of the user. The HIIT workouts boost metabolism and keep making user’s body to burn more fat for longer after the user steps off the machine. & the beauty of the elliptical machine is that it has minimal impact on the user’s leg joints. The design of ProForm Elliptical Trainer is slightly more up and down than the more circular design of the BowFlex Max Trainers.


ProForm Elliptical Trainer is built on a steel frame. All the steel parts have a scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant powder coating. However, the guards of the drive elements are built of hard plastic, but they don’t have any role to play in the sturdiness of the machine.


ProForm Elliptical Trainer features two sets of handlebars – mobile and fixed. Pulse sensors are integrated in the fixed bars; thus users can see your heart rate on the console which provides users many HR related applications.
The mobile handlebars sport an ergonomic multi-grip design. Since they are interconnected with pedals, they move as long as pedals move and cannot move or stop independently. If users don’t want to move their arms during the exercise, they can just hold on to the fixed handlebars.
With the multifunctional handlebars, users can add resistance to the motion of their upper body with boxing-like action. It will enable users to feel the burn in their shoulders, arms, core and back with each movement.

Cushioned Pedals

ProForm Elliptical Trainer offers smooth-moving oversized cushioned pedals thus offering users zero-impact stride and comfort, enhanced endurance, maximum efficiency and no slipping of feet. Pedals are made of heavy-duty PVC material and covered with Reflex cushioning that comforts users’ back and knees. But they don’t integrate any articulation or suspension. But their gel cushioning lowers the workout impact on the ankles.

proform cardio hiit elliptical trainer foot rest

Pedaling motion is more like a stepper because it has a 10” vertical span but feels different too because it also has a 5” horizontal motion. Thus the machine offers a natural stepping motion that concentrates on users’ thighs, glutes, calve and lower core muscles. On the other hand, the mobile arms of the machine offer a light to medium workout for a variety of upper body muscles, based on users’ grip.

Silent Magnetic Resistance Technology

The smooth moving action of the flywheels of ProForm Elliptical Trainer features Silent Magnetic Resistance Technology which makes the HIIT Trainer quiet and smooth.

Size and Portability

In addition to offering extremely efficient HIIT workouts, the ProForm Elliptical Trainer occupies much less space than a standard elliptical. It’s equipped with transport wheels; thus, it can be taken out of the way when not in use and can be moved to another room if needed. This machine has been found to work well for smaller homes and offices.

Excellent Stability

The base bars of the machine come with rubberized, adjustable stabilizers; thus, it’s not needed to keep it on a mat. These stabilizers offer excellent stability regardless of floor’s irregularities.

Weight of the Machine

ProForm Elliptical Trainer is around 180 lbs., that is 37 lbs. more than the Bowflex Max Trainers. But this is in fact advantageous since the machine will be quite stable during use.


The console of ProForm Elliptical Trainer comes with a 7” LCD display with blue LED backlight and is slightly more than just a mid-range one. Firstly, it has 32 pre-loaded workout applications, classified in 4 categories: Columns, Intensity, Calories and Peaks. Each application is segment-based. When users select a program, the duration of the workout as well as approximate calorie amount that users will burn will be displayed on the console. Also, users will be instructed to increase or reduce their pedaling speed during the workout based on the current segment of the workout.

proform cardio hiit elliptical trainer console

The display shows an impressive number of workout stats including calories, calories per hour, vertical distance, distance (miles or km), speed, RPM, pulse and chosen resistance level. If an onboard workout is selected, its segment stats will be seen on the screen and the segment in use will flash. A MyTrail function is also enabled, which shows distance traveled as a ¼ miles track; this is excellent if users are training for an athletic competition.

Together with onboard workouts, users can use iFit workouts too (described below).

ProForm Elliptical Trainer is equipped with only a 7” backlit display. If users are in search of a more advanced 10” color touchscreen straight on their machine, they must take a look at the ProForm SMART HIIT Trainer Pro.

32 Workout Apps, 24 Resistance Levels and Drive System

This is the feature where the ProForm Elliptical Trainer scores over the Bowflex M3 Max Trainer because the latter has only 2 workout programs and 8 resistance levels.

Users should understand that since ProForm Elliptical Trainer is a stepper-elliptical combination, it has no incline system. Thus, users can adjust the only the resistance on the pedals but not the pedaling angle or elliptical motion. The machine features a motor-assisted, magnetic resistance system, which means that it should be connected to a power circuit so as to offer resistance on the pedals. The machine comes with an adapter which connects to the system just above its front base. The adapter is American-type designed for a 110-120V power circuit.

Resistance can be adjusted manually from the console or if users choose to exercise with one of the on-board apps, resistance will be automatically changed.

Resistance system contains a system of magnets located one on either side of the unit. As users adjust resistance, the internal servo motor will “instruct” the magnets to alter their positioning in accordance with the flywheels, reducing or increasing resistance. The change in the positioning can be actually seen.

Out of the 24 resistance levels, the first few deliver light workout, ideal for warm-ups or recovery training, whereas the top 22-24 resistance levels offer a more demanding workout, inducing a steep climb, ideal for intense cardio, strength, intervals or weight loss.

Regarding the drive system, the ProForm Elliptical Trainer sports numerous pulleys as well as heavy duty belts, together with a flywheel tandem. Every flywheel is inertia-enhanced and steel-made having 28 lbs. (12.7 kg) weight and delivers a steady, smooth pedaling motion and a consistent momentum. Because the magnets and flywheels don’t touch, the machine is virtually silent (though some users have complained that it makes a squeaking sound).

proform cardio hiit elliptical trainer quick resistance

28 Lb. Flywheel

ProForm Elliptical Trainer has its flywheels only 2 lbs. less weight than the elder sibling – the ProForm SMART HIIT Trainer Pro. A weightier flywheel indicates that a user will experience a more natural, smoother feeling of elliptical motion. The 28 lb. inertia-enhance flywheel of ProForm Elliptical Trainer with silent magnetic resistance (SMR) technology makes the movement of the machine very quiet.

iFit Coach Ready

Just like NordicTrack, ProForm too features their innovative iFit Coach (formerly iFit Live) program that enables the user to look through workout programs designed by professional trainers. Users get the freedom to choose from among routes filmed in various global locations and watch their progress on a color screen which is just in front of them. They can also track their workouts and progress using their online account.

iFit Coach being linked to Google Maps allows users to form their custom courses that will make the machine change resistance levels as users “travel” up and down the hills.

The ProForm Elliptical Trainer is Bluetooth Smart supported; hence it can link wirelessly to users’ smart devices so that users can view the routes as well as stats.

Up to four different user profiles can be added on a single ProForm Elliptical Trainer machine so that 4 people in a family or group can use the machine to track their own stats.

The only downside of the iFit Live should also be mentioned and it’s that users have to pay an ongoing yearly subscription. However, the first year of iFit Membership is free with ProForm Elliptical Trainer.

Easy to Operate

The onboard programs have their own keys per category. If users will use manual mode, they can adjust resistance from +/- keys or quick keys (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24). The sound system and fan have their own buttons above the console. Also, if users will use an iFit workout on their phone or tablet, they will use the iFit interface straight on their device.


The core of the machine comes readily assembled and users don’t need to assemble the technical parts, like motor, resistance mechanism, pulleys etc. They have to assemble the base bars, pedals, console, fixed handlebars and mobile handlebars, which, according to some users, take more than an hour and require professional help. The package supplies two Allen wrenches; but users will also need their own Phillips screwdriver for fitting some of the bolts if they do it on their own. The package also supplies a well-written manual.

Other Non-Fitness Features

ProForm Elliptical Trainer has a number of other cool features including integrated tablet holder (on top of the console, adjustable to accommodate any tablet), iPod compatible audio (compatible with most smartphones, MP3 and tablets) and 2 speakers, EKG grip pulse heart rate monitor, CoolAire workout fan, adjustable leveling feet, water bottle holder, commercial-grade steel construction and 325 lb. weight capacity. Wearable tech gear, like fitness tracking armbands, can be purchased separately.


There is no much maintenance. Internal system is pre-lubricated. All users have to do is to dust the machine with a damp cloth, check the fittings from time to time and keep liquids away from the console since it’s not waterproof.


ProForm Elliptical Trainer comes with lifetime warranty for frame, 3 year for parts and 1 year for labor. But to avail this warranty, users should register their machine with proformservice.com.

Money-back Guarantee

ProForm Elliptical Trainer also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee

Pros of ProForm Elliptical Trainer

- 350 lbs. weight capacity

- Occupies less space than standard home cardio trainer with its 66” L x 29.5” W x 39” H dimensions

- Activates major muscle groups across the body. Apart from its resistance training, the machine supports a much higher speed of calorie burn as compared to a regular treadmill merely by adding upper body movement

- 32 workout apps developed by a certified personal trainer can instruct users during high intensity interval training (that combines aerobic and anaerobic workout) and traditional aerobic exercises.

- 24 resistance levels from a 28 lb. flywheel offer a great range of ability levels. One-touch controls make it easy to adjust tension during exercise and preset programs are able to control resistance

- Users can track their progress on a 7” display together with stats for time, distance, speed and calories burned

- ProForm Elliptical Trainer can be used with an iFit membership when combined with users’ own tablet computer. The console features a secure tablet ledge

- For comfortable low-impact motion, ProForm Elliptical Trainer is equipped with pedals with generous cushions

- Pedals are oversized because of which users can reposition their feet and avoid discomfort

- Handlebars on ProForm Elliptical Trainer move with resistance and allow uses to take various grip positions to vary training effects.

- ProForm Elliptical Trainer includes speakers for MP3 players and smartphones

- HR chest strap compatible

- A number of extra features such as water bottle holder, two-speed fan and a secure tablet holder

- Low maintenance

- Very competitive warranty package and a 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons of ProForm Elliptical Trainer

- The classic 7” display of ProForm Elliptical Trainer is neat but is ordinary as compared to the 10” touchscreen display of the HIIT Trainer Pro

- HR chest strap not included

- Pedals have no integrated suspensions; thus the machine may not be suitable to users who need recovery training because of knee or ankle surgery

- Assembly of ProForm Elliptical Trainer is quite difficult and time-consuming and users may have to take professional help

- Some users have complained that construction quality is poor and customer service is substandard

ProForm Elliptical Trainer Vs. Bowflex Max Trainer M3

bowflex max trainer m3 cardioThe main competitor of ProForm Elliptical Trainer is Bowflex Max Trainer M3. Both of them provide extremely effective HIIT exercises with a vertical elliptical motion.

ProForm Elliptical Trainer offers iFit Live to provide more visually inspiring workouts all though global settings or through its association with Google Maps.

On the other hand, Bowflex Max Trainer has its own exercise tracking program together with a free Max Trainer App that can be connected to users’ current fitness apps such as MapMyFitness. The major difference here is cost. iFit Live needs an yearly subscription whereas the Bowflex program is free.

The other prominent difference in these two machines is the number of programs. Here the ProForm Elliptical Trainer scores over the Bowflex with a wider range of exercise options.

Both these brands have higher-end siblings due to which it’s easier to figure out differences. E.g. the ProForm SMART HIIT Trainer Pro comes with an appealing 10” HD Touchscreen for lower price than both the M6 and M8 models by Bowflex. However, with these entry level choices, supposedly ProForm Elliptical Trainer and Bowflex M3 are set quite evenly.

For more information about this unit and his larger brother, check Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Cardio Machine and Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Amazon links (links open in the new windows).

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer vs. ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer Pro

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer and ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer Pro are two very similar vertical elliptical trainers, sharing the same design philosophy. But, they also differ in few very important details, shown in the following table:

Model ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer Pro
Photo proform cardio hiit elliptical trainer table proform cardio hiit elliptical trainer pro table
iFit Coach Ready Yes Yes
Console Display 7 inches, LED Backlit 10 inches, Smart HD Touchscreen
Programs 32 34
Heart Rate Monitor EKG Grip Pulse Sensor, Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor Ready (but not included) EKG Grip Pulse Sensor, Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitor
Flywheel 28 pounds 30 pounds
Resistance Levels 24 26
Maximum User Weight 350 pounds 350 pounds
Elliptical Path 10 inches vertical, 5 inches horizontal 10 inches vertical, 5 inches horizontal
Warranty Lifetime Frame, 3-Year Parts, 1-Year Labor Lifetime Frame, 5-Year Parts, 2-Year Labor
Amazon Link ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer Pro

Note: Amazon links open in the new windows, feel free to check them for the most up-to-date offers and prices.

When compared with ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer, ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer Pro features larger and better display, larger and heavier flywheel, more workout programs and resistance levels, better warranty terms, and it comes with included chest strap heart rate monitor.

Also, it costs more - you win some, you lose some :)

Bottom Line

ProForm Elliptical Trainer is certainly highly efficient, easy to use, loaded with programs and features, low-impact and reasonably priced elliptical trainer, thus it’s a very reasonable buy for cardio training, especially for individuals who are looking for short, but intense low-impact workouts.

Although its elder brother the HIIT Trainer Pro has a longer warranty and more enticing electronics, it’s only a small step ahead when it comes to performance potential.

For more reviews and recommendations, check ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer Amazon link (link opens in the new window).

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