ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer
|ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer|
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Parts: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
The Cardio HIIT trainer is one of the newest products released by ProForm, in the second part of 2016. This fitness machine combines the horizontal motion of an elliptical trainer, with the vertical motion of a stepper. It’s actually an elliptical-stepper hybrid.
Before we proceed to the presentation of the features and functions of this fitness machine, there’s one important aspect to be mentioned. This is the item model number PFEL09915, the lighter model, not the Pro one. But nonetheless, it’s a machine close to commercial specs, with a high user capacity, automatic resistance and a highly performant console.
Technical Details and Specifications
- Assembled dimensions: 39″L x 29.25″W x 66.7″H (99L x 74W x 169H cm)
- Assembled weight: 180 lbs (81.6 kg kg)
- Flywheel weight: 28 lbs (12.7 kg)
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs (158.7 kg)
- Elliptical path: 10″ (25.4 cm) vertical, 5″ (12.7 cm) horizontal
- Pedals: Cushioned
- Handlebars: Mobile and fixed (with pulse sensors)
- Resistance: Magnetic, motor assisted, 24 levels
- Console: 32 workout programs, iFit ready
- Amenities: Bottle/accessory holder, tablet holder, speakers, cooling fan
- Warranty: Frame lifetime / Parts 3 years / Labor 1 year
Frame construction and parts
One of the main advantages of the ProForm Cardio HIIT trainer over an elliptical machine such as the SOLE E55 or NordicTrack C 7.5 is that it takes half the space, lengthwise. Its drive system has a vertical arrangement, therefore the frame only takes 39″L x 29.25″W (99 x 74 cm) of floor space. Even though it’s a heavy-duty machine, it can still fit in a smaller room or apartment.
Despite its small footprint though, it’s a rather heavy trainer; it weighs approx 180 lbs (81 kg) which means it requires two people for receiving the package, unboxing and assembly. But on the other hand, this weight provides a lot of stability to the machine. In other words, even if you’re close to its maximum weight limit, and you engage in a more demanding workout, its position should remain firm, without wobbling or tipping over. On top of that its base bars are equipped with adjustable, rubberized stabilizers, therefore, it’s not necessary to place it on a mat. The foot stabilizers provide excellent stability themselves even if the floor has irregularities. The front ends of the base tubes also integrate transport wheels, thus the relocation of the assembled machine can be done with ease. By leaning it forward on its wheels, you will basically handle less than 1/2 of its total weight.
Needless to say this ProForm elliptical trainer is built on a steel frame. All its steel parts feature a corrosion-resistant and scratch-resistant powder coating. The guards of the drive elements are made of hard plastic though, however they don’t play any role in the machine’s overall sturdiness.
The pedals provided don’t have any suspension or articulation. However their surface features gel cushioning, to alleviate the workout impact on the ankles and also deliver superior adherence. They’re made of heavy-duty PVC material, able to withstand users up to 350 lbs (158 kg). They’re large enough to accommodate sports shoes of all sizes.
The pedal step-up height, in other words the pedals’ closest point to the floor, is approx. 9″ (23 cm). The vertical elliptical path has a length of 10″ (25.4 cm), so the machine’s maximum elevation is approx. 20″ (51 cm). Therefore, add at least 25″ to your own height and compare the result with the ceiling height where you’ll be using the trainer, to avoid any issues.
Last but not least, this ProForm HIIT trainer features two set of handlebars: fixed and mobile. The fixed bars integrate pulse sensors, thus the console can track your heart rate and provide several HR related applications. The mobile handlebars fashion a multi-grip, ergonomic design. Like for most elliptical trainers, the mobile bars continue to move for as long the pedals are in motion, as they’re inter-connected. They cannot move or become stationary independently from the pedals. However, if you don’t want to move your arms during your workout, you can simply hold on to the non-moving handlebars.
Resistance and drive
First of all, since it’s an elliptical-stepper combo, this fitness machine does not have an incline system. Therefore, you can only adjust the resistance on the pedals, but not the elliptical motion or the pedaling angle. The resistance system is magnetic, motor-assisted. This means the machine must be connected to a power circuit in order to provide resistance on the pedals. An adapter is provided with the system, and connects to the machine just above its front base. It’s an American-type adapter, meant for a 110-120V power circuit.
Resistance can only be adjusted from the console, manually, or if you choose to workout with one of the on-board apps, it will change resistance automatically.
The resistance mechanism consists of a system of magnets placed one on each side of the machine. As you adjust resistance, the internal servo motor will “tell” the magnets to change their positioning in relation to the flywheels, adding or reducing resistance. You can actually see their position change. The system offers 24 resistance levels. The first few resistance settings deliver a light workout, perfect for warm-ups or recovery training. Conversely, the top 22-24 resistance settings supply a more demanding workout, simulating a steep climb, perfect for intense cardio, intervals, strength or weight loss.
When it comes to its drive system, this ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer integrates several pulleys and heavy duty belts, along with a flywheel tandem. Each flywheel is steel-made, inertia enhanced, with a weight of 28 lbs (12.7 kg). They deliver a smooth, steady pedaling motion, with a consistent momentum. Also, since the resistance elements (flywheels and magnets) do not touch, the machine is almost silent.
The pedaling motion reminds more of a stepper since it has a 10″ (25.4 cm) vertical span. But it feels different as it also has a 5″ (12.7 cm) horizontal axxis. In other words, the machine provides a natural stepping motion, focusing on your glutes, thighs, calves and lower core muscles. Evidently the mobile arms of the machine provide a light to medium workout for various upper body muscles, depending on your grip.
The console unit supplied with the ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer offers a bit more than a mid-range one. To begin with, it has 32 pre-loaded workout applications, divided in 4 categories: Calories, Columns, Intensity and Peaks. Each program is segment-based. When you select a program, the display will indicate the duration of the workout and the approximate calorie level that you will burn during the workout. Also, during the workout you will be prompted to increase or decrease your pedaling speed, depending on the current segment of the workout.
Along with the on-board workouts, there is also the possibility of using an iFit workout. The console unit is iFit enabled, which means it integrates a Bluetooth iFit module. Thus, you can sync it with your tablet, connect to your iFit account, and use a custom video trail to train with, directly upload and track your workout data, and even compete with others. The iFit membership is not included though. However, even if you won’t opt for this, you’ll still have the 32 on-board apps to train with, which should be more than enough for anyone.
The console unit is equipped with a 7-inch LCD display, with blue LED backlight. The display indicates an impressive number of workout metrics including calories, calories per hour, distance (miles or km), vertical distance, speed, pulse, RPM and the selected resistance level. If you select an on-board workouts its segment matrix will appear on screen, and the current segment in use will flash. There’s also a MyTrail function, which displays distance traveled as a 1/4 miles track, great to use if you’re training for an athletic competition.
As we’ve mentioned above, the stationary handlebars of the machine integrate pulse sensors, so the computer unit can track your pulse if you hold onto them. However, you can also use a Bluetooth HR chest strap for pulse tracking, but this accessory is not included.
The computer unit also offers several other non-fitness functions. Among these we can count the sound system, cooling fan, and tablet holder. The sound system is compatible with most smartphones, tablets or MP3 units, and the sound rendered by it can be classified as fairly decent. The cooling fan features several speed settings. It’s integrated at the lower part of the console and angled upward. And finally, the tablet holder is connected at the top of the console, its size adjustable and can accommodate any tablet.
The unit is easy to operate. The on-board programs have their own buttons per category. If you’re going to use manual mode, resistance can be adjusted from the + / – keys, or via the quick keys (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24). The fan and sound system have their own keys on the top of the console. Also, if you’re going to use an iFit workout on your tablet or phone, you will be using the iFit interface directly on your device.
Assembly and Maintenance
The core of the machine comes ready-assembled, therefore you don’t have to worry about the assembly of the super technical parts, such as the motor, pulleys, resistance mechanism etc. All you have to do for assembly is connect the base bars of the machine, the pedals, the fixed handlebars, console, and finally the mobile bars. This shouldn’t take longer than one hour. Two Allen wrenches are supplied, but you will also need your own Phillips screwdriver for some of the bolts. Also, the manual supplied is well-written and provides clear and concise step-by-step assembly instructions.
One aspect the mention here regards the product warranty. In order to benefit from the full lifetime warranty for the frame, and 3 years warranty on parts, you will have to register your machine with proformservice.com.
Maintenance doesn’t require much. The internal mechanism is pre-lubricated. Basically all you have to do for maintenance is dust the machine with a damp cloth, check the bolts from time to time, and keep liquids away from the console unit, as it’s not waterproof.
- Commercial, sturdy construction, elegant design lines;
- Superior weight capacity, 350 lbs;
- Space-saving design, takes approx. half the space of a regular elliptical trainer;
- Caster wheels for the easy handling and transport of the assembled machine;
- Pedals with gel cushioning for extra impact absorption and adherence;
- Ergonomic mobile handlebars with a multi-grip design;
- Fixed grips with pulse sensors;
- Extremely quiet drive;
- Motorized, magnetic resistance with up to 24 levels;
- 32 built-in programs;
- iFit enabled;
- Various amenities included, such as sound system, cooling fan, tablet shelf, bottle holder;
- HR chest strap compatible;
- Easy to put together;
- Very little maintenance required;
- Excellent warranty plan.
HR chest strap accessory not included;
Pedals don’t integrate any suspension, thus the machine may not be the best choice for users who require recovery training due to ankle or knee surgery.
The ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer is an elliptical-stepper hybrid machine, designed for light to intense cardio workouts. It uses a motorized magnetic resistance system, with 24 levels of resistance. It’s equipped with an advanced console, with online iFit connectivity possibilities, and 32 on-board workout applications. It’s great for users of all levels, offering intensive cardio training possibilities, interval training, stamina and strength training, and weight loss. It’s a machine designed for home use, but does offer the construction of a commercial one. In all, it’s definitely an item of fitness equipment with an outstanding price / value ratio.