Frequently Asked Questions About Precor Equipment

  • To burn the most calories on the Precor EFX, is it better to go faster or increase the resistance?

    The most effective way to burn calories on the Precor EFX is first to increase resistance, and second to increase user speed. However, increasing resistance will have a higher RPE than increasing speed for most users even though the physiological differences are not that great, so exercisers should take this into consideration when building programs. Training in the reverse direction has also been shown to have a notable increase in heart rate and be a good way to vary workouts without compromising training intensity.

  • Will I get a better workout if I use the moving handles on the EFX and AMT?

    Using the moving handles during a training session can provide a variety of workout advantages. Passively holding the handles gently activates your upper body and facilitates a total body workout, leading to a slight increase in caloric expenditure. It also naturally synchronizes the movement between your upper and lower body. However, for more significant results, exercisers should actively push and pull on the handles during the training sessions. Doing so will not only elevate calorie burn, but will also engage the core muscles.

  • How is distance calculated on the EFX?

    Distance on the EFX is an equivalent distance to walking or running on a treadmill. In other words, distance is calculated based on an equivalent work effort on a treadmill. Therefore, resistance level is a key factor in calculating the distance travelled on an EFX.

  • Should I integrate decline training into my treadmill workout?

    Decline training increases stride rate and prepares the quadriceps for the demands of downhill running. It is a great way for runners or everyday athletes to gradually increase their training speed in order to improve the amount of work they can do in a fixed period of time. Those new to decline training should start with short intervals to allow their bodies time to adapt to this type of stress.

  • How accurate are the calorie readings on the Precor cardio equipment?

    Precor calorie calculations rely on standard ACSM formulas for the treadmills, steppers, and bikes. Due to the unique motions of the EFX and AMT, the formulas for these products were developed by Dr. Emily Cooper of Seattle Performance Medicine. For the EFX, the equations consider user weight, age, ramp angle, resistance and stride rate. For the AMT, the formulas integrate user weight, age, resistance, stride rate, stride height and stride length.

    For users who simply hit Quick Start without entering their personal parameters, the default age is set at 35 years old while the default weight varies slightly depending on the type of product. To get the most accurate caloric reading possible, exercisers should enter their personal weight and age information. However, exercisers must remember that these formulas simply translate mechanical output to human performance. This means that while they provide a sound estimate of calories burned, no cardio equipment will give a perfectly precise readout because each individual's fitness level, physiology and familiarity with the specific exercise stimulas will be different.

    Here are a few ways the caloric readings can best inform workouts:

    • The calorie calculation formulas used provide a sound estimate of calories burned
    • If an exerciser trains regularly on the same product, he/she can use this data as general guidance to compare exercise exertion on different days
    • Use the calorie readouts asa a coaching tool to vary the training stimulus - engaged exercisers will notice that caloric expenditure increases as they increase ramp angle, stride rate, resistence and other parameters per modality


  • How does the fitness test work on Precor cardio equipment?

    This test predicts a user's fitness level by monitoring heart rate during a preprogrammed course. The basic protocol - including the course definition and the analysis algorithm were developed in 1992 by Dr. Neil Gordon of the Cooper Clinic. In 2002, Dr. Emily Cooper, of Seattle Performance Medicine, assisted Precor to calibrate the Fitness Test to predict results shown through VO2 max testing. As such, the test is clinically designed, extremely accurate as a model, and a great guideline to predict a person's fitness level. Because the exerciser's heart rate is a factor, this metric can be more specific to an individual than generalized formulas such as METs. While the fitness test provides solid information as a predictor of a person's fitness, the test still isn't the equivalent to tests such as gas-exchange or blood lactate protocols conducted at a medical or fitness facility.

  • What are METs?

    METs is a relative measure of the physiological capacity to do an activity. For example, when a person is at rest (aka basal metabolic rate) he/she is at 1 MET, whereas running a 10 minute per mile pace (6.0 mph) is equivalent to 10 METs. When performing a fitness test on Precor equipment, the result is an estimate of an individual's physiological capacity or max MET level.

    In a cardiac rehab application, the patient usually has a limited capacity or MET level. In this situation, it is appropriate to exercise at certain percentage of the patient's capacity, starting around 50 - 60% of his/her max MET level. Therefore, if the exercise equipment displays the work level in terms of METs, the patient can be prescribed the proper exercise level.

    The Precor 830 cardio product line with the P30 console has METs as an extra metric that can be displayed on the message line during the workout. The 880 product line with the P80 console also displays METs, however the 820 line and the new 810 do not.

  • My gym has a lot of free weight and functional equipment, as well as single station strength machines. What strength equipment should I use?

    Most gyms provide a variety of strength training options to accommodate a wide range of member experience levels and training objectives. The wide range allows you to select equipment that matches your level of familiarity with fitness equipment and what you’re looking to achieve. Single station strength machines provide a supported environment to develop muscular endurance and strength. These pin select machines put exercisers in ergonomically correct positions and guide them through a controlled path of motion that targets a specific muscle or group of muscles. Additionally, exercisers can easily select the appropriate load from a weight stack and follow instructional placards to perform natural movements. The simplicity of these products and their ability to isolate specific muscle groups makes them appropriate for those new to strength training, as well as more seasoned exercisers looking for focused strength gains. It cannot be understated that these products help lay the foundation of joint integrity and neuromuscular function that allows exercisers to then transition to more dynamic and functional forms of strength training.

  • My gym has the new Advanced Movement Design™ single station strength machines. What are the advantages of training with these versus more traditional single station equipment?

    Advanced Movement Design™ is a progressive platform designed exclusively for the Precor Discovery™ Series Selectorized Line to provide exercisers with a unique workout experience that challenges their muscles through a wider range of motion. This technology provides first time exercisers a nice intermediate medium from traditional, simple machine-defined movement patterns. The overall design and concept incorporates increased core engagement, stabilization, and improved joint range of motion. Exercisers can progress in their fitness journey with independent movement arms to isolate muscle groups, and the converging/diverging axis of the products helps them recruit more muscle fibers.