The Endurance 520 E Elliptical Trainer is ProForm’s most affordable cardio elliptical trainer. With a long adjustable stride length, power-adjustable incline, and multiple programs, the 520 E has a lot to offer for such an affordable elliptical trainer.
It also comes with a decent console, a solid frame, and is iFit compatible (and lets you access on-demand workouts). All this for less than $1000.
But in a market full of affordable elliptical trainers, does the Proform Endurance 520 E elliptical have what it takes to stand out?
In this review, we will take a closer look at this device to help you make a decision.
We will cover all the important features to consider. After reading this, you’ll not only know if this option is right for you, but you’ll know what to look for in any elliptical trainer you’re considering.
Why do we love the ProForm Endurance 520 E Elliptical Trainer?
It’s nice to have a device with apps and workout programs, but when it comes to the big stuff like stride length and incline, these features really make a difference in your workout. And the ones you should pay close attention to before you buy any elliptical machines.
The most attractive feature of this device is its tilt. It was unexpected to find elliptical machines with a decent “0-20 degree” slope, which was interesting to see, especially when we compare the 520 E to some high-end machines, many of which are over $2000 and only offer 0-10 degrees slope.
So why is slope important? Because you can target different muscle groups this way, especially your glutes, calves, and hamstrings, the higher the incline, the more you’ll train, strengthen, and build those muscles.
OK, so it doesn’t have a power incline like its big brother the Proform 720 E, but at this price, we wouldn’t expect one.
The five levels of manual incline are still impressive at this price point, and if you need the incline to be power-adjustable, you’ll have to spend a couple of hundred dollars extra on their 720 E mid-range elliptical trainer.
Elliptical machines ProForm Endurance 520 E Review
ProForm is a popular home fitness brand. It is one of the most recognized brands and has been dominating the market for decades.
They produce a little bit of everything related to home fitness. While ProForm is best known for its treadmills and HIIT machines, its elliptical machines also deserve credit.
When it comes to elliptical trainers, ProForm has organized its lineup based on specific features. They have developed 4 different series: Endurance, Pro, Hybrid, and CSE.
The Proform Endurance series is known for having the braking system in the front instead of the rear of the machine. Endurance group models take up less space without reducing potential stride length.
The 520 E model that we reviewed in this post belongs to the Endurance series. It is the top model in its lineup, while the younger siblings are the 720 E and 920 E. As you might expect, the 920 E is the most advanced device.
The Pro family is more powerful than the Endurance, significantly heavier to support smoother movements and provide a tougher challenge in terms of strength elliptical training.
In the case of the CSE series, their cars are rear-wheel drive, so they usually take up more space than front-wheel drive cars, but these elliptical trainers are actually foldable. They are considered ideal trainers for beginners or people with a limited range of motion.
Half recumbent, half elliptical, ProForm also has a hybrid line of dual-purpose trainers.
Now that you know the unique features of each series, let’s focus on the elliptical we will all be reviewing here, the 520 E.
This device becomes even more impressive when we look at the motion performance. Machines in this price range offer stride lengths of 14 to 18 inches. But the ProForm excels at 19 inches.
Stride length is the distance between the toe of the front pedal and the heel of the backpedal.
Stride length is an important measurement because it is determined by the natural way you walk.
Fortunately, a 19-inch step should fit most people’s height and walk as fast as possible, with a maximum height of about 6 feet 1 inch. Older people usually have stronger elliptical machines.
To determine the frequency of occurrence after diagnosis, you should think about the elliptical trainers that you may have used in your local gym or health club. These devices usually have a stride length 20-inch so if you use them, the ProForm will fit all your elliptical workouts.
As with spin bikes, with elliptical flywheels, heavier is better.
Flywheels are responsible for the resistance you get when pedaling. It has to do with movement. Heavier flywheels create more acceleration and a smoother feel when turning.
Some also note that heavier flywheels are quieter in operation, but there are quieter machines with lighter flywheels, so this is not always the case.
Inexpensive elliptical trainers usually come with lighter flywheels. We’re talking in the 14 to 20-pound range.
The Proform Endurance 520 E elliptical comes with a 15-pound flywheel, which we usually see for budget elliptical trainers.
I personally recommend going with an elliptical that has at least a 20lb flywheel or heavier. These flywheels should be able to provide a sense of seamlessness.
By the way, it has SMR™ off magnetic resistance. Most users agree that even with a lighter flywheel, they can still enjoy the 18 levels of resistance of the Proform Endurance 520 E elliptical with silent magnetic resistance.
The Proform Endurance 520 E has an adjustable power tilt that can be between 0 and 20 degrees. Inclines are ideal for targeted muscle building.
With its quick touch buttons, it’s easy to adjust your incline and resistance instantly. This comfort feels great, especially if you’re into interval training.
Overall, the 520 E has a fairly light flywheel. The quiet machine is during operation and the power incline levels are good, but more advanced athletes should consider an elliptical trainer with a heavier flywheel for a more intense workout.
An advanced monitor for its price range, it includes all the workout options you’ll ever need. Control the intensity of your workout with countless workouts from the ProForm library, including global outdoor workouts led by personal trainers, studio workouts in your home with iFIT, and LIVE Trainer Control.
And when you don’t feel like using the iFit app, you can always challenge yourself with 18 built-in settings, and manual mode lets you create your own. Good!
The 5-inch backlit LCD makes it easy to record all your stats in one place, and what I love about all ProForm monitors is that they’re easy to record. Access to all important things, such as resistance and load levels, can be achieved by different people.
If you’re serious about cardio, you may be disappointed to find that the ProFoms 520 E lacks wireless heart rate monitoring. Too bad I know. However, at this price point, we don’t often see tilt and wireless capability. Usually one or the other
However, heart rate sensors built into the fixed arm are not as accurate as wireless heart rate monitoring, but they are better than nothing.
Finally, the ProForm 520 E monitor records all the usual training data such as time, distance and calories burned.
Includes NB speaker and integrated tablet holder.
The tilt angle is adjustable from zero to 20 degrees with five fixed positions. You can adjust the angle to target different muscle groups in your lower body. You can do a full-body workout with this device.
This was a bit of a surprise to me as most entry-level running shoes on the market only have an 18″ inseam. The difference in increasing the step is natural and comfortable, which improves the quality of training.
The ProForm 520 E is preloaded with Sugar, Inline, Power, and Speed programs. There are a total of 18 workout programs, each developed by professional fitness trainers. The iFit Coach is also ready.
You can set your device to simulate a treadmill around the world. You can get specific program settings as well as access to a full library of settings to help you reach your fitness goals faster.
Digital resistance levels
There are 18 different resistance levels that gradually decrease. Silent Magnetic Resistance technology makes the transition from one level to another frictionless and silent.
Upper body workout arms
The upper body handles are easy to grip and allow you to get a full-body workout program. They also have a built-in heart rate monitor to help you stay on track during your workout programs.
Adjustable foot pedals
The foot pedals are large and easy to press. They adjust to a variety of foot positions to keep your feet comfortable while exercising.
Screen with backlight
There’s a 5-inch backlit display that’s pretty standard on these devices. However, there is an interesting feature called “priority display” which allows you to closely monitor specific data of your choice.
There’s an integrated tablet holder that sits just above the screen. There’s also a built-in audio system so you can plug in your MP3 player or iPod and listen to your favorite tunes while you work out. There is also a USB charging station to charge your MP3 player or phone.
The Endurance 520 E has an integrated water bottle holder. It is equipped with transport wheels that make it easy to move the machine. It also comes with an AC adapter, which I think is a nifty little addition. This gives you the option to power your console with electricity instead of batteries.
ProForm designed the 520 E with minimal assembly effort. All the instructions are clear and details can be seen.
The manual suggests it’s a two-person job, but one person can do the job alone (depending on that person’s skills, of course).
They are mainly responsible for attaching the stabilizer bars, console, and some brackets between pedals and handlebars. Management does a good job with their written descriptions and pictures for each step.
All in all, you shouldn’t have any trouble building this elliptical machine. Expect to spend about an hour getting the job done.
The following guarantee applies to the 520 E model:
- Frame: 10 years
- Parts: 2 years
- Work: 1 year
It’s a respectable warranty offering at this price point, but if ProForm can extend their warranties a bit longer, it’s definitely a game changer.
- Robust, stable machine
- 0-20 degree incline (uses different muscle groups, especially the buttocks)
- Highly informative monitor for the price range
- iFit Ready, Thousands of Workouts, Global Routes, Personal Trainer Workouts
- Two pairs of handrails – use the movable set for a full-body workout!
- Built-in transport wheels, tilt and swivel for storage
- 300lb weight capacity
- Main display (LCD 5 inch)
- Has no wireless pulse receiver
- Short warranty on parts and electronics
What would be better
The only issue I had with the machine is that you have to manually adjust the incline, which can be annoying, especially if you’re used to a self-adjusting elliptical. There is no knob or switch to change the incline on the high-end 720E model and the top-of-the-line 920E elliptical machine.
Therefore, every time you want to make adjustments, you have to stop the training and do it manually. I feel like it affects my rhythm and gets me out of my zone, but for some, it’s not a problem.
Schwinn 430 elliptical trainer
These guys have been building bikes for over 100 years and making cardio equipment for our home gyms for 40 years! Schwinn is an impressive company that has managed to stay at the top for many years. Their 430 elliptical machine is part of their compact lineup and typically sells for around $600.
The Schwinn 430 is very similar to the ProForm, both offering the same number of workouts and Schwinn offering a few more resistance levels of 20.
What the Schwinn 430 lacks are training apps, unlike Proform, which offers over 1000 additional workouts and global routes thanks to its iFit app, Schwinn can only offer its users 22 built-in training programs.
What sells Schwinn is the built quality and reputation of the company. You know when you buy a Schwinn product you are getting a quality machine, but at this price point, we expect some sort of application to come with the machine.
The lack of a fitness app or BlueTooth isn’t a deal breaker, but I do feel the Schwinn 430 monitor needs an upgrade, especially if Schwinn is looking to keep up with the competition.
Schwinn offers an impressive stride length of 19 inches, the only elliptical in this price range that can match ProForm, and Schwinn has an incline, which again is great to see at this price point. While ProForm outperforms Schwinn with 0-20 degrees, Schwinn only offers a 10-degree tilt.
Overall, the Schwinn 430 is a well-built machine with an easy-to-use monitor that has everything you need for a low-calorie burn workout.
The 430 has been around for many years and is as popular today as it was when it was first released. Yes, a few upgrades could have been made, but this machine has stood the test of time and people are still praising it after years of use.
A good alternative to the ProForm, especially for those looking for a compact, front-wheel drive elliptical with an impressive stride length.
Is elliptical better than the treadmill?
Treadmills are also better for aerobic exercise. A small 2021 study found that people who use the treadmill burn more fat than those who use the elliptical machine. A study has shown that treadmill training is a great way to improve cardiometabolic health.
How do I adjust my stride on my Proform elliptical?
Many elliptical trainers now use a power control to change the user’s stride length. It does this by changing the power ramp level, which adjusts the user’s stride length. To make this setting, simply press the power button on the console.
Who makes ProForm ellipticals?
ProForm, owned by iFit Health & Fitness Inc., specializes in home fitness equipment including rowing machines, treadmills, elliptical trainers, and stationary bikes. The brand currently offers three series of bikes to meet different cycling needs.
Why is my ProForm elliptical not working?
Causes. According to the hardware manual that came with ProForm ellipticals, low battery is the most common cause of console display errors. If the screen does not turn on, you should check the device’s power cable to make sure it is connected to the wall.
Does ProForm elliptical turn off automatically?
If you follow the instructions in the guide to turn off the default “always on” setting, it will automatically turn off.
How do you turn off iFit ProForm elliptical?
If you don’t want to use these features, press and hold the iFit or Bluetooth button for 30 seconds to bypass iFit activation, then use the built-in workouts.
Should I unplug my elliptical?
If you are on vacation or an extended business trip, or if you have to stop exercising due to an injury or childbirth, be sure to unplug your fitness equipment from the power outlet and/or remove all batteries. It’s ready and waiting for you to start your workout again. To sum it up: keep your elliptical machine in peak condition.
With all the specs and features, it’s easy to see why the ProForm Endurance 520 E is a popular model.
It has high-quality specs and lots of respectable performance specs. It’s the perfect combination to enjoy a challenging, smooth, and comfortable workout.
The 520 E also has an incredible library of workout programs to choose from. You can use the iFit app or its special built-in programs. If you’re looking for an elliptical machine that fits your exercise needs and budget, the 520 E might make sense.
But with a shorter stride length and lighter flywheel, I think this model is best suited for people with beginner to intermediate fitness levels.
If you need to read about ProForm 720 E Elliptical trainer, please read our article.