How do I Choose the Best Upper Body Ergometer?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 January 2020
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An upper body ergometer is used both in gyms and rehabilitation clinics to provide general exercise and test a person's physical fitness level. When choosing the best upper body ergometer, you need to look for an ergometer that has adjustable height, is able to track your speed and heart rate, and is able to add or reduce resistance for easier or harder workouts. Being wheelchair accessible is also important if you use a wheelchair or run a clinic or gym where many patients or members use wheelchairs.

Upper body ergometer units are typically set at a height that would conform to the average height of a person. If you are above or below average height, then using such an ergometer would be uncomfortable and could strain muscles that shouldn’t be used in ergometer-based exercises. An upper body ergometer that can be adjusted for various heights will be useful if you are taller or shorter than most people, because it will provide a more comfortable workout.


Some of the more inexpensive upper body ergometer machines do not have a meter that displays the speed at which you are exercising. While these machines can still be used for an adequate workout, it will be difficult to track your progress. These units tend to be cheaper, so it might be better to get a unit that lacks this feature if tracking progress isn’t very important to you. If you do want to track your progress, spending the extra money will be worth it.

Tracking heart rate, especially if you are running a rehabilitation clinic, will be an important function to look for in an upper body ergometer. Much like tracking speed, this feature may or may not be included, generally based on price. Again, if knowing your heart rate isn't necessary for your workout style, then getting a cheaper unit may be better.

Upper body ergometer units come with a set resistance. If you find the standard resistance to be too strong or too weak, look for a unit that is adjustable to better fit your workout needs. Units without the ability to change resistance will not be as effective for long-term use.

Wheelchair accessibility is a feature commonly seen with upper body ergometers. These units typically do not have a chair bolted to the unit or have a chair that can easily be removed so someone in a wheelchair can use the machine. Having a unit without a bolted chair will be easier to use, especially if the machine is for home use by a wheelchair-bound person.


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