The NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 Elliptical Provides True Upper Body Training

It is the next generation of trainers: the NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 elliptical is a hybrid, a combination of a stair stepper and an elliptical, yet it does even more. It expands the cardio workout to condition your heart and lungs, and it provides true upper body training, a feature that’s been tried and failed on other models with moving handlebars.

What You Get

The NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 elliptical has a hi-resolution backlit display that shows your heart rate, RPM, distance, calories burned and carbs burned. On the screen, you can also monitor your progress with the Stride Ladder to view your stride in real time, and it lets you know when you fall out of the Target Heart Rate Zone. The NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 also comes with iFIT® workout compatibility, an MP3 plug in, handgrip pulse monitors, and 10 different workouts.

Here’s the full list of specs on this elliptical:

NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 Elliptical Trainer

  • 1-Touch™ ERS Resistance – 12 levels
  • 8 Stride Workouts; 8 Body Zone Workouts
  • Dual-Action Upper Body Arms
  • 35” Stride Length
  • Polar Wireless Heart Rate Monitor
  • iFIT® Workout Card Technology
  • Music Port for IPod or MP3 player
  • 300 lb. user weight capacity
  • Core Cooling Fan
  • Cushioned Pedals
  • Warranty –1 years parts & labor; lifetime frame

The Word on the Street

Seeing is believing when you step on the steep sweeping arc stride of the NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 elliptical. As you can see from the illustration on this page, this machine offers the longest stride on the market plus you get the added bonus of working the core muscles (back, abs, obliques), and not just the lower half of your body.

And a double bonus: the resistance in the handlebars mimics more of a weightlifting exercise, or even a rowing machine, rather than your hands being guided by a swinging bar.

UPDATE: The NordicTrack  FreeMotion s5.6 has been discontinued and replaced with the all new FreeStride Trainer FS7i.  

Check it out here: NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7

Users who exercise on ellipticals will swear that these are the best cardio machines for overall weight loss and toning the body. But the NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 is revolutionary at working more muscle groups with its extended free stride. It a new model so you won’t find many elliptical reviews online for it, unfortunately.

Note: The FreeMotion s5.6 is the same machine as the discontinued FreeStrider 35S Elliptical which came with a 7-year parts warranty. Unfortunately, ICON has shortened the parts warranty on the FreeMotion s5.6 back to only 1 year.

Beyond that, consider the 16 programs, the entertainment options, the cooling fan aimed at the body’s core, the cushioned pedals, the 300-lb user weight...there just aren’t any negatives to this model.

Our Thoughts

The minute we saw this we could see all the advantages to the design. It’s what many people have been waiting for; cross-training with a stair stepper and an elliptical, but doing so with a comfortable arcing motion. More than that it’s a machine that gives you a full body workout.

The NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 is a newer model, so we haven’t come across issues of mechanical breakdown or other such problems. And when we peeked at the price -- just $1,699 -- we had to smile. The NordicTrack FreeMotion s5.6 elliptical is going to be a winner with a lot of owners.

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