Why is my Proform Elliptical So Hard to Pedal?

If you have stumbled upon this article, you are probably wondering ‘why is my Proform Elliptical so hard to pedal?’ Well fear not, this article is here to save the day!

The short answer is that most problems that involve difficulty pedalling on an Elliptical trainer stem from an issue with resistance, so in the next few minutes I am going to talk you through some basic troubleshooting you can easily do at home to try and rectify the resistance issue on your Proform machine.

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proform elliptical difficult to pedal

Difficulty Pedalling on Proform Elliptical

Before we dive into the nitty gritty technical fixes, there are first a couple of less ‘mechanical’ options for you to try. 

First and foremost, ensure you have your resistance set at a low level, sometimes, if you are new to a Proform Elliptical trainer, it could be that you simply have it on a setting that is not suitable for you. 

The second thing to try is to turn the console off and on again, this soft reset will hopefully resolve any issues where the machine appears to be ‘stuck’ on a certain resistance level. 

If neither of these options is giving you any joy, then take some oil (please ensure the oil you are using is appropriate for mechanical devices and purchased from a fitness store.) and lightly spray the mechanisms in the fly wheel and runners. You can use a reliable lubricant like WD40 for this:

WD-40® Specialist® Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant with SMART STRAW® SPRAYS 2 WAYS 11 OZ

ProForm Elliptical Resistance Not Working

If your ProForm elliptical resistance isn’t working you need to inspect the magnetic resistance system that powers the elliptical. Most of the Proform Elliptical trainers have the same mechanism for magnetic resistance, so your first port of call is to remove the plastic side plates, from here the mechanisms inside will vary slightly between models. 

For example the 325 CSE has an adjustable magnetic resistance system with the control being just under the cover, so on this model (and many others you have an easy fix).

How do I fix the Resistance on my Proform Elliptical?

Refer to your individual model manual to find the location of the resistance system switch. 

If you have tried this to no avail, or your particular model doesn’t have this switch, then the chances are your resistance problems are stemming from the console and it not ‘talking’ to the mechanics of the machine. 

Just because the console is turning on and appears to be working, it doesn’t always mean it is functioning in the way it should. Think of the console as the brain of your machine, sending messages to the body. 

While there are some tests you can do at home to check the console is performing quickly, some of them involve almost pulling your machine apart, and so if your unit is still under warranty you are far better off contacting Proform and having them look at it. 

If you’re unit is out of warranty, you may want to attempt to check the voltage of your console. 

  1. Remove the plastic side shields
  2. Remove the crank arms (you may need a crank puller for this)
  3. Locate the tension motor
  4. Use a 9 Volt battery and attach a wire to positive and negative side, then touch the yellow and blue wired of the motor. 
  5. Let the motor run until it swaps then switch the wired the alternate way.
  6. If the motor works both ways, you’re motor is not defective.
  7. Next check the console harness using a volt meter. (Attach the volt meter to the wires from the console to the harness)
  8. Lastly, check the voltage being supplied through the blue and yellow wires to the console when the tension buttons are pressed. This should be approx. 6 vdc.
  9. If you find you have no voltage then the console is defective and this is your issue.
proform resistance not working

Clearly this process is not simple and takes some mechanical know – how, so ensure you try the easier options in the first section of this article before attempting to take your machine apart. 

I also found some great tutorials on checking the voltage of your console on YouTube, so if you’re looking for a video example of your specific machine and a visual representation this would be a great place to start. Or the easiest way is to buy this voltage checker pen which will give you a reading instantly:

Non-Contact Voltage Tester Pen - Dual Range AC Voltage Tester 12V/48V-1000V, Live/Null Wire Circuit Detection Tester Breakpoint Finder Electrical Outlet Voltage Detector, Measure AC Circuit Tester

If you have a Proform Elliptical trainer that uses a friction resistance as opposed to a magnetic resistance (which some of the older machines do) then changing the friction pad is going to be a great option for fixing a resistance issue. 


There could be a handful of reasons your resistance on your Proform is proving troublesome. 

Oiling the machine and turning off the console for a soft reset is always going to be your first option before attempting to unfold and open the machine up. 

I would never recommend opening the trainer unless absolutely necessary as it can invalidate your warranty, so if your machine is still under warranty I would suggest calling Proform for advice before taking any further action.

If however, you have problems with your Proform which is out of warranty, then it is definitely worth testing the voltage to the console and the tension adjustment setting that many machines have under the hood.

YouTube has some great tutorials which can give you a visual demonstration of how to do these tasks on your specific machine. 

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An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!