Elliptical Trainers: Everything You Need To Know

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Elliptical Trainers: Everything You Need To Know

Are you tired of treadmill? Looking for an alternative to cycling? Just when we thought that all cardio machines had been invented, along come the elliptical trainer. Are you in the market for a cardiovascular workout that gets you in shape without being hard on your knees? Then elliptical trainers may be ideal for you.

What is elliptical trainer?

The elliptical trainer is known to different people by different names. Some call it the cross-trainer or X-trainer. Regardless of the name, an elliptical trainer is a stationary exercise machine utilized to stimulate climbing, walking, or running void of subjecting and individual to excessive joint pressure. It looks like a combination of a treadmill and a climber that grew arms.

The machine is called an elliptical trainer because your feet move in the shape of an oval during the workout instead of back and forth like they do on a treadmill or up and down like they move on a climber. Because your feet follow an oval path, the exercise is low impact but still provides a full range of motion for your legs.  Beginners and those with sensitive joints will appreciate this. The arms on the machine go back and forth while you stride, so you get a total body workout.

The popularity of the elliptical now rivals that of the treadmill; in some gyms, you see a line for the elliptical and some unused treadmills.

elliptical trainers cardio workout equipment

Features to look for in an elliptical trainer

Most elliptical trainers require electricity or batteries to power the monitor, but the movement is mainly driven with your feet and partially with your arms. If you would like to use your elliptical in forward or reverse motions, find one that will do both. Although most elliptical trainers include moving handles, you can find some with stationary handles as well. Many handles also include heart rate monitors. Make sure the size of the elliptical can accommodate your stride length. More expensive models have adjustable stride lengths, which are also designed to increase your calorie burn.

elliptical cross trainer benefits

Muscles Engaged

With the elliptical trainer simulating a variety of motions, the quadriceps, ham­strings, gastrocnemius, anterior tibialis, and the ankle joint are all involved in this process. When the handlebars are used, the deltoids (shoulder muscles), latissimus dorsi (back muscles), biceps, and triceps become involved as well. Torso muscles are activated as the abdominal muscles and back extensors simultane­ously contract to keep you in the upright position, and the upper postural muscles are engaged to support the action of the arms. This provides the perfect environ­ment to enhance torso stabilization while maintaining proper form and alignment.

Are elliptical trainers more effective in burning calories?

There have been claims that the dual action exercise of an elliptical trainer is more effective in burning calories, exercises more muscle groups simultaneously, and is a more intense workout that can be achieved in less time than when utilizing a treadmill or stationary bike. However, further research suggests that physiological responses associated with elliptical and treadmill exercises are nearly identical, but elliptical trainers are still more beneficial due to being non-impact. Experients in which choose to not hold on to the hand grips of the elliptical trainer can improve their motor fitness and balance. In this position, the core muscles are maintained in a state of constant tension. In addition, this hands-free position can promote better posture.

Benefits of Elliptical Machines

The elliptical trainer is one of the most common fitness equipment out there. Given here are 8 effective benefits of elliptical trainer workout for you to know.

  • It improves balance and mobility
  • You can mimic many different types of exercises
  • You work out the whole body
  • It protects your joints
  • You use minimal space
  • You are able to multitask
  • Your aerobic (cardio)capacity is increased
  • Maintenance of the machine is easy and cheap

Technique

Most elliptical trainers have a pair of handles connected to your foot pedals i.e. as your feel move, so do the arm handles. Moving your arms is optional, so you can choose to lightly grasp the stationary handlebar found in between the two swinging handles or you can choose not to hold onto anything at all. Below is the technique you use should you choose to use your arms.

1. Leg Movement

As you get on the machine for the first time pay attention to your foot placement, as each foot needs to be securely placed on its pedal, ideally on the center of each pedal. Your stride length should feel natural i.e. a stride length that is loo long and wide makes for an uncomfortable workout. Also, a stride length that is too short is apt to create an unpleasant jerky movement. Some newer elliptical trainers now offer an adjustable stride length. This is great news for gym owners and others who need to share their equipment with people of different stature.

2. Arm Movement

Moving your arms in a manner similar to that of a runner or speed walker is the best option for increasing the intensity of your workout. Not holding onto anything causes the stabilising muscles of your midsection to work harder, thus maximizing your calories burned. However, leaning with your body weight on the handles will only decrease the intensity of your lower body workout.

Closing Thoughts about Elliptical Cross Trainers

The elliptical-training machine is a terrific way to get aerobic exercise without hurting your joints with high-impact workouts. The motion feels like a mix between fast walking, stair-climbing, and cross-country skiing.

This machine offers many of the same advantages as the stair climber. However, you can exercise at higher revolutions per minute on the elliptical trainer than you can on the stair climber. The very fluid motion attained on this machine more closely resembles running, but the level of weight bearing is similar to that with a cross-country ski machine.

The elliptical trainer offers an excellent rehabilitation opportunity for people with foot or lower extremity injuries, as it limits weight bearing and does not require much ankle motion. The unique motion required of the body to use this machine is somewhat awkward and thus requires practice.

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