The Elliptical Trainer is one of the most common fitness equipment out there. In fact, every gym worth its iron would have at least a couple of elliptical trainers somewhere in the row of treadmills, bikes, rowers, etc. But then, it is also one of the most misused and understated gym equipments. People just don’t realize the many health and fitness benefits the machine has to offer.
Elliptical trainers are also known as Cross-Trainers and X-Trainers. It is a stationary exercise machine that imitates the motion of stair climbing, running and walking. There are two pedals and two hand-levers in the elliptical trainer. If you are looking to buy one for yourself, look for the latest technologies. Your elliptical trainer should have a centre-drive and adjustable ramp that can be turned into incline or other varying pedal motion paths like hill.
[ Read: Triceps Exercises And Their Benefits ]
Benefits Of Elliptical Trainer:
If you thought that the elliptical is all about warming up your body, then let us enlighten you on what all this machine is going to do for us.
1. Cardiovascular Benefits:
Elliptical trainers are exceedingly beneficial for our cardiovascular system. Working out using an elliptical takes up your heart rate and strengthens the heart. It increases the aerobic capacity of the body. This results in a stronger heart and lungs and at the same time a nice, heated-up system. Top fitness trainers often call it as a powerhouse among cardio equipments.
2. Total Body Workout:
Elliptical trainer gives you an integrated full body workout. Unlike treadmills, elliptical trainers not only work on your lower body, but also engage your upper body. Elliptical trainers have handle-levers, which are pushed and pulled in synchronization with the leg movements. It effectively works on your upper body.
3. Non-Impact Equipment:
While using an elliptical machine, your heels are always connected with the pedals; rather your feet are stabilized by the pedals. This does not put any extra strain on your knees and other joints unlike activities like running and cycling. It makes elliptical safer for elderly people, people suffering from any joint issues and even those who have varicose veins.
4. Strength And Endurance:
Elliptical cross trainers help in building strength and muscle endurance. It is a weight-bearing exercise, which is effectively target weak quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves without putting strain on the knees.
5. Weight Loss:
If you want to lose weight, then elliptical trainer can speed up your journey. Elliptical trainer is a very good option for burning calories. In fact, some studies claim that one can burn more than 400 calories in around 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. It is believed that people often feel a very low Relative Perceived Exertion (RPE) with elliptical trainer. That is, one does not feel that they are working hard enough when they actually are and end up working that little bit more. This helps in shedding those extra pounds.
6. Ease Of Use:
Elliptical trainer is easy to use and saves time. It takes very little space and can be set up at home too. There is really not much science about how to use elliptical trainers. Moreover, this equipment gives you a complete high intensity workout in half the time when compared to normal cardio workouts.
7. Customizes Your Workout:
It is a proven fact that when an activity is done repeatedly over time, our body gets used to it and the muscles do not work as hard as they did earlier and we do not burn as many calories. Elliptical trainer allows you to vary your stride length, resistance and speed throughout the workout, so that you can do interval training. This results in more calorie burn and increased muscle engagement.
[ Read: Dumbbell Exercises And Their Benefits ]
How To Do?
I confess that Elliptical Trainer is for me ‘The Awkward Machine’. Even after all these years, I still get a funny feeling every time I hop onto that machine. But then, given its many benefits I still do ellipticals 2-3 times every week. Using an elliptical trainer is simple and you can set it according to your preferences. Here are the instructions to use the elliptical trainer correctly:
- Step on the elliptical and put one in each of the pedals firmly.
- Now, get hold of the handles.
- Stand straight with your back erect, abs tight, core engaged and shoulders rolled back.
- Now start moving your feet as if you are walking forward.
- Your hand movement will be pushing and pulling. Push one handle forward and pull the other handle towards you.
Though using an elliptical trainer is pretty easy, people still make some basic mistakes. Follow the tips given below to maximize your results :
- Do not just hold on to the handles. Engage your upper body by pushing and pulling the handles with strength.
- Do not ever lean forward on the machine. That is cheating and bad form, which not only compromises your performance, but can also lead to injury.
- Increasing your RPM takes up the intensity. But keep in mind that you do not do elliptical too fast. When you go too fast, you end up using too much momentum which compromises the muscle engagement.
- Keep experimenting with your workout and keep it varied. You can alternate between forward pedaling and reverse pedaling. This recruits a larger variety of muscles in your lower body.
- Do not do elliptical without any resistance. If you are doing low intensity, then use low resistance but there must be some resistance.
- Make sure you establish a harmonious combination between your hands and legs movements.
Need your dose of 20-minute cardio before your other workout? Try Elliptical Trainer, it’ll totally scorch that fat!
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