The effectiveness of an elliptical trainer
Elliptical trainers are popular for a lot of reasons. They give a strong cardio workout and help to build muscles in several important areas. The fact that you can control things like incline and resistance means you can choose how hard you are working your muscles and whether you want more of a cardio workout or a resistance workout. Being able to experience a bit of both is a big benefit of an elliptical. If after reading the article you changed your view on ellipticals, try to look through treadmills. Maybe these will suit you better
As we’ve already briefly mentioned, ellipticals can be effective without offering any of the risks that go with hobbies such as road running or more extreme exercises. Even if you struggle with injuries and joint problems, the smooth motion (which has been compared to cross-country skiing) means you are unlikely to worsen any issues. There is no hard impact as there is with running, which can lead to ankle, shin and knee issues. Ellipticals are the best alternative.
Are there any health restrictions?
Health issues and restrictions are a unique thing. Unless your doctor has warned against any strenuous exercise then ellipticals can be a great way to be kind to your body and still get a good workout. Of course, you need to use it properly, following the manufacturer’s guidelines. Also, if your heart rate spikes or you experience pain it is worth stopping and consulting a healthcare professional.
How to lose weight with an elliptical trainer
Ellipticals can be used in a couple of different ways. Some people prefer a “high intensity” training session, with higher resistance. This can help both to burn calories and to work on your muscles, but it can raise your heart rate quickly and put more strain on your body.
A lower intensity workout which lasts far longer is a good way to use an elliptical for burning calories. Due to the nature and motion of these machines, they can burn calories without exerting too much strain. Many people find they can last a lot longer on an elliptical than they ever could on a treadmill, for instance.
What muscles does the elliptical work?
The core muscle groups worked by the elliptical are yet another reason it is so popular. It really is a full-body experience, and everything from your legs to your glutes to your back, arms and abdominal muscles are being stretched and worked. Of course, the higher the resistance, the harder the muscles need to work and this can help you to build tone in your body as well as burn calories.
Features to consider while choosing an elliptical trainer
What are the top features we’ve judged the best elliptical trainers on? Which should you be keeping an eye out in product descriptions?
We are all bound by the size of exercise equipment. If you’re lucky enough to have a home gym then this might be less of an issue, but generally, you will need to consider the space you have. If you are more restricted in this way, you may consider a folding elliptical or a product which can be moved around easily.
Training programs which are built into the product are designed to challenge you in different ways. This can add new interest and breathe enthusiasm into your workouts, as well as ensuring they are very effective. Programs can be designed to get you to a certain heart rate, mimic a hill climb or to replicate interval training like in ProForm Cardio HIIT.
This is a self-explanatory regulation, but an important one. It is vital that you weigh yourself and check that you are within the limits of the machine. If you use a machine you are too big for, you could run the risk of breaking something and injuring yourself. Some of the machines have just 220lb weight restrictions, so you should be observant.
The resistance is how you control the force with which you need to push the mechanism to turn it. Higher resistance means that you are working muscles harder. An elliptical should have settings you find simple, and also some that you find a little more challenging, giving you room to grow and improve. A good rule of thumb is that the pedaling should become difficult at about the ¾ highest setting.
What safety features are in place? Some ellipticals will automatically shut off if they sense you have suddenly stopped. Good ellipticals should have been safety tested to ensure they are sturdily constructed, stay in place and don’t run the risk of tipping over. For instance, many have sturdy rubber leg grippers which stop the product from moving around while in use.
A self-explanatory feature. The noise it creates! Naturally, it is normally a case of “the quieter, the better” when it comes to any gym equipment. A loud elliptical can be distracting for people nearby and may even stop you from working out late at night or early in the morning. One of the quietest ellipticals that is suitable for a workout even when you’re sitting behind your desk is Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical.
Why is Stride Length Important?
Stride length may seem like a trivial detail, but this is not the case at all.
The length should feel natural, as unlike using a treadmill, for instance, you are restricted by the movement of the machine. If it feels like you are overreaching or not stretching your legs enough then it may cause problems and not provide a proper workout.
This can be a particular issue if you are either particularly short or particularly tall, as your strides may be different from the ‘average’.
Just like a treadmill, some ellipticals allow you to choose an incline. This can mimic a hill and give your muscles more of a challenge, and therefore an opportunity to grow. An incline can lead to your muscles aching very quickly, so if you are looking for purely cardio exercise a big incline can be a hindrance. While it isn’t for everyone but it can help certain types of workout.
The product’s weight will naturally have a bearing on how difficult it is to store, lift and put into position. A sturdier product is likely to weigh more, so there is something of a tradeoff here. If you are able to keep your elliptical in one place then a heavier option may be better.
In the modern age, people are used to having entertainment at their fingertips. You may well find that it is easier to work out if you have something to keep you from getting bored. For instance, the ProForm Cardio HIIT allows you to link your iPod and listen to music and has a dedicated space for a tablet. At this price range, you may need to provide your own entertainment via an iPad or other devices, but the fact that some ellipticals have a specific space for it, or even an inbuilt charger, makes it far easier to use. Watching a movie can make your workout go so much faster.
Extra features are up to the imagination of the manufacturer. These can vary from a heart rate monitor which is extremely useful, to extras such as Bluetooth and even USB charging ports.
Naturally, the longer the warranty the better. Many have separate warranties for parts compared to labor. Many of the top models, such as the Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine, offer up to 10-year warranties for their parts.