Elliptical exercise machines are soaring in popularity, and for good reason. They are among the most effective pieces of fitness equipment on the market today. The “all over” workout you get with elliptical cross trainers is well suited to many different fitness levels and it is easy to learn the proper techniques for using one.
Benefits of Elliptical Machines
Elliptical trainers provide tremendous benefits to users, including:
oWeight Bearing Exercises – Fitness experts agree that a weight-bearing workout is the best way to improve conditioning, increase bone density, strengthen muscles, and burn calories efficiently.
oLow-Impact Workout – Despite providing a good weight-bearing workout, an elliptical cross training machine is very low impact. This means less stress on your joints during cross training exercises because your feet never leave the pedals and therefore do not experience high impacts.
oCardiovascular Workouts – An elliptical machine or cross trainer provides an excellent cardiovascular workout, a key part of overall fitness. Whether you want to lose weight, firm up your body, or a combination of both, incorporating cardiovascular exercise into your workout routine is critical to your long-term success.
Anyone who has ever gone through the cycle of starting and stopping an exercise routine several times will tell you that one key to sticking with your routine is to find something that gives you maximum results in the shortest amount of time. Elliptical cross training fits the bill perfectly. Most people live busy lives and do not have several hours per day to devote to total body exercise, so an elliptical machine lets them get in a good workout in a minimal amount of time.
Motivation to exercise is a big issue for many people, but most elliptical machine users will tell you that they have an easier time staying motivated to get on their machine. This is because you can vary your workout tremendously, depending on the amount of intensity you want, and also do other things like read or watch TV while on your elliptical machine. This helps reduce boredom and increase the likelihood that you will use your elliptical for low-impact cross training regularly.
Proper Technique and Motion
Any exercise or fitness equipment can cause injury or discomfort when used improperly, and elliptical cross training machines are no exception. They are among the easiest pieces of equipment to use, but still require you to use proper techniques for maximum safety and fitness benefit.
Here are a few key tips to remember:
oAdjustment – Make sure the elliptical machine is adjusted properly to your size and range of motion. For most people, a step length of 18 to 24 inches is recommended to start.
oIntensity – Familiarize yourself with how to change the intensity of your elliptical cross training. You may be able to increase resistance, increase the incline, or a combination of both. Remember that it is better to exercise at a lower intensity until you have built up the strength and stamina to a more intense regimen.
oPosture – Always maintain an upright posture while on an elliptical workout machine or cross trainer. Keep your shoulders back, chin up, back straight, and abdominals tight. Do not lean forward over the balance bar or handles; instead, make sure your body weight is being carried by your lower body throughout the exercise.