The elliptical trainer (or cross trainer) is a stationary exercise machine that mimics stair climbing, walking or running. It’s fairly low impact, so there’s less stress on joints like in the knees, hips and back, and the elliptical trainer provides an excellent aerobic workout.
Three Great Reasons to Use the Elliptical Trainer
Many people walk right by the elliptical and head straight to the treadmill, but there are a number of convincing reasons that this machine is preferred over a treadmill:
• Less joint impact. Unlike running on the road or a treadmill, there’s no pounding of the joints. Plus, you can achieve the same level of fitness and recover much faster.
• The elliptical is suitable for everyone. It can be used by people of any age or fitness level.
• It provides a total-body workout. Besides the cardiovascular benefits of the elliptical, the arm motion gives your shoulders, chest, biceps and triceps a good workout. Leg motion builds up your quadriceps while protecting your hamstrings. And by maintaining an upright posture throughout the exercise, you can strengthen your core muscles.
As an added bonus, compared to a treadmill, the equipment takes up less space and is easier to move.
How to Use the Elliptical for Maximum Benefit
Here’s how to get the most out of your elliptical workout:
• Set your goals. Before starting out, formulate a plan for your workout. This includes time spent, the amount of repletion work and level of exertion.
• Work your arms. Your arms are not just along for the ride. Instead of hunching over, maintain an upright posture and work your arms at the same time.
• Pedal backward. Introduce a backward pedal into your routine. This works to strengthen your calf muscles.
There is a common misperception that using an elliptical trainer is ineffective. However, scientific studies have shown that if used correctly, it raises your heart rate more than a treadmill. It is also just as effective for improving fitness as other aerobic machines while limiting the stress and impact on your joints.