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Getting the Best Workout With Your Elliptical Machine

Monday, April 19th

Getting the Best Workout with Your Elliptical Machine

Many people know the tremendous benefits of using an elliptical machine. It's one of the best pieces of exercise equipment for potential aerobic workout, muscle tone and weight loss, all in a short amount of time. You can receive all these benefits on a low impact machine that protects your body from old and new injuries. However, no matter how good the equipment is, if not used properly, you will not receive any of these benefits.

The most important thing to remember to maximize your workout using an elliptical machine is to watch your form. You need to keep your shoulders back, your head straight, and your abdominal muscles engaged. You should look forward and not down at your feet. Since you're in a natural position, there should be no back pain as you are not leaning forward and reaching for anything.

When starting out for the first time on an elliptical trainer, be careful as you climb on and off the machine, as the pedals have no resistance to your weight. If you are newer to using the machine, it might take a brief moment to get used to the movement. Take some time to understand your machine and the different resistance and workout options. The higher resistance, the harder your legs work. It's like shifting to a higher gear on your bicycle. Also be aware that you can either pedal forward or backwards - each way works different muscles, so it's good to switch your direction either in the same workout, or do all one workout forward and the next backwards. Your first few times you will want a moderate workout for 15-20 minutes, as your body gets used to the machine and you are conscious of your form.

One problem many people encounter using elliptical machines is called the sleepy foot syndrome. Your feet will start to feel numb because that have been flat and motionless for a long period of time. A simple solution is to move your feet every so often while working out on the elliptical machine.

Once you're confident of your ability on the machine, find workouts that work for your needs. Most elliptical machines are full of preloaded workouts. You can choose fat burning, cardio, resistance and many more. Make sure you mix up your workouts, so your body does not get used to the same thing. Changing it up will maximize your potential for better results.

The elliptical machine is an excellent piece of exercise equipment. Once you spend some time getting to know the machine and how to make it work for you, you'll be able to maximize your workout experience.

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Elliptical Machine FAQ

An elliptical machine is a low-impact stationary cardio trainer that combines an upper and lower body workout. The user stands on the pedals, holding onto the handles with both arms outstretched, and moves his or her feet along the track in an oval-like (or "elliptical" ) path.
Some ellipticals are more expensive than others depending on their features - such as whether or not they include a touch screen, workout programs or tracking capabilities - and how long they are built to last. The most inexpensive ellipticals out there are priced around $350, but for a quality trainer that will last you for years, expect to pay at least $500-$1,000.
Ellipticals are predominantly cardio machines. Increasing the resistance and using the handlebars of your elliptical will engage, strengthen and tone nearly every muscle group, but if you're looking to build real bulk, you should probably look elsewhere.
Scientists have debunked spot-reduction weight loss. Only by creating a caloric deficit can you lose weight, and that weight loss will be distributed across your entire body. That being said, elliptical workouts are a fantastic way to create a caloric deficit and tone up at the same time.
In flywheel ellipticals, resistance is created by friction. The heavier the flywheel, the stronger the resistance and the smoother the movement. Magnetic resistance ellipticals are able to increase resistance levels with more accuracy and require less maintenance than their friction-dependent flywheel counterparts. Magnetic resistance ellipticals are quieter than flywheel ellipticals, but they are also typically more expensive.
Elliptical training cannot improve your running form or posture, but it can help you prepare to transition to running outdoors or on a treadmill. When done regularly and with enough intensity, elliptical training can increase your strength and stamina.
When compared to a high impact exercise like running, yes, elliptical training is much gentler on knees and joints. However, many elliptical users still report feeling pain or discomfort in their knees and feet as a result of pushing themselves too hard or having poor form.
As with any piece of fitness machinery, regular maintenance is necessary to prevent injury and to keep your machine functioning properly. Depending on how frequently your elliptical is used, you should have your elliptical serviced every 3-6 months. Check your user manual for more information.
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