Do you love the elliptical trainer? Or with so many motions do you feel like a hippopotamus on roller skates! Well read on to get our top tips from Internet research.
There are plenty of science-backed benefits to the elliptical trainer, like improving fitness just as efficiently as the treadmill and sometimes even raising your heart rate more than the treadmill!
But, there’s actually a right and wrong way to use it. With the correct form and plan of attack, you can get a truly killer workout on the machine. Find out how to make the most of every stride with our do’s and don’ts below.
DO: Make a plan before hitting “start.”
Before even stepping foot on the machine, set an intention for the workout. Ask yourself what you want to achieve that day. Not having a goal is one of the biggest mistakes, you have to have a workout plan. Set yourself a timed or resistance goal or choose one of the machine programmes.
With handrails and fixed handles on the machine, it can be tempting to grab on and lean forward as your legs do all the work. Keep correct form by staying upright with a firm core and without hunching forward, slouching will simply make the workout feel easier, so it’s not doing you any favours. Supporting your weight by leaning on the handles or handrails is only fooling the machine so it will tell you your calorific expenditure is greater than it really is, plus poor form can also cause low back pain and muscular imbalances. Think – keep your head in line with your spine.
DO: Use the handles for a total-body workout.
For the most effective workout actively push and pull the moving levers while maintaining your upright posture. Keep your shoulders pulled back and down and engage your abs.
Another option is to work on the machine without holding on to the handrails…but be careful! Stay upright, keeping your abs engaged and pump your arms as if you were running. Keep your core muscles tight, imagine someone is going to punch you in the stomach. This will require the power to be generated from your lower body and require more core activation and balance.
DON’T: Ignore your feet
Align your feet with your hips, they should be exactly hip width apart. Face them forward and don’t turn inwards or outwards. There are very large places for your feet on most ellipticals and for many people, the hips will align in the inner-most edge; however it is not important to place your feet against any of the pedals edges, as long as the feet and hips are aligned.
Also take note of where your weight is balanced. If you use your heels, it will work your hamstrings & booty more or if you’re on your toes it will tone the front of your thighs. Pick your poison.
DO: Use the resistance
“The faster I move my legs the better my workout will be” – wrong! Wrong on the elliptical anyway as the machine uses a flywheel to spin around. So the faster you go the more momentum is generated meaning your muscles aren’t having to work very hard to keep the pedals going.
When you bump up the resistance, your arms and legs have to work harder to keep the elliptical moving … burning more fat and calories!
DON’T: Repeat your routine
Your body is very clever and is programmed to adapt to new stressors in about 4-6 weeks so performing the same routine day after day week after week will be effective initially but you’ll soon reach an exercise plateau.
For maximum fitness benefits interval training is the way to go but it’s also important to constantly change your exercise variables and with the elliptical trainer you can manipulate many variables, such as resistance and stride rate to make things more challenging. Compete against yourself to move up a level or go a further distance. Diversifying your workout will not only keep your body in top shape but it will make your workout more fun!
So there you have it. To get more out of your elliptical workout follow these hints and tips the next time you’re working out at FitnessPod.