The elliptical machine is a gym tool that seems to divide fitness fans. On the one hand, you have lots of gymgoers who really like it and always make time for a little bit of elliptical during a visit. And then, on the other, you have people who can’t stand this piece of cardio kit and would rather do anything else.
The problem with the elliptical machine seems to be that it intimidates people, especially new gymgoers. For a start, it looks kind of funny. It also feels a little strange at first. It takes a while to realise that it emulates natural movements, like the treadmill, but it does so in a slower, more drawn out physical arc.
This guide to some of the key benefits of using the elliptical machine will help you get to grips with this workhorse of the gym.
The elliptical machine is great for exercise, because it delivers much of the same pressure and power that the treadmill does, but it manages to do so in a more fluid and natural manner. In other words, if you work out on one of these machines, you are essentially running, but without the extreme impact on your feet and joints.
Cross Training Capacities
If you can find an elliptical machine with adjustable, moveable handles, you can actually expand your whole workout. These handles are used to get a full body workout; they involve the arms as well as the legs. This is a great for anybody who finds themselves in a rush at the gym. Instead of jumping from machine to machine, you can get your cardio fix on just one.
These days, most modern elliptical machines come with a wide variety of different workout programs. The reverse stride is one of the most woefully underrated. Just the simple act of repeating the same exercise, but in reverse, can have a huge impact on the quality of a workout. It targets different muscle groups and strains your body in a new way, so don’t be afraid to give it a go.
Perceived Effort Is Lower
According to a number of different studies, people usually work harder on the elliptical machine than they do the treadmill, but they do not feel like they are making as much effort. This means that it is, technically, easier to sustain a workout on one of these machines. If you are the kind of person who finds it tough to push past that pain barrier, it could be time to think about switching things up and trying the elliptical for a change.
A Few Minor Downsides
There are a few disadvantages to working on the elliptical machine, as opposed to the treadmill or cross-trainer. The most prominent is the fact that the elliptical raises the body off the ground. It does not produce the same impact or force on the feet and joints as the treadmill. For older people, this joint strengthening impact is an important part of cardio based exercise.
Also, as most elliptical machines are designed to give you a boost and then allow the machine to coast on your speed and momentum, it is possible to work at a rate that does not outpace the electric motor. If you do not work hard or fast enough, the machine will take all of the pressure and strain and you won’t get an effective workout.