If you see a group of people jockeying to sign up for a particular piece of equipment, there’s a good chance that they’re vying for an elliptical machine. The elliptical machine is one of the best-kept secrets outside the fitness community. At first glance, this oddly shaped machine resembles a sort of upright bicycle that allows your feet to move against resistance without impact on the joints or bones. Here are a few ways this seemingly ordinary piece of equipment can give you extraordinary results:
Unlike running or walking, an elliptical machine lets you control the resistance of the foot pedals. This in turn, allows you to control the level of the workout for your legs.
- Muscle burns more calories than fat, so using a workout device with a muscle-boosting powers means that you’ll ultimately burn more calories while resting.
- Increase the resistance for a slower-paced workout that builds stronger lower body muscles.
- Reduce the resistance for a face-paced stride that works your cardiovascular system without straining you your muscles.
Range of Motion
Your stride on the elliptical machine can have a wide or minimal range of motion. Though you should keep in mind that the larger your range of motion while exercising, the more muscles your target.
- Raise the incline for an almost step-like motion, but with your choice of resistance. For example, a high incline setting on a high resistance setting would offer a more challenging workout than a high incline setting on a low resistance level.
For a butt-busting workout, a low incline setting on a high level of resistance can also be equally effective.
- Low incline with high resistance forces your inner thigh muscles to participate in the mobilization and control of the pedals.
- This is in contrast to the higher incline setting that can feel like you’re exerting less effort on the way down because gravity is helping your muscles move the pedal.
- What makes this last instance difficult is that you don’t have gravity working to help you lower the petals after reaching the apex of the incline.
- Always increase any resistance or incline setting gradually rather than forcing the change all at once. This protects you from losing your balance or rhythm in your stride. It also prevents you from overstraining or injuring yourself.
One of the features that makes the elliptical machine so effective, is the ability to stride backward- not just forward. Striding backward, at all different incline and resistance levels, works different muscles throughout your legs than if you were simply striding forward continuously.
- Alternate between a few minutes of forward striding and few minutes of backward striding. Constantly forcing your muscles to change improves your rate of calorie expenditure, and keeps you from slowing down or feeling bored.
- Striding backward requires some degree of balance, and isn’t something you should attempt until you become comfortable using the machine.
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