Amongst the maze of Home Fitness Equipment available in the market today, Elliptical Trainers are becoming the preferred choice of a majority of health enthusiasts, solely owing to the unparalleled Elliptical Benefits. Indeed, no other training equipment can boast of such varietal advantages. Whether you flip a magazine with weight loss success stories, or glance at some online snippets of your favorite sportsperson’s workout regime, you’ll be amazed at how often they point out to the use of elliptical machines for cardio and strength training.
Before we take you through the wide spectrum of elliptical benefits, let’s try and understand the various parts of an elliptical trainer and how it functions.
What exactly does an Elliptical Machine do?
With all this talk about elliptical benefits all over the place, pushy salespersons often forget to tell you what exactly an elliptical machine does in the first place! Don’t worry; we’re here to explain.
What you essentially do when you use an elliptical trainer is to place your feet on the pedals and either hold a horizontal, stationary grab bar (when you only need a lower body workout) or hold the arms of the trainer and move them akin to ski poles, for both upper and lower body workout. Now based on the following variable factors, you can achieve various levels of cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
- Resistance of the Pedals (also their backward or forward movement)
- Stride Length (refers to how long your steps are, so the taller you are, the larger is your stride length)
- Incline (the slope at which you’re working out)
While the simplest elliptical machines may only have stationary handle bars and do not facilitate upper body workouts, most other intermediate and advanced models are designed for complete body workout, and strength training in addition to cardio.
Remember this fitness machine has especially been designed to mimic natural human movements like walking, running, jogging, skiing, stairs climbing etc, in a manner which is fluid, swift and non-strenuous on your joints or weak body parts such as your back or waist.
1. Pedals: No matter what kind of mechanical action you’re engaged in, your feet are accommodated on the pedals, be it with forward or backward movements, or varied levels of resistance and stride. The spacing, height and foot size of pedals is crucial to the machine’s ergonomics.
2. Motor: An integral component that generates pedal resistance.
3. Flywheel: A chain-like structure to which the pedals are connected, responsible for the smoothness of your movement. It is located next to the motor. Based on the location of the flywheel and motor, one can classify elliptical machines into three categories.
4. Grip Bar
- Rear Drive Models– The flywheel and motor are located towards your back (ideal for shorter stride)
- Front Drive Models– The flywheel and motor are located towards the front (ideal for taller people with longer stride)
- Center Drive Models– Usually compact machines with centrally-located flywheel and motor.
: Could be a single stationary bar, or vertical moving bars, or a combination of both.
5. Ramp: Some elliptical trainers come with ramps that have adjustable incline.
6. Console: This is basically the interface between the user and the machine. A number of elliptical machines comes with hi-tech consoles with USB chargers, iPod compatibility and in-built entertainment options. Others are just basic models displaying limited data like speed, distance covered, calories burned etc.
Top 10 Elliptical Benefits that’ll bowl you over!
- Does not adversely impact joints- Being ergonomically designed for an effective, yet low impact workout, you can be rest assured of no undue pressure on your joints.
- Boosts cardiovascular health- By enabling you to smoothly run, jog, walk, climb stairs etc well within the comfort of your home.
- Provides dual benefits of Strength Training and Cardio- A number of ellipticals provide options of working the muscles in your shoulders, hands, chest etc, apart from your feet and legs. So you’re not just engaging in routine cardio, but a complete body workout!
- No Muss, No Fuss- These fitness machine designed to be comfortable and fuss-free. So you don’t need prior training to start using it, nor do you need a personal instructor to assist you.
- Comparatively noise-free- Since your feet do not land on the ground, the motion is relatively silent and you can exercise in peace, knowing that people around are not irked by the noise!
- Enables you to burn more calories in less time- This is simply because you can work multiple muscles at the same time, based on the workout program you’ve selected!
- High Degree of Customization- Even with the most basic elliptical machines, you’re provided with a reasonable degree of customizable features to ensure a fulfilling workout.
- Beats the Monotony- Since you don’t have to stick to a single exercise pattern, you can experiment with different pre-fed programs or create your own personalized programs. Great for scaling new plateaus, knowing that you’re getting fitter with each passing day!
- Vast Range of Compact Models for Home Use- While the commercial models are bulky, most Home Elliptical Machines are foldable or come with wheels. So like most home owners, you don’t have to worry about the space occupied!
- Equally great for Rookies and Professionals- There’s an elliptical trainer for everyone, no matter what your current fitness level or health condition is!
Now that you’re a pro as far as the basic functionality of an elliptical trainer, its various parts and the numerous elliptical benefits are concerned, it’s time to dive straight into its various features and parameters that’ll guide your purchase decision!