Ellipticals are growing in popularity in gyms, and they’re a great choice for home use as well.
Thanks to their design, ellipticals used properly can offer a more effective workout than other types of gym equipment, like treadmills and stationary bikes. The health benefits of ellipticals are even more pronounced when you buy a high-quality brand that’s designed for maximum effectiveness.
What is an Elliptical?
An elliptical is a piece of exercise equipment that combines many of the best qualities of a stationary bike, treadmill and stair stepper into a single piece of equipment that simulates running. The movement is smoother, however, as your feet move in a circular motion rather than strictly up and down. This sort of gliding motion is very natural for your body and helps to provide a full-body workout.
Ellipticals offer a more thorough and intense workout than many other types of fitness equipment. Depending on what a user wants to get out of their workout, an effective workout might consist of toning select areas of their body or burning a certain amount of calories. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds can lose up to 400 calories in just 30 minutes of exercise on an elliptical depending on the speed and intensity of the workout. This makes it a much more efficient use of your time and effort than other types of fitness equipment which focus on just one area of the body at a time.
Many ellipticals do have one major flaw: They force you to lean forward somewhat, which causes you to push off from the toes rather than the heel. This works your quadriceps, but does less for other muscles in your legs. A better-designed elliptical, like the Precor EFX, allows the user to maintain perfect posture and drive the motion from the heel forward, creating a workout for the gluteus, hamstrings and quads.
What Are the Benefits of Using an Elliptical?
In addition to its full-body aerobic capabilities, ellipticals provide many other benefits:
- Ellipticals are low impact. Because people move in a smooth gliding motion, there’s no jarring up-and-down movement and no repeated impact such as what you would get from running. This makes them ideal for exercisers with joint problems or who have a difficult time running due to their weight.
- Ellipticals offer both aerobic and strength-training exercise. Users can program their elliptical to simulate resistance — the amount of power needed to move through their stride. However, Precor ellipticals are the only pieces of equipment on the market that feature an incline setting, which can help to strengthen and tone a person’s legs. Moving your whole body also keeps your heart pumping throughout the workout, which makes it a valuable aerobic machine.
- Ellipticals are well-suited to circuit training. Since users don’t need to wait for a belt to warm up like you would a treadmill, they can just hop on and off the elliptical as needed. This saves time and prevents exercisers from losing inertia during a circuit-training workout.
Of course, not all elliptical machines are equal, and it pays to shop for the perfect match when buying one for a home gym.