As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Curious to know what is an elliptical? Well, there is a universe of exercise equipment and among them, one of the brilliant stars is an Elliptical Trainer. It is stationary workout equipment with a mechanism to mimic stair climbing, cross-country skiing, walking, or running motion, etc. which depends on your workout intensity. This strives to present you with a low-impact exercise that is gentle on your knees, hips, ankle, and other joints.
Some high-quality elliptical machine comes with handles or poles to pump up your arms along with your legs. Besides, you can target specific muscle groups and tone them up. Varying the resistance, you can get a HIIT or LISS workout that will preserve your cardio fitness in a tip-top position. Here, you can grind some weight effectively just like a treadmill.
The usage of this machine is pretty simple. At first, you might face minor coordination issues. But once you get hang of it, you will see how fun and engaging an elliptical ride is.
So, how about we have exploration on the elliptical equipment. This will give you a vast idea of this particular machine. So, you can consider whether it fits your workout goals and obviously your space.
First off, we will start with its record. The elliptical trainer hit the fitness industry in the 1990s which was first introduced by the Precor. For the discovery of the elliptical trainer, the rider used an arrangement of links which is also referred to as four-bar linkage. Where the pedals are connected to the floating links known as the coupler. In 1988, the researcher submitted the work of elliptical path generation at Purdue University. The research showed the path of a point on the floating link approximately matches an elliptical path. Then the Precor presented the very first Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer (EFX) in the market. It used to enable the foot to roll from heel to toe, more like running. While the patented mechanism involved a rear flywheel with a forward foot pedal, generating a fluid elliptical motion.
An elliptical trainer features two pedals that are suspended from the ground. It moves back and forth, up and down, and generates an oval-shaped track. The pedals never hit the ground so the users are moving on a generated fluid motion track. It is proven to be beneficial for people with back pain issues.
Here, you won’t get any saddle like other exercise equipment. Hence, the elliptical puts you in an upright position. But puts less stress on the knee, hips, and back joints like running.
Some cheap model has fixed handles which can’t be used for hand workout. However, moderate to high-priced elliptical models have moving handles or poles. The handles are connected to the pedal link and positioned below your shoulder height. So, the rider grips the arms and performs push and pull while pedaling the feet back and forth in an elliptically shaped path. This provides you with both upper and lower body workouts.
In an elliptical trainer, you can adjust incline or resistance settings to get a simple to a vigorous workout regimen. The top-notch brand comes with a console to give you stats on fitness data like heart rate, distance, calorie burn, time, and many more. So also feature Bluetooth connectivity for interactive training.
Elliptical machines are categorized into many types depending on the styles and placement of the flywheel or drive system. Now, here’s the thing, the old version of elliptical is “rear-drive type”, the second generation of elliptical is “front-drive type” and the latest edition is the “center-drive type”. You can choose one that suits your best interest and workout demand.
Now, let’s discover all the prevalent types of an Elliptical Trainer:
- Standard Elliptical Trainers: It is the basic elliptical trainer that you are familiar with. Features two-foot pedals to stand over and a fixed handle. Hence, the pedals will only move in a circular direction. You can realize that here you will only get a lower body workout. Particularly of quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
- Elliptical Cross-Trainers: Cross-trainer, the very name is pretty self-explanatory. Here, you will get moving handles. While working out in a cross trainer, both the handles and the pedals will move. Hence, giving you a full-body workout. During the push and pull of the handles, you are working on your elbows, shoulders, back, and chest. At the same time, you are targeting the lower body in pedaling.
- Elliptical Gliders: You can call it a twin of the standard elliptical trainer. The only difference is the pedal doesn’t move in a circular motion. They move up and down in a backward motion. But they also enable you to use the forward motion and you can get more resistance by moving forward. In this trainer, basically, you are gliding so it is named accordingly. Due to its backward pedaling, you can target hamstrings and the back of thighs.
- Recumbent Elliptical: If you want to work out in an elliptical in a sitting position then recumbent elliptical is your best bet. A recumbent elliptical features a well-padded seat, backrest, moving handles, and pedals positioned at the front. It offers a lower-impact exercise which is good for people with a lower back problem and limited mobility. With various adjustment points and comfort, you can ride it for a long time.
- Rear Drive Elliptical Trainers: As I earlier, it is the grandpa of the modern time elliptical trainer. Early released by Precor in the ’90s, featuring flywheel at the back of the machine. Where the pedals are placed in the center. This offers a longer stride in front of the machine.
- Front Drive Elliptical Trainers: It is a bit more advanced than the previous one. The name suggests the location of the flywheel is in the front. In this type of elliptical, you will get a vertical range in motion which mimics stair climbing. This trainer is also referred to as a shuffle trainer and it keeps you closer to the ground of your home gym. Those who have stability issues can look for this machine.
- Center Drive Elliptical Trainers: Center drive elliptical is a newbie in the field. However more proficient than others. You can understand the drive system or flywheel is situated in the middle, so the name is characterized accordingly. They are considered a great option for home use due to their compact size. Besides, here you can do a full-body workout similar to the cross-trainer that can simulate walking or jogging.
The health benefits of elliptical are immense. Besides, it suits various fitness goals and can help you reach them. Here, we have written down the ways it can benefit you. Have a look.
Provide full Body Workout:
Unlike a stationary bike or other exercise machines, an elliptical provides you full-body workout at once. It has moving handles to work up the arms, shoulders, back muscles, and core. Where the pedals work on your lower body includes quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and shins. As a result, an elliptical can provide an efficient workout regimen.
Tell me, how does it feel to walk around with a judgmental stare at your chubby body? It snatches the confidence and replaces it with insecurity. You can give them a tight slap by losing body fat. In this regard, an elliptical can help you torch a significant amount of calories. Depending on your body weight, an elliptical can burn around 250-400 calories in 30-minute. If you increase the workout intensity, you can burn more calories. Over time, you will get gorgeous abdominal muscles and a fit body.
Build Endurance and Stamina:
As we know, riding an elliptical gives you aerobic exercise which is also known as the cardio workout. So, it involves your heart and lung working harder for supplying blood and oxygen to your muscle. In return, it toughens up your heart, lung, and muscles. Ultimately, build up your endurance and stamina for grinding longer and harder in the gym. You can perform both HIIT and LISS workouts in an elliptical trainer.
Gentle on the Joints:
An elliptical provides low-impact exercise. Hence, it is kinder to different joints in your body. In case of running or walking, your knees, ankles, hips, and other joints endure beating. However, in an elliptical, you will barely lift off your legs from the machine. Also, it reduces weight-bearing and has fewer chances of wear and tear like other cardio workouts. Hence, the physician often recommends an elliptical to injured or recovery phase patients to get relief from ache and injury.
Some people have a balance issue. They can’t perform well in a high space. So, the pedals in the elliptical are designed closer to the ground. And people can easily ride the machine without the fear of falling out. Besides, this type of exercise machine compels you to engage your core muscles. So, you can improve your balance and work out nicely.
The elliptical trainer is not all goodies but it also comes with some drawbacks. Here, we have listed some of the common hardships you may face.
- Initially, it will be confusing and clumsy for a rider to get accustomed to the elliptical movement. So, you may take some time to get natural with the trainer. In this case, you ask for a certified rider for helping you out if you are unsure about the application of the machine.
- The elliptical move is different than any other exercise machine. Hence, sometimes it activates the core and leg muscles differently. Now, according to expert physicians, activating muscles differently can lead to injury and severe pain if your body can’t comply with the new movement patterns.
- Riding an elliptical has a lower impact than running or walking. Hence, your legs endure less stress and you will gain comparatively less strength in your legs. Due to this, you may have a lower increment in bone density. So, you can try out the additional strength training.
- In a standard elliptical trainer, you will only get a lower body workout. Whereas, for an upper-body workout you need to add some workout routine.
- Advanced elliptical trainers are costlier than other exercise equipment. Where standard models cost around $1000 and top-notch ones with additional features may range from $3000-$4000. Moreover, you have to pay annual maintenance costs.
For newbies, what is an elliptical is a common query. Elliptical trainers are the most used exercise machine in the gym. It has moving pedals with handles that can either move or be fixed. You will find various types of ellipticals that suit your fitness demand and health condition. It gives you many fitness benefits and helps you to be better day by day. Target the entire body muscle, increase endurance and stamina, make your heart pump more blood, good on your joints, and many more benefits. Now, that you have read this article, I am sure it will help you to consider one for your workout regimen.
Still, if you want to look for one, you can check our best elliptical article.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.