These low-impact cardio trainers have grown in popularity in the recent years and you are most likely to find them in any gym or health club alongside the treadmills, stationary bikes, and rowers amongst others.
The elliptical trainers can also be used at home. Trainers stand on the top of the trainer pedals and then, grabbing the handle, move legs without lifting them in an elliptical or oval pattern while the hands move back and forth.
The elliptical trainers are unique in the sense that they combine several types of movements such as a bicycle, a stair stepper and the cross country ski machine that trainers can simulate.
The machine is very easy to use and quite gentle on the joints.
One of the biggest advantages of using the elliptical trainers is that they provide increased aerobic capacity. This is one of the key aspects of fitness.
High aerobic capacity means you can perform exercises for a long period of time without falling short of breath. It does this by increasing your heart rate thus endowing you with good aerobic fitness that can help you exercise for longer durations.
This can be advantageous when you want to really burn calories during a weight loss program.
Elliptical training is highly suited for low-impact trainers who suffer a lot of pain in the joints or bone conditions. Such include people with arthritis, osteoporosis or even ligament tears.
Elliptical training places very minimal impact on the joints that would cause the pain or discomfort. As a result, it is also a preferred trainer for the elderly, the obese or people who are rehabbing from a surgery, knee or ligament injury.
The other advantage is that they provide a total body workout thus enabling you to work all parts of the body at the same time.
As opposed to other trainers where emphasis is placed only one part such as the leg muscles, the elliptical trainer can help you in working both the upper and lower part of the body simultaneously and you can accomplish this in under 20 minutes.
That means you can work your arms, chest, back shoulders. The trainers are also good for the lower body exercise if that is an area of the body that you would like to focus on.
Best Elliptical Machine
You can be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a suitable elliptical trainer for your needs.
The best elliptical machine will have features such as a smooth ride, sturdiness, quietness, stride length, ease of use, stability, good warranty and advantageous pricing. Ultimately, the best elliptical trainer for your needs will depend on a number of individual choices, or if you are looking for something cheaper.
Some of the top rated elliptical trainers include the Sole E95 which is one of the best, if not the best, elliptical trainers. Other top rated elliptical trainers include the Octane Fitness Q37ci and the Precor EFX. For the best priced elliptical trainer which is also top rated, choose the Schwinn 430, a cheap but top quality trainer that goes for about $799. The Sole E95 and Octane Fitness Q37ci cost upwards of $2600.
Difference between the elliptical trainers and the treadmills
Both the treadmills and elliptical trainers are good for cardio workouts.
While the treadmill is applied in standard workouts, in the elliptical trainers, the feet move in an elliptical or oval pattern and never leave the surface of the trainer.
Because the feet do not knock the ground, the elliptical training machines are well suited for the low impact trainers.
Types of elliptical trainers
There are six types of elliptical trainers which you can choose from, each of which has some unique differentiating feature that sets it apart from the others.
- the compact trainers,
- recumbent trainers,
- mini trainers,
- portable trainers,
- and seated trainers.
Their ease of use and low impact training capability make them ideally suited for home use. But which ones are most suitable? Here you can choose smaller models that have been designed and refined for home use.
Depending on your budget and preferences, you can find home elliptical trainers that cost as low as $130 or as high as $3000.
How to use the elliptical trainers
Before working out on the trainer, always begin your exercise sessions with a gradual warm-up. It’s good to get some orientation from the trainer if you are using this for the first time.
When you are stepping onto the elliptical trainer, face the console.
The monitor will turn on only after you begin pedaling forward motion while performing a back and forth push and pull with your hands. It is important to follow the instructions on the consoles when setting out your workout sessions to ensure you get it right.
The elliptical trainer usually has some preset instructions that you can work with. It is recommended that you use a forward pedaling motion as it provides for ease of balancing. Do not grip too tightly on the handles and remember to disembark from the elliptical trainers only when it has completely stopped.
One cautionary step to take when pedaling or working out is slowing down when you are feeling faint or weak.
The pricing for the elliptical trainers varies broadly from $130 to $5000 depending on the features and manufacturers. Top end brands such as Precor EFX, Smooth Agile DMT, Sole E, Diamondback EF, Vision Fitness S7, and LifeFitness X cost upwards of $2000.
These have features such as warm-up and cool modes, multiple workout options, auto-adjust incline features, workout duration time, the number of calories burned, distance covered, heart-rate monitoring and many other accessories. These characteristics usually make the workout machine a good buy but you can get cheaper options with stripped down features.
For example, at the second tier are machines such as Sole E, the ProForm Front Drive, the Nordic Track Rear Drive and the Schwinn 400 that cost anything between $800 and $1300. These can miss some of the features such as the reading rack, water holder, cooling fan, quick starts and even the warm up and cooling modes.
At the bottom end are ultra-low cost elliptical trainers that can go for as low as $130 but you will have to do without all the frills and desired features and are generally smaller and lighter in design.