Elliptical trainers provide a fun, effective and low impact workout. If you have never used an elliptical, there are a few things you should know before getting started. This article will look at information and exercise routines for people new to elliptical trainers.
Differences Between Ellipticals And Other Machines
One of the great advantages to home exercise machines is that you can workout in the comfort and privacy of your own home. You don’t have to pay health club fees, and bad weather never gets in the way of a workout.
Elliptical trainers are different from other machines. On an elliptical you place your feet on separate pedals that move in an elliptical, or oval-like, path. Your body remains upright during exercise. Newer machines also have handlebars that move and exercise your upper body as well.
What Is Low Impact?
Unlike treadmills, elliptical trainers are low impact. This means that your feet never leave the pedals. Ellipticals place almost no stress on your spine, hips and knees. This is especially important for people with arthritis or other joint problems.
Sometimes people who have weight problems have trouble exercising because of the joint discomfort associated with walking or running. Ellipticals solve this problem since they are low impact. The more advanced elliptical machines, like the new Miami model, can even handle people who weigh up to 400 pounds.
Even if you have never used an elliptical machine before, it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. You should read the machine’s user’s manual completely before you begin. When you first step on the machine will ask you to enter in some preliminary data, such as your weight, height and age.
You can start at the lowest level of resistance just to get used to the elliptical motion. Don’t worry about getting in a great workout at first. Just get used to the machine’s movement until you are comfortable.
When you do want to start to workout, begin gradually, especially if you have not been exercising at all. It is a good idea to consult with a doctor or personal trainer if you have been inactive for a long time.
Beginner Elliptical Routine
The best starting routine is about 5-10 minutes at the easiest setting or low resistance. Do this on Monday, Wednesday and Friday (M-W-F) during the first week. Do not increase the incline of the machine yet (more on this later).
The second week, increase your time to 15-20 minutes, the same three days per week (M-W-F).
The third week, increase your time to 30 minutes, three times a week.
Take It Slow At First, Then Increase Work
You might be tempted to go faster or harder, but try to be patient. If your body is not used to exercising, your heart, lungs, muscles, joints and nerves need some time to get adjusted.
The fourth week of training you can continue 30 minute workouts every M-W-F. From here you have two options. Make your choice based on how you feel at the end of your workouts.
If you feel very tired at the end of the workout, then it is best to add days to your exercise. So instead of just M-W-F, add in Tuesday and Thursday for a total of five days a week.
On the other hand, if you don’t feel tired at the end of each workout, you can gradually:
- Increase workout time by 5 minute increments
- Increase resistance by 1 level every 2-3 weeks
- Add incline by 10% every month
As you progress, you can see how you feel either adding extra workout days, time, resistance or incline to your workout. One of the advantages to adding incline is that at the same speed you will burn more fat per minute.
Some advanced elliptical models, like the new Miami, have iPad docking stations that allow you to use fitness apps like, myLiveLight. These apps use Bluetooth 4.0 technology and an accompanying wireless weight scale to program workout routines for you. You just set up your personal profile, and the app does the rest.
Want To Know Which Elliptical Is Best For You?
If you want to lose weight, keep fit or train for sports, a good elliptical can help you reach your goals. Check out the different options and buying tips in our elliptical buying guide.