Last Updated on November 4, 2021 by Jeff
Undoubtedly, ellipticals are some of the most wanted and used exercise machines nowadays. If anyone wants to start or end their workout with some wholesome cardio that gets their heart rate up, burns fat, and builds muscle without trauma, they go for the elliptical.
Still, there are some pitfalls that people get into when they use the elliptical. That’s why we’ve formulated this list of tips and tricks to help everyone deal with their ellipticals much better and get the most out of their workouts.
First, let’s start with some safety tips that will ensure that you steer clear from injuries, which is always a priority.
Get to Know Your Machine
You can’t deal with any machine without knowing its ins and outs, and an elliptical is no different. Carefully read your users’ manual, figure out the screen, what each number relates to, and know how to place your hands correctly on the sensors so that you can keep an eye on your heart rate and any other vital that the machine is capable of reading.
Also, knowing your machine means knowing what kind of sounds it produces regularly. So, if its sound starts to become unfamiliar to your ear, you’ll know that you need to take it to the shop for maintenance.
It’s the advice of every trainer to warm up properly before any exercise so that you don’t risk serious injury. When you jump on the elliptical, start slowly to ease your body and muscles into the workout.
Then, step by step, start to increase the resistance and incline, especially if you’ve been off track for quite some time.
P.S.: don’t forget to stretch before and after any exercise.
Hydration is key. It’s often said that water purifies the body, and without water, the blood volume will go down. Not to mention, it’ll be thicker, so the heart will have a much harder time pushing it through blood vessels to reach all of your body parts.
This results in something known as reflex tachycardia, which is common amongst athletes for various reasons. This means that your heart rate will go up exponentially quite fast, leading to shortness of breath and possibly, fainting, which can be rather hazardous if you’re on the elliptical and you fall from it.
So, make sure that you enter the gym or step on your elliptical while you’re already hydrated. Plus, keep your water bottle next to you at an arm’s reach so that you can continue drinking throughout your exercise.
Know the Correct Posture
The wrong posture in any exercise could cost you the result that you’ve been waiting for. With an elliptical, you ought to stand straight, keeping your back aligned and your shoulders to the back. Additionally, if possible, try to keep your core area and abdomen as tense as possible so that you work them out too.
Now, we’ll jump to another type of tip. This category will help you enhance your workout and achieve even greater results than what you aimed for.
Handles can be a tricky subject when it comes to ellipticals. You must learn when to hold them and when to let go of them. Yet, the general rule is that you mustn’t put much weight on them.
Actually, you only need to hold them ever so lightly so that you can exercise your arms in parallel with your legs, but that’s it. Shifting your weight to the handles will take away much of the work that’s supposed to be done by your backside and leg muscles.
How you place your feet on the elliptical and how you distribute your weight are essential. First of all, you must never stand on your toes on an elliptical.
Make sure that your heels are placed firmly against the footrests and that most of your weight is deposited on them so that you properly utilize your leg muscles to create movement.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to place your elliptical in front of your TV and start a show or a YouTube video; without knowing it, your thirty minutes will be up, and your workout will be done.
The thing is, anything visual tends to take up too much of your concentration that very little is left to sustain the proper alignment and core tightness needed for the workout.
Hence, the best way to go about things with exercises is to put on music. Music naturally excites people, so it’ll push you to exercise much harder and stimulate you to increase the lifespan of your workouts.
Mix Up the Resistance and the Incline
The resistance and the incline knobs serve two different goals. Each works on a specific group of muscles when increased, so the optimal exercise will definitely include both of them, either individually or together. As you increase your incline, you’ll start to feel the burn in your glutes.
On the other hand, resistance works on your arms and legs, like strengthening your muscles and increasing their overall bulk.
We know it sounds a bit funny, and in the beginning, it’ll feel funny when you try it. Nevertheless, going backward will exercise your hamstrings as nothing else would. Also, it’d be a breath of fresh air to spice up your workout a bit.
Break Down your Exercise
Sticking to one exercise and doing it every day makes you feel entirely comfortable. However, your results will start to go down gradually as your body becomes accustomed to the specific exercise.
That’s why it’s important to mix up the speed, inclination, and resistance of your elliptical. Maybe even incorporate some elliptical HIIT workouts for a little bit, then go at a slower pace.
Additionally, you can throw dumbbells into the mix to further exercise your arms and engage your abdomen. All of that is bound to create much better results.
This is kind of an extension of the previous point. One thing that you can do with an elliptical is to inject some pure core exercises. In other words, when you’ve reached a certain level of inclination, speed, or resistance during your training, jump off the elliptical and do some push-ups, planks, squats, or any other core exercise that you prefer.
Then, jump back on the elliptical. If you’re working out for around sixty minutes, you can do that every twenty minutes, and you’ll be taking your exercise to a whole new level.
Ellipticals are excellent workout machines, as they cater to all aspects of exercise. There are some excellent models to choose from, such as the Schwinn 430, the Proform Endurance 520 E Elliptical, the NordicTrack Freestride, and the NordicTrack se7i.
No matter what the aim behind your workout is, an elliptical will help you achieve that as it helps you burn fat, strengthen your muscles, and build up your muscle bulk. It even improves your overall posture as it forces you to stand straight and keep that alignment for the length of the workout.