Each and every year, around 75% of runners deal with injury as they put themselves through the rigors of training. Many of these injuries are of the overuse variety, meaning the runners will do too much training, and push their bodies beyond what it an appropriate progressive overload of training stimulus and lead to injury. A lifetime of pushing through small aches and pains leads to extended setback periods where runners are unable to run at all to maintain their fitness levels and energy systems and a natural atrophying of those muscles will occur.
Runners are then tasked with building their strength levels and energy systems back up to peak condition, without being able to safely run properly. What’s the solution? Cross-training with Elliptical Machines. According to a study from the US National Library of Medicines, which examined runners recovering from injury, results showed “significant increase in KOOS and IKDC scores (two common measurements of knee pain) and hop distance” (0.2 meters). Additionally, subjects displayed “improved pivoting proprioception when tested under a minimum weight-bearing position”. These results were achieved within a controlled six week training period.
The low-impact smooth motion of the Elliptical Machine makes it ideal for easing back into a training regimen after injury. Adjustable resistance, slope, and various training programs programmed within the Elliptical Machine are just a couple reasons why Physical Therapists frequently recommend Elliptical Machines as a means to get back into running shape. It’s essentially the perfect training simulation for those looking to get a taste of the running motion in a controlled, safe environment before they return to normal running.
Incorporation of the Elliptical Machine into a normal training regimen is actually pretty simple. If you would ordinarily run for around 40 minutes on average, you can do 40 minutes on the Elliptical Machine the same way. Adjusting the incline to simulate a flat surface is highly recommended as well as using the “arms” to swing back and forth as if you’re running is optimal for simulating the running motion.
When coming off of an injury, as a general rule of thumb when it comes to progressive overload, never increase the total training volume by more than 10% in a given workout. Meaning if you are working your way back up to 100 minutes, don’t progress by more than 10 minutes in a given day. Doing so would rapidly increase your chances of inflaming and aggravating your old injuries. Once the runner has been cleared by their MD/PT, starting off light with 10 minutes on the Elliptical and progressing using the 10% rule is recommended. Utilization of this protocol will help put the runners best foot forward to ensure a speedy return to the sport in the safest manner possible.
To check out some of the best Elliptical Machines on the market with complete reviews and brand comparisons, check out this article.
Link to National Library of Medicine Study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4501904/
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