Whether you are new to the world of fitness or you have a lot of experience, figuring out how to use every piece of exercise equipment can be an overwhelming task. Even if you generally understand how each machine works, you might not know which muscles each machine focuses on.
One such machine that can confuse someone is the elliptical trainer. What is an elliptical trainer, and is it different from a cross trainer or not? When you see an elliptical in the gym, you might know what it is, or you might not. Either way, we’ll teach you about this exercise machine today so that you can incorporate it into your next workout.
What Is an Elliptical Trainer?
An elliptical trainer is a type of stationary exercise equipment. To use this piece of equipment, you put your feet on the pedals and your hands on the handrails. Then, you push into your feet to move the pedals in circles without lifting your feet!
This type of workout is meant to focus on your cardiovascular system, much like using a treadmill does. As you work out, your heart rate and breathing rate should both go up. Unlike a treadmill though, the elliptical trainer does not put much stress on your knees or hips, so it’s a super low-impact option for those who are recovering from injury.
When using an elliptical trainer, you can increase the resistance to make it more difficult to push the pedals. That increases the difficulty of the workout while also increasing your heart rate. Building up this resistance overtime is a great way to train your cardiovascular system.
Elliptical Trainer vs. Cross Trainer
You’ve probably seen both an elliptical and a cross trainer in the gym before, and it’s possible that you had no idea that they were two different types of exercise equipment. That’s a completely normal thing because the cross trainer is actually a type of elliptical trainer.
That’s right; it’s just a specialized elliptical trainer. You could actually call both types of equipment ellipticals, but that would get confusing.
A cross trainer adds in upper body strength training to the lower body workout that an elliptical already provides. The “arms” of the cross trainer move with your body so that you get a full body workout rather than just a lower body workout. Nevertheless, both machines work your cardiovascular system as well.
There is even another type of elliptical, which is the recumbent elliptical cross trainer, wherein you sit down to work out. You move both your arms and your legs still, but the pressure of the workout is removed from your back even more, so it can be great for those with back problems or even for pregnant women who could use the relief.
How to Use an Elliptical Trainer?
Using an elliptical trainer doesn’t have to be hard at all!
Before you try using one though, it is important to check with your doctor and ensure that you are cleared for physical activity. While most people can use the elliptical in some manner, it is always good to check with your doctor if you have any unforeseen conditions that might cause you additional pain while working out.
If you’re all set to go, check out this video to learn how to use the elliptical for the first time:
Once you’ve learned the basics of using a simple elliptical trainer, you might be interested in moving up to the cross trainer elliptical machine to get a full body workout.
When you are ready for that workout, this video has a lot of great tips on how to do a great workout on this machine:
Do you think you have the technique down pat? Then it is time for you to get working out.
Benefits of Using an Elliptical Trainer
Now that you know how to use an elliptical trainer, you might still be wondering why using an elliptical trainer is worth it. There are many benefits to this type of exercise equipment, and let’s talk about a few of them.
1. Protects Joints
As mentioned, the elliptical is a low-impact exercise machine. Using an elliptical is nearly impact-free, so it is great for anyone with bad joints or who wants to protect their joints from potential injury.
2. Faster Weight Loss
Because of the high number of muscles used by the body when working out, cross trainer elliptical machines have been shown to be just as effective (if not more effective) than the treadmill at helping you lose weight.
3. Easy to Change Intensity
Without getting too complicated, you can quickly switch up the intensity while using an elliptical trainer by increasing the resistance. Increased resistance makes you work harder and leads you to work out better out.
4. Good Recovery Exercise
Do you do strength training? If so, it’s essential that you find easy ways to alternate your strength training with recovery exercises to balance out all the resistance exercises. Using an elliptical trainer is one way to get better overall gains by allowing your muscles proper recovery time.
5. Great for Home Gyms
Many people want to work out at home, but they don’t know how to do that effectively without having to invest in multiple pieces of exercise equipment. Investing in a cross trainer elliptical machine is a great way to do just that. This machine can easily give your whole body a workout, and altering the resistance makes it accessible to everyone at home.
Are You Ready to Try?
So, what is an elliptical trainer? At the most basic level, an elliptical trainer is a type of exercise equipment that offers you a low-impact cardio workout that will build strength in your whole body. Using an elliptical is very easy, so anyone can use it without any prior training.
If you are looking for a smart investment for your home gym, the elliptical is a great choice because of how easy it is to get a full body work out while using a single machine.