When it comes to elliptical bikes there are several styles. There are ellipticals built to be in a gym ones for the road where you can use it like a bicycle.
The ellipticals for the gym come in commercial, light commercial, and home styles. Stationary ellipticals also come in mini elliptical machines for the home, work, and travel.
Benefits of an Elliptical
In the gym or at home the elliptical machine has wonderful health benefits to offer the user. Made to mimic the cross-country skiing movements offering both cardio and leg, buttock, and ab toning all during the workout. Some machines also come with upper body “poles” that you can use to work your arms, shoulders, and back for a complete workout.
Overall the elliptical machine is a very low-impact form of cardio exercise. Unlike running which can be jarring to the knees, hips, and back. Because of this more users find they are willing to exercise using the elliptical.
Because the ellipticals are designed to be able to pedal in either direction you can tone your legs in different ways for greater benefit.
To ensure you are getting a maximum workout on the elliptical just hook yourself up to a simple heart rate monitor and set your goals.
Whether or not you are buying one for the home or selecting which one to use at the gym, stride is important. If you are a taller person a cheap elliptical may only disappoint you. Another important feature not available on all ellipticals is the ability to change the incline for more comfort or to challenge your workout more.
The other option is to choose one with the arm attachments. These should be hooked up so when you walk the legs and arms are in opposite stride. This means when your left leg is back your left arm is forward. The opposite can have a negative impact on your results and coordination.
Top 5 Benefits of an Elliptical
1. Excellent Cardio Aerobic Activity
Using the elliptical will increase your heart rate and improve stamina and cardio fitness. Using the machine for 20 minutes or more a day will burn calories and is a great aerobic activity.
2. Total Body Functional Exercise
Even though the elliptical is considered low-impact it is a weight-bearing exercise. This means it has all the benefits of the movements requiring gravity resistance. The smooth working of the hip, shoulder, and knee joints makes it a preferred piece of exercise equipment for people with arthritis or other restrictions.
3. Great for Balance and Mobility
If you are just getting back into exercise because of surgery, injury, or just been absent; the elliptical will help to improve mobility as well as balance. Because of the arm and leg movements balance and core is also challenged. The low-impact nature of the machine will help to ease a person back into exercise without exposure to the same impact as other forms of exercise.
4. Built in Variety Workouts for Motivation
The commercial ellipticals and some home quality brands have electronic built-in workout programs that you can follow. Rather than getting bored by just striding day in and day out, selecting a different challenge will help keep the workout fresh and motivating. Keep record of your workouts and try and beat your most recent best.
5. Burn More Fat & Tone More Muscles
Benefit from the full-body aerobic exercise of the elliptical and burn more calories in the same period of time. Strengthen arms, legs, and shape your abs and glutes. All while trimming the fat off your body.
Commercial Elliptical Machines
A commercial grade elliptical found in the gym will be heavier and needs to be plugged in. It will also be bigger for longer stride and have a console with several bells and whistles that offers a variety of programmed workouts and levels of challenge to choose from.
Not all ellipticals offer the same variety but this is generally some of the stuff you will see on a commercially graded elliptical. Different settings are made to target cardio activity or focus more on your muscles.
Some machines will prompt you to switch from striding on the bike and stop to do squats or similar. All these are pre-programmed into the machine and can be selected for the workout.
Elliptical Programme Console
This is the heart and brain the machine. Often with a scrolling LED display that will greet you by asking you to put in your particulars like weight and duration of workout.
This is where you choose how fast, target heart rate (although you really should use a separate heart rate monitor for this), and program.
The console will indicate working data like current speed, elevation, time, and progression of a program to completion. At the end of a workout it will indicate if a goal has been reached and greet your with the accomplishment of your success.
If you have chosen a particular program to follow it will let you know when changes in resistance or elevation is coming and clearly indicate the intervals combining up. Using an elliptical bike for HIIT or interval training can be extremely rewarding and fun.
Choosing a Home Elliptical Bike
The elliptical sits fairly high off the floor making you taller. Make sure you have the head room (ceiling height) in the house.
The machine is usually about 6 feet long. You can get shorter ones but they are cheaper and may not give the desired comfort and workout. The width needed is around 2.5 feet. The foot print is smaller but the arm extensions require a wide swing area.
*KEEP CHILDREN AWAY* The elliptical has lots of moving parts and places for little ones to pinch fingers, toes, and catch clothing.
If at all possible, try the elliptical out first. Make sure the arm and leg strides are comfortable and feels natural. There are a variety of styles so some may have the feet or arms too close or too wide. The stride can be too short and on some machines the incline is on an uncomfortable down slope.
Adjustable incline on an elliptical is great. Some machines have a button control incline from the console and others require manual setting.
Who will be putting the machine together? If you aren’t usually “handy” with tools then this may be more challenging than you’d hoped. Many sellers of ellipticals also include professional assembly at an additional cost. In some cases you can ask for it to be included in the purchase price.
Maintenance will need to be done on any machine with moving parts. In some cases the warranty will cover annual maintenance visits or this can be purchased separately. If not the manual should clearly detail what is required for upkeep and maintenance. This can affect your warranty.
Other at-home ellipticals that are gaining increasing popularity for their smallness and portability attributes are the mini elliptical machines.
More on Ellipticals
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Elliptical road bikes
Elliptical weight loss