An elliptical trainer is a solid purchase and a worthwhile addition to almost any home gym. It provides you with a full body workout, it’s gentle on your joints and if space is limited in your home, there are plenty of compact models available. In addition to this, the unique, dual motion design allows you to target specific muscles in a way that’s not possible on any other cardio machine. However, despite all these benefits, elliptical trainers may not be the best piece of home cardio equipment for you. In this article I’m going to be exploring this topic further and discussing some of the key things you need to think about before you buy an elliptical trainer.
1) Not Sports Specific
One of the biggest drawbacks of an elliptical trainer compared with other home cardio machines is that it’s not sports specific. While a treadmill is specific to running, an exercise bike takes you through the same motion as cycling on an outdoor bike and a rowing machine prepares you for real life rowing, an elliptical trainer doesn’t really prepare you for any sport. This isn’t a big issue if your main goal is to improve your general fitness. However, if you are purchasing your home cardio machine as part of a sports conditioning program, you may be better off buying an exercise bike, rowing machine or treadmill.
2) Momentum Can Make It Easy
Another thing to think about before buying an elliptical trainer is momentum. With exercise bikes, rowing machines, steppers and treadmills, all of the effort is on you. However, when exercising on an elliptical, you can build up momentum which then helps you with the exercise and makes it easier. No other exercise machines carry you like this, so if you want to make sure you don’t slack off and let the cardio machine do the work for you, an elliptical trainer may not be the best choice.
3) Difficult Technique For Beginners
If you’re relatively new to working out and thinking about purchasing an elliptical trainer to start improving your fitness, you may want to think again. Many beginners find elliptical trainers much more difficult to use than exercise bikes, treadmills or steppers and struggle to pick up the technique.
The reason for this is that the latter three home cardio machines all involve natural movements which you learn from a very early age. However, the gliding motion of an elliptical trainer is very unnatural to a lot of people and takes time to master. It also requires a much greater degree of co-ordination than cycling, running or stepping, as you have to move your arms in line with your legs.
While the technique is by no means impossible and you will pick it up with practice, if you’re just starting out, you may want to go for a home cardio machine with less of a learning curve.
4) Designed For Average Sized People
Unlike all the other home cardio machines which can cater to people of various shapes and sizes, elliptical trainers are designed for average sized people. The reason for this is that with an elliptical trainer there are two points of contact – the poles for your hands and the platforms for your feet. With other home cardio machines, there is only one point of contact, so height is less of an issue.
This means that if you are very tall, you may struggle to grab the poles on an elliptical trainer comfortably. Similarly, if you are very small, you might find it difficult to reach the poles and may want to consider an alternative home cardio machine.
5) Non-Weight Bearing Exercise
One final thing to consider before buying an elliptical trainer is that the gliding platforms support most of your bodyweight. On the one hand, this is a good thing as it protects your joints from the heavy impact of running. However, weight bearing exercises are good for your bones and cause your bone mineral density to increase. This greater bone mineral density allows your body to create stronger, healthier bones which are less likely to break and fracture. By exercising on an elliptical trainer, you remove the weight bearing element from your workout routine and don’t get to take advantage of this bone boosting benefit.
As you can see, despite their many benefits, elliptical trainers aren’t suitable for everyone. If you want to train for a specific sport or push yourself hard and ensure that momentum doesn’t take over when you exercise, you may be better off purchasing an exercise bike, a rowing machine or a treadmill. I hope this article helps you make your final decision and choose the best piece of home cardio equipment to meet your fitness goals.
Elliptical trainers are a highly versatile cardio machine and one of the few that give you a full body workout by exercising your arms and legs in equal measures. However, when it comes to buying an elliptical trainer, it’s often difficult to know where to start. With hundreds of different models to choose from and each one having their own unique set of features, knowing which one is right for you can seem impossible. In this article I’m going to help simplify the process of choosing an elliptical trainer with four elliptical trainer buying tips.
1) Decide On Your Budget
As is the case with any big purchase, setting a budget for your elliptical trainer is crucial. If you can only afford to spend $500 then there’s no point wasting your time looking at elliptical trainers that cost $1,000+. Similarly, if you have a lot to spend and want a feature packed elliptical trainer, you don’t want to be looking at budget models that won’t do what you need. Instead of looking at all the elliptical trainers, decide how much you’re willing to spend and then narrow your search to models that fall within this price range.
2) Choose The Type Of Elliptical Trainer Design You Want
Once you’ve outlined how much you’re going to spend on your elliptical trainer, the next decision you have to make is what type of elliptical trainer design you want. There are currently three main elliptical designs on the market; front drive, rear drive and center drive.
With front drive elliptical trainers, the drive axle is located in front of you. The benefit of this design is that it’s generally cheaper, lighter and more compact than both rear drive and center drive elliptical trainers. However, front drive elliptical trainers aren’t as smooth as these other two designs and they also have more moving parts which means they generally require more maintenance.
With rear drive elliptical trainers, the drive axle is located behind you. The benefit of this design is that there are fewer moving parts and as a result, rear drive elliptical trainers are smoother to use and require less maintenance. However, rear drive elliptical trainers are also larger and more expensive than front drive elliptical trainers.
With center drive elliptical trainers, the drive axle is located close to the center of the machine which means it’s usually slightly in front of you or slightly behind you. Sometimes center drive elliptical trainers also have two drive axels. The benefit of this design is that your weight is perfectly balanced and as a result, your movements and workout are more efficient. However, center drive elliptical trainers are the most expensive of the three designs.
The type of design you go for will largely depend on your budget and your fitness goals. As a general rule, center drive elliptical trainers provide you with the most efficient workout at a premium price whereas front drive machines still provide you with a good workout but are more of a budget option. Rear drive elliptical trainers fall somewhere in the middle and strike a good balance between price and function.
If you don’t have much to spend or your workout space is limited, you’re best off going for a front drive elliptical trainer. Although they’re the cheapest of the three, if you shop around and do your research, you can still find a front drive elliptical trainer that does everything you need.
However, if you have a bit more to spend and have the space to store a larger machine, you’ll want to look at rear drive and center drive elliptical trainers. If you’re going to be using the elliptical trainer daily as part of an intense workout machine, a center drive elliptical trainer is the best option but if you’re following a less intensive fitness routine, a rear drive elliptical trainer is a good choice.
3) Check The Elliptical Trainer Specifications
After you’ve finalized your type of design and the maximum price you’re willing to pay, the next step is to check out the specifications on the elliptical trainers and started putting together a shortlist. The specifications you look for will depend entirely on what you want out of your elliptical trainer. For example, if you want one that’s easy to store after your workout, look for folding elliptical trainers. If you want to measure improvements in your heart rate, look for elliptical trainers with a heart rate monitor. If workout variety is top of your priority list, look for elliptical trainers with a wide range of programs. Once you’ve decided what specifications are important to you, choose five elliptical trainers based on these specifications and add them to your shortlist.
4) Review Feedback From Existing Customers
Once you have your final five elliptical trainers, there’s just one more thing left to do – review the customer feedback on each of these models and make your final decision. If one model has much more positive feedback than the other four, then it’s an easy decision. However, if all the models have a similar level of positive feedback, go through the customer feedback in detail and write up a list of pros and cons for each of the five. Then review each list carefully and choose the model which matches most of your elliptical trainer requirements.
I hope this article has helped turn what may seem like a complicated decision into a simpler one. If you break it down into simple steps using the tips above, the entire elliptical trainer buying process becomes a whole lot easier and you’ll be able to find the perfect elliptical trainer for you with minimum effort.
Elliptical trainers are one of the most diverse home cardio machines you can buy. They engage both your arms and your legs, they can be used in both a forward and reverse motion and they provide you with a combination of cardio and resistance training. In this article I’m going to be expanding on what makes elliptical trainers such a good piece of home workout equipment and discussing five of their main benefits.
1) Full Body Workout
The most notable benefit of elliptical trainers is that they give you a full upper and lower body workout at the same time. Unlike exercise bikes, steppers and treadmills which only target your lower body and don’t engage your upper body at all, elliptical trainers target your upper body with their rotating arms and your lower body with their rotating pedals.
The best part is that you can use this unique design to get a range of different results. If you want to strengthen and tone your arms, back and chest, you can let your upper body do most the work. Alternatively, if you want to build up your legs, you can let go of the rotating arms and work the machine solely with your feet. If you want to strengthen and tone your upper and lower body equally, you simply let your arms and legs do equal amounts of pushing.
2) Dual Motion
Another unique benefit of buying an elliptical trainer is that the dual motion allows you to target different muscles by simply changing direction. If you glide forward, you target your hamstrings, triceps and chest whereas if you glide backwards you target your quadriceps, biceps and upper back.
You can also focus on just chest your chest and triceps by gliding forward and letting your arms do most of the work, just your hamstrings by gliding forward and letting your legs do the work, just your biceps and upper back by gliding backwards and letting your arms do most of the work or just your quadriceps by gliding backwards and letting your legs do most of the work.
No other cardio machines allow you to target the major muscles in your upper and lower body this specifically and if you really want to focus on developing individual muscles, it’s a great feature to have.
3) Zero Impact Cardio
If you find running on a treadmill causes pain in your ankles, knees or hips, elliptical trainers are a fantastic zero impact alternative. Unlike treadmills which place pressure on your joints with every step you take, elliptical trainers guide your feet through the motions using a rotating platform. As a result, your feet never leave the platform and no pressure is ever applied to your joints. This means you still get a good workout but without any pain or pressure in your ankles, knees or hips.
4) High Calorie Burn
In terms of calories burned, elliptical trainers are the third most efficient home cardio machine on the market after treadmills (which burn 825 calories per hour when jogging at 10kph) and steppers (which burn 735 calories per hour when stepping at a moderate pace). Just one hour of moderate exercise on an elliptical trainer burns through a notable 679 calories which is over 100 calories more than one hour of moderate cycling on an exercise bike or one hour of moderate rowing on a rowing machine.
While burning an extra 100 calories a day may not sound like a huge amount, if you exercised for an hour every day it would equate to losing an extra 14 ounces of weight each month and an extra 10.4 pounds of weight over the year. When you consider that this is in addition to the weight you’d lose from cycling or rowing, it’s quite an impressive figure, especially if weight loss is one of your main goals.
5) Low Maintenance
One final benefit of elliptical trainers compared with other home cardio machines is that they are relatively easy to maintain. This is because elliptical trainers don’t have very many moving parts, so there are fewer points where they can actually break. In addition to this, the smooth, low impact, gliding motion of elliptical trainers places very little pressure on the moving parts and because of this they last a lot longer than the moving parts in other cardio machines.
If you’re looking for a home workout machine that gives you a varied, full body workout and combines cardio with resistance training, you can’t go wrong with an elliptical trainer. It’s the only cardio machine on the market that allows you to target specific muscles while also burning an impressive number of calories at the same time. So if the elliptical trainer sounds like the perfect cardio machine for you, get online and get shopping for one right now.