Things To Consider Before Buying An Elliptical Trainer
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.