How to use an elliptical, what are the benefits and which one to choose to train at your best on a regular basis and functional to your goals
- What is an elliptical
- The benefits
- How to use it and how many times a week
- Which one to choose
What is an elliptical
Queen of home fitness, the elliptical is a wonderful tool for training the whole body and moving all our muscle groups, toning the lower and upper body at the same time. In this system where pedals are attached to the flywheel and the handlebars allow you to train the arms, the whole body remains in constant motion. The advanced models guarantee a high-intensity workout thanks to the magnetic system with belt drive.
In the non-manual versions, various training programs can also be selected based on observation of the heart rate. Some ellipticals provide support for the tablet with a Bluetooth connection to manage training in a truly personalized way. The important thing is that the machine is stable, solid and functional so that you can enjoy a program that gradually requires more effort and commitment. The elliptical tones the whole body, increases endurance and strength and allows you to proceed step by step according to your goals.
The elliptical does not involve risks and guarantees an integrated approach to movement. Pedaling on the elliptical takes place in two directions, counterclockwise and clockwise, and, while in the first case all the muscles of the posterior leg area are toned, in the second case the abdominals, buttocks and quadriceps are strengthened.
In some gyms there is a queue, in crowded evenings or mornings. In many homes it is present and is used often. Let's see together the benefits of this machine, point by point:
"Happy" and healthy joints
The risk of injury during exercise decreases and therefore the joints do not suffer as happens, for example, during running, which compresses the spaces between the vertebrae and creates small micro-traumas to the spine. Indeed, the sense of momentum and length persists, the feet remain resting on the pedals, the breathing remains long and deep and the gaze, if you have a window, can project towards the green or among the trees. The body can let go of the movement and enjoy the progress without the bones being affected, instead creating a thickening of the tissue that prevents fractures or inflammation. Therefore excellent in case of joint diseases or fragile bones, especially as regards ankles, knees, pelvis and femur.
A lot of calories are burned
From the first workouts it is noted that the belly appears toned, the legs decrease to their circumference. Excellent system for burning fat, therefore ideal for those who are overweight. Recommended for those who tend to accumulate fat due to circulatory problems or diabetes. 80% of the body muscles are made to work and if you increase the pace you can burn a lot of calories in a short time to lose weight in a very significant way.
It makes the heart happy
The cardiovascular system is stressed in an important and gradual way, especially if the training is carried out with long and conscious breathing. To the notable slimming effect is added the cardiovascular effort which helps in a functional way those suffering from metabolic pathologies or rheumatological joint pathologies. In some cases, the integrated training computer can be used to monitor time, speed, distance and calorie consumption.
The elliptical is always recommended after injuries or in the rehabilitation process. The movement also helps a lot to improve posture as the way you use the device requires you to stay straight and this means that the abdominals always work actively.
How to use it and how many times a week
You learn to use the elliptical through constancy and you are passionate about it for sure. The ideal would be to start with a few 30-minute sessions, as if it were a short interval workout. Warm up slowly for 10 minutes, with small dynamic stretches and then get on the machine, increasing the pace progressively, without going to affect your breath too quickly. In the final phase, you have to slow down to allow the body to cool down over a period of time ranging from 5 minutes upwards.
You could start with a workout 2-3 times a week and then gradually increase. Slowly, the duration of the sessions can also increase, reaching 45 minutes or 1 hour. The important thing is not to overdo it in order to build balanced muscles. The training, being versatile and multivalent, involves both the lower and upper parts of the body. If you want to combine another type of training, the ideal is to do targeted sessions divided by muscle groups, such as high intensity training, even with small tools such as weights or elastics. Alternatively, Pilates is fine, which allows you to train the deep muscles.
Which one to choose
There are different types of elliptical cross trainer and to understand how to choose them we need to dwell a little on the structure. The central part is the flywheel, a central metal wheel to which the pedals are connected. In some types the flywheel is connected to a mechanical resistance, a kind of buffer that acts as a brake and presses more or less strongly depending on how it is adjusted. The machines equipped with magnetic or electromagnetic resistance have a different price and quality level; in that case, the adjustment takes place through a digital panel that allows you to choose from numerous levels of resistance and to perfect the training in detail.
The structure on which the flywheel is mounted looks to all intents and purposes that of an exercise bike, but without saddle and handlebars. In addition to the difference with respect to the type of resistance, the other thing to evaluate is the length of the step during training, which varies according to the average height of the subject. For people of average height the optimal is 40 or 45 cm. Instead, an elliptical with a longer wheelbase is needed for people over 190 cm. Considering the ratio to the height, the weight must be observed and therefore the stability of the machine must be evaluated.