An elliptical machine is also known as a cross trainer or X-trainer, and has gained immense popularity among fitness enthusiasts for its efficient design and workout techniques. In fact, there has always been an unending comparison between the efficiency of treadmills vs. elliptical machines. While both are must-have equipment of a gym facility, elliptical machines do have an edge over treadmills.
While new and improved features continually being added to existing exercising machines, including the cross trainer, the main parameter that makes us more inclined to use a certain machine, is the comfort level and the impact it has on the muscles as a final result. Many people tend to suffer from injuries while exercising incorrectly―be it from cardio exercises or strength training―especially knee injury. Elliptical machines come to the rescue in these scenarios by providing an adequate amount of support that prevents the joints from experiencing stress and the consequences thereafter. The following section gives you a brief explanation of how the cross trainer will prove to be beneficial not only for toning your body, but weight loss too.
Works on a Large Set of Muscles
Posture is very important when it comes to availing the benefits of exercising by using an elliptical machine, or any exercise for that matter. While on the cross trainer, it is important to keep your shoulders stiff and not stooped, hold your head up high, and keep your gaze leveled and not down at your feet. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted, and your back straight while you exercise, as shown in the image below.
As mentioned already, this machine is a blessing for those who want to work on both their upper and lower body at the same time. It works on muscles such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, rear calf, front calf, and buttocks, covering almost every muscle group of the lower body. The movable handles at the top make your arms also move to-and-fro, toning the muscles such as the deltoid, triceps and biceps. This machine provides a continuous momentum for the entire body, stimulating the core muscles of the abdomen, as well as the back and lower-back muscles. Pedaling in reverse is especially useful for those who want to focus on the calves and hamstrings. The bottom line is that this low-impact machine has been designed in such a way, that with the right posture, you will not feel stress on unwanted areas of the body, and be able to efficiently work on your muscles.
Aids Weight Loss
Not only is this machine efficient in working your muscles, but it's also a great option for those willing to shed the extra pounds. For those who are overweight, directly performing a high-intensity workout, can seriously injure the joints because of the additional body weight, as is the case with running on a treadmill. The X-trainer on the other hand, is designed in such a way that it provides adequate support to the user, while enabling a complete body workout without leaving one exerted during the session. Also, as mentioned earlier, a variation in stride length enables the burning of more calories. Another advantage of this machine is the fact that it can gradually help those who are new to exercising, increase their stamina. This proves to be helpful in preparing one to eventually be able to perform high-intensity workouts in the future.
Ideal for Those with Joint Problems
A lot of beginners jump into a full-blown exercise regimen with enthusiasm―trying to run on the treadmill, or do exercises such as bench climbing, lunges, squats, and so on―without paying attention to pain in the joints. On the other hand, there are many who need the workout but not at the cost of putting their joints under risk, such as the elderly. An elliptical machine is an ideal choice for these users. Because it is a low-impact machine that enables weight-bearing exercise, it helps build and maintain bone density which reduces the risk of fractures, therefore benefiting those with bone-related problems such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and knee pain. However, you must consult with your healthcare specialist before proceeding with this option.
Excellent for Cardiovascular Health
Exercising on the cross trainer is an efficient cardiovascular workout. The term itself suggests that it is great for your heart health. Most models of this machine have various program settings such as, Fat Burn, Resistance Control, Ramp Control, and Cardio. There are options to choose from, like, level of resistance, time zone, and stride length, eventually enabling you to alter your workout as per your needs. You can pedal at a slow, moderate, or fast pace depending upon the setting and give yourself a good cardio workout without feeling as much strain, tiredness, and fatigue, as you would normally feel during a treadmill run. In fact, studies have found that the physiological effectiveness of exercises done on an elliptical trainer is very similar to that of a treadmill.
Gives a Low-impact Workout
Experts suggest that elliptical machines have a lower impact on the body when compared to running/jogging outside or on a treadmill. The elliptical movement duplicates the natural movement of the hip, knee, and ankle joints, when you are jogging, walking, or running. At the same time, it enables you to burn pretty much the same amount of calories without any impact on the joints, as we have already discussed several times. On a treadmill, the sudden jolts felt on the muscles of the leg and the joints can aggravate an underlying problem. This can be prevented by using an elliptical machine. This is because of its user-friendly design, that comes with stable foot paddles that almost eliminate the jolts while peddling fast, thereby imposing no jerks on the knees or other joints.
From the benefits of an elliptical machine mentioned above, you might have gauged that not only is this machine a 'knee saver' but it also ensures the user's comfort and convenience. It is low in maintenance and one does not need to keep worrying about the need to replace or repair belts, motors, bearings, rollers, etc. The benefits can be made use of by users ranging from an athlete to a novice. To sum up the benefits of the machine, the most important ones are losing weight, getting fit, and improving your overall stamina and fitness. Since there are various programs with which you can pedal forward or backwards, it will bring variety to your workout and ensure that you are not bored of the same routine.
Disclaimer: This FitnessVigil article is for informative purposes only. Consult a medical professional if you have any health problems before proceeding with the exercise.