Y ou already know that a good elliptical workout will put all your leg muscles to work. But are you aware that your arms and core can get the same benefits? It all stands in finding the right machine and learning how to use it to its full potential, and since there are a lot of reviews out there to help you with this task, we have decided to focus on the mechanism of the exercise. Below, you will find all you need to know about the muscles involved in the movement and some tips to perfect your results. But before that, we took some time to explain why the elliptical can be a real game-changer for your health and physical state.
Working out is about looking good, but more importantly, it is about staying healthy, and the optimal way to attain this state is to combine strength training with cardio. You can get most of the first with a good set of kettlebells, but you will only get better cardiovascular fitness if you manage to increase your heart rate, and this is where an elliptical proves to be one of the best options. Here is what you can use it for:
To put a cross-trainer in movement, you need to use your legs a lot. The workout requires that you extend and retract your knees and engages the following muscles:
Tip: Make sure that your feet are evenly placed on the pedals and that your body doesn’t lean to the side to avoid pain from wrong positioning.
There are plenty of models that come with synchronized handles to help you involve your upper body as well. The movement you do with your arms will increase your heart rate even further, so these options are excellent if you are trying to lose weight. During the workout, you will engage the following muscles from your arms and torso:
Tip: If you want to exercise your equilibrium, take your hands from the handles and keep moving this way for one or two series.
If you are afraid that with weight loss will come bulkiness, you are in the clear with the elliptical. This machine is designed to mimic running and walking, so you will mostly be doing aerobics. The elliptical will help you get fit, and your muscles will definitely look firmer, but it is almost impossible to get the same results you would by doing strength exercises.
On the other hand, if you really, really insist to get big by using only this apparatus, you can push your muscles to grow by selecting a very high resistance level. The results will only show on your leg muscles, nevertheless, as there is no resistance you can adjust regarding the handles. If you are looking to get big and gain strength but don’t want to deal with weights, a rowing machine may be more appropriate for you.
Another option would be to try HIIT exercises, which imply dividing each minute from your workout time into two intervals. For instance, you can choose to work really hard for 20 seconds and take a 40-minute break just to get ready to hit hard again. This type of training will help change your body composition by replacing fat with muscle.
With an elliptical cross trainer, you will be able to take walks or run a marathon in the comfort of your home. It is a lot gentler on the knees than a treadmill but can provide good cardio training and keep your muscles active. Recent research results in the field have proven this activity to be beneficial for individuals who are trying to regain balance or improve their cardiovascular health and can even help slow down the aging process that comes with muscle loss.
As we have explained, this activity is not designed to help your muscles get bigger, although it does engage most of them in a very active way. It will, instead, make you look fit and flexible, not to mention that it can be incredibly efficient if you are trying to lose weight.