Elliptical Workout – How to Reap the Benefits of This Multi-Purpose Exercise?
Elliptical workout refers to a set of functional exercises such as stair walking, climbing, or running stimulated on a stationary machine. They are extremely popular among fitness enthusiasts since they eliminate any excess pressure to the joint, thereby, lowering the risk of impact injuries. This feature also enables people with varying degrees of injury and disabilities to use it in order to stay fit. So, it’s a no-brainer that you need to include it in your workout regime. However, if you are new to this, there is nothing to worry about since we will guide you and help you remember the factors to keep in mind in order to learn how to do elliptical workout. So, pull up your socks and let’s get going.
Elliptical Workout – An Overview
Although the chances of getting injured while using an elliptical machine are way less compared to other workout machines, it is not completely null. Your goal should be to make the injury count as close to zero as possible. In addition, just like any other workout regime, there are certain habits that you need to get rid of and others that you need to imbibe to make your time and effort worthwhile.
Another issue that people often complain about elliptical exercises is that they tend to get repetitive and boring. But by using certain tricks in these exercises, you can diversify the process of this workout. From making it work like high-intensity interval workout to utilizing it to challenge different groups of muscles; there is an elliptical workout for every need. Besides, it can be used by both a beginner and a seasoned fitness enthusiast.
Factors to Keep in Mind While Doing an Elliptical Workout
To reap the maximum benefits out of an elliptical workout, keep the following factors in mind:
Fixing a Plan
Before jumping on an elliptical machine, you need to decide what you want to achieve from it and how you want to get there. Not having an end goal is one of the biggest rookie mistakes you can make.
Basically, you need to monitor your level of exertion. It can range anywhere from zero, which is equivalent to a leisurely walk to a ten, which makes you completely out of breath. In other words, you just can’t hop on it for the sake of it.
Implementing Core Exercises
You need to keep your abs engaged if you want to keep a good form and maintain a straight posture. A simple yet effective way of testing it is by dropping down to hold a static plank after stepping off the elliptical workout.
To put it simply, get off your elliptical machine every three minutes in order to perform a 30-second plank or side plank exercise.
When your body isn’t aligned, multiple pains and aches can creep up. It also raises the chances of injury. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to maintain a proper form. Your feet must always lie flat against the pedals of the elliptical machine. Many people stand on their toes while using this machine, and we can’t stress enough as to how precarious it can be.
In addition, keep your back straight and clench your core in order to keep it engaged. This will ensure that your spine is elongated, thereby keeping your posture right.
As we have suggested before, including variation in your elliptical workout helps it from turning into a mundane, one-dimensional activity. Don’t be afraid of experimenting, and one such way of doing it is by complementing it with dumbbells.
For this, you need to get yourself a pair of light-weight dumbbells. Now, after 3-4 minutes, get off from your machine and do a set of bicep curls or shoulder press. The break that you take here from the machine will enable you to direct your energy into the arm movements, which will, in turn, help in maintaining a proper form while performing the arm exercises.
No to Repetition of Routines
We understand that performing the same set of routine can be effective initially, but sooner or later you are bound to reach a fitness plateau. Therefore, you need to avoid it as much as you possibly can.
Studies have shown that it is crucial to constantly change the variables of exercise since the human body is programmed to adapt to new stressors every 4-6 weeks. Essentially, your body works as an evolutionary machine.
Diversifying your elliptical fitness regime will not only do wonders for your body but will also keep it fun. An effective way of doing this is by performing 5-minute intervals, and gradually increasing the resistance with each new interval. Ideally, you should start at a steady pace and increase the inclination of your machine’s setting on your pace.
Try to move the pace for two minutes, and then proceed to double its speed for two minutes while making sure the incline is steady. Don’t forget to take a rest for a minute in order to recover from it. As time passes, you can see if you can improve your level of endurance or distance. Without overexerting, you need to compete with yourself, not with others.
Handling the Handles
We recommended you start your elliptical workout without using the handles first. This is because when you only use your legs, it will bring a greater emphasis on your lower body. What essentially happens here is that your lower body experiences more pressure and effort when you drive through your hamstrings and glutes. It also goes without saying that you will master the art of balance while practicing it since your legs would be constantly moving. It is not easy, we understand, and occasional help by holding a support is allowed. But try as much as you can to balance on your own.
After mastering the technique, you can switch it up and start pulling and pushing the handles. You need to allow your feet to follow along as well, but make sure the maximum effort is being given to using the handles to initiate the movement.
Alternating between using handles (focus on the upper body) and being handles-free (focus on the lower body) will help you in the overall development of the body.
High-Intensity Interval Workout
Although an elliptical workout is mostly seen as a steady-state cardio exercise, it can also be used as an impact tool for a high intensity interval workout. This involves you going for a high resistance routine for 30 seconds, and then recovering from it for a minute, and repeating the entire process for 10-20 minutes.
It is said that the harder and faster you go during these short bursts of time, the more benefits you reap from it. Having said that, don’t overexert yourself and destroy your body. Also, when taking that rest for 60 seconds, be sure to take full advantage of it. This rest period helps prepare your body for the next session and increases its potential to perform its best during those intense regimes.
This may sound strange, but going backward on an elliptical machine without having to turn your entire body around is beneficial. Doing so will target the back of your thighs, which are usually among the weaker parts of a human body. Now, you must be wondering how someone can possibly do this. Well, we are here to help you out.
You need to start rotating your feet when you get on the elliptical machine in a clockwise position. Slowly and steadily, reverse your legs and start moving in a counter-clock direction. You will gradually learn the difference it is bringing to your body.
Hips Don’t Lie
Yes, a proper training session on an elliptical machine will invariably strengthen your hips. In fact, you can actually control how much changes your choice of exercise is bringing upon your hip. There is a direct correlation to your butt muscles and the incline of your machine. The higher the incline of your machine is, the more effort is put upon your butt muscles.
You can choose to adjust the incline manually every other minute to go down or up. This will help you figure out the process more efficiently. Since the incline ranges from 1- 20, we suggest you go up in increments of two each time. It will be even better if you commence with zero for a minute, and then slowly move up to two, four, six, and so on. Remember, to gradually come down as well.
As you have learned, there is a whole lot of unexplored possibilities with elliptical exercises since they are extremely diverse and safe. We are certain that our sneak-peek into its world has compelled you to consider including it in your fitness regime. However, if you still are unsure, all you need to do is run to a multi-gym near you and speak to a fitness expert regarding its benefits. A great example of a weight-bearing exercise, these exercises offer both high-intense and low-intense non-impact cardiovascular workout. What is even better is the fact that they are very personable since you can control their speed and resistance. So, unplug yourself from the stress and ride this multi-beneficial machine.