The main advantage of elliptical trainers is that they offer low-impact workouts that imply exercising both the upper and lower body. Due to the fact that they create the impression you are walking on air, they are gaining in popularity especially among the elder people. Moreover, considering they are not putting a strain on the legs, arms and back of the user and reduce stress, it is no wonder that elliptical ratings and sales are so high at the moment. The bottom line is that they offer a unique dual action workout and as much fitness as you need, without the risk of injury, strain or aggravating current conditions.
Advantages of using Elliptical Trainers
Even though marathon runners and cyclists look at with skepticism, the truth is that the elliptical trainer can help strengthen weak muscles. According to some studies, elliptical walking is said to activate the gluteus maximus and the vastus lateralis muscles at higher levels without overworking the hamstring compared to plain walking or running. As a consequence, individuals who wish to strengthen the hip and buttocks muscles for more efficient running or cycling should include a couple of workouts on the elliptical trainer in their weekly routines. The same is applicable for weak quadriceps, as elliptical training offers the best hamstring to quads coordination.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the elliptical ratings are so high for one machine compared to other machines resides in the fact that they can increase the stride length. To put it simply, a research done by the University of Idaho showed that people who use elliptical trainers burn more calories during the workout. The explanation of the researchers was that the participants performed longer workouts on the machine, as they did not feel the typically muscle sores or other reactions associated with physical exercises.
A further aspect that can partially explain the high elliptical ratings is the fact that they help tone and sculpt the upper body and the arms. Essentially, while you focused on pedaling, the arm motion activates the chest, biceps, triceps and shoulder muscles at the same time. Even though it may not seem significant at first, by working the upper and lower body simultaneously, you are saving a lot of time. As a side note, they also require less maintenance and usually take up less space than other gym equipment.
Which parts of the body are the most affected by ellipticals?
In general, the simple fact that the user is standing straight on the elliptical trainer activates more of the core muscles. The direct advantage of activating more groups of muscles while working out is that you tone a larger segment of your body. This can be translated into optimizing the energy disbursement and losing more calories and body fat at once.
As you already have noticed, the elliptical trainers allow you to focus on the part of the body that you are interested in toning. Therefore, people who want to improve their posture and overall balance should try to work on the machine while standing straight and without using their hands. On the other hand, those who want a firm and toned body can take advantage of the dual action workout.