An elliptical machine (also called an elliptical trainer or a cross-trainer) is a stationary machine for exercises that simulates walking, running or stair climbing with low impact on the joints.
Though it seems not too difficult in use, there are several tips on how to use an elliptical machine correctly and get the most out of your cardio workout.
Familiarize yourself with different programs and the machine on the whole.
Clutch the handles to balance yourself and step onto the elliptical trainer from the side. First place your foot on the pedal which is lower to the ground. Be careful and remember that the pedals are not resistant to your weight.
Keep your spine and head straight, and your shoulders relaxed to get a better workout. To avoid reducing leg workload, take care not to grip the handles too tightly. Make sure that you don’t lean on them. Don’t slouch, bounce or sway, or else you may damage your knees.
Mind that one shouldn’t put the weight of the body on the toes only. Try to put it through your whole foot.
Most of the ellipticals have a computer with a wide range of programs and settings, such as speed level, distance goal, calories burned, exercise time, etc. It may also record your age, heart rate and weight to modify your workout. The diversity of programs will help you to concentrate on that very part of your body that you want, and will also prevent you from boredom.
Make use of the incline and resistance levels to vary the muscles worked. Start with the low resistance level, then gradually increase it. Add resistance to make pedaling more difficult and work at lower inclines to focus on your legs and calves. The increase of the incline level aims at hamstrings and glutes.
If you are a beginner, your workouts should be quite short – about 10-20 minutes at moderate settings.
Women should take pains not to make their thighs bulky. To avoid that, stop increasing the resistance or incline once you are satisfied with your legs.
Remove your hands from the handlebars and shift only the foot pedals to improve your balance and make the core muscles work. Try moving your hands, as if you were jogging. It’s important not to sway from side to side. Slow down and place your hands on your hips if balance is a problem.
It would be useful to stretch yourself after the workout, since it may lessen pains and make the agility better.