Elliptical machines can provide you with lower (calves, thighs, glutes) and upper (arms, back and pecs) body training, as well as an abdominal workout, making it one of the most complete home fitness machines on the market.
General muscle training
Elliptical machines are well known for providing an excellent cardio workout. Ellipticals strengthen your heart, improve your breathing capacity and speed up your weight loss. But ellipticals are also ideal for building muscle throughout the body. In fact, during an elliptical workout, you engage 80% of your body’s muscles.
Best of all, elliptical machines are safe and accessible to all for a variety of reasons:
- Ellipticals are easy on your joints, as they reproduce natural movement and generate no impact. This makes it ideal for women looking to get back into shape after giving birth.
- The machine spreads the weight of your body evenly across both legs, helping to avoid any imbalance in working your muscles.
- The learning curve to use an elliptical is nearly instantaneous. You really can’t make a wrong move or adopt a bad posture on an elliptical.
For these reasons, you can confidently use your elliptical as a special ally in the effort to develop the body of your dreams.
A complete workout: lower body, upper body and abs
Just like an exercise bike, an elliptical works your legs from top to bottom, starting with your glutes and the hamstring muscles, just below. At the same time, you’re feeling the burn in your quads, the muscles located in the front of the thigh, as well as your tibial and calf muscles, below the knee. The machine will help you to sculpt the legs you’ve dreamt of!
Unlike a treadmill or exercise bike, though, the elliptical’s mobile arms mean you can get an intensive upper body workout, too.
Here’s what happens in each session:
- With every pull on the handles, your back muscles are working.
- Throughout your session, you work your biceps (when you pull the handles) and your triceps (when you push them), thus strengthening your arms.
- Your arm movements also help to work your pecs.
- Finally, your stepping motion causes you to contract your abs to maintain balance and keep your back straight. The elliptical will bring you the same effect as situps or crunches: a flat stomach and toned back. What else can you ask for?
Set your own pace
The elliptical can strengthen and/or tone your entire body. But to get the results you want, don’t lose sight of your goal. This will determine how you use it.
If you’re looking to burn away the fat, reduce the machine’s resistance and step more quickly. Alternate high frequency stepping and slow-stepping recovery phases: this way of working out is the famous High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
If, however, you’re looking to develop your muscle tone, increase your elliptical’s resistance. Your movements will naturally be slower, but more demanding in terms of muscle strength.
In either case, do at least 2 sessions a week, 40-45 minutes each, to maintain your level and maximize the benefits of your efforts. Don’t train every day. Rest 1-2 days a week, and if possible, mix in different sports and routines for a more global training experience.
Make it happen!
If you’re enticed by this machine that can work out nearly all your muscles without hurting your joints, you just need to choose the model that best suits you. You’ll definitely find the right one within the NordicTrack product line. Don’t forget to purchase a good pair of headphones or a wireless speaker: listening to music while you work out stimulates your body movement and helps you pass the time.
In 3 months, we look forward to seeing the new you!
Tips for getting the most out of your workouts
Make your workouts even more effective by following these very simple tips while training:
- Step backwards on the elliptical from time to time, thus working your muscles in a different way
- Give your calves an extra workout by stepping on the tips of your toes
- Don’t lean on the elliptical’s fixed handlebars: this bends your back, and you won’t be working your abs
One more thing: if you want to work your abdominals and thighs extra hard, step with your knees bent slightly outwards. This is a somewhat unique way of training; you may want to first practice this while a training partner watches, as it’s not the easiest movement to master, but it will prove very effective!