Our NordicTrack elliptical trainers are one of the top sellers here at NordicTrackCoupons.com, right up there with our NordicTrack treadmills. So in a recent post when we recently talked about Getting the Most from Your Treadmill Workouts, it occurred to us that many of you may want the same information, yet pertaining to elliptical trainers.
Elliptical trainers can give you one of the best cardio workouts, if used properly that is. If you all you are doing is hopping on and striding away for 20-30 minutes then calling it good, you are not utilizing your elliptical to its full potential.
While the elliptical delivers a great cardio workout, the best thing about this machine is its ability to build strength and muscle endurance to your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, while still working your arms, chest, and back with the use of the handles. According to an article titled How to Use the Elliptical for Fat Loss from LiveStrong.com, “the elliptical is a powerhouse among cardio equipment because it allows you to use a large amount of muscle. The more muscles that are working, the more calories you’ll be burning.”
So here are a few tips to help you get the most from your elliptical workout:
Maintain Proper Form
To incorporate all the muscles possible, thus burn the most amount of calories, it’s important to maintain proper form during your elliptical exercise sessions. First and foremost do not lean forward, instead be sure you are maintaining a tall posture with your head, shoulders and hips aligned to ensure you are giving your core a good workout.
Use the Handlebars
The great thing about the elliptical trainer is the fact it gives you a total body workout, if and only if you use the handlebars that is. To ensure you are actively working your upper body, do not just hold on to the handles, actively push and pull them. Be sure to avoid holding on too tightly to the handlebars though as this can cause fatigue to your upper body and will tempt you to lean on the machine which will reduce the full fat burning effect – a common mistake mentioned in the previously mentioned LiveStrong article.
Keeping your resistance at zero is one of the biggest mistakes elliptical users can make. You go along, striding away feeling like you are getting a great workout thinking you must becoming stronger as you are striding away with little effort. Yet this is the problem, if you are feeling little effort, you are going to see little results.
Tips to Improve Your Elliptical Workouts & the Mistakes to Avoid states it perfectly by saying “if it feels too easy, it probably is, which means you’re essentially doing nothing, meaning low calorie burn.” The article goes on to advise you to use enough resistance that is causing you to actually push and pull through your strides, not just go through the motions. Even though you may not be moving as quickly as you were with zero resistance, you are forcing your muscles to work harder and this will help increase the muscle-building effect on top of the cardio workout thus increase your calorie burn.
Slow It Down
While yes increasing your RPMs (revolutions per minutes or SPM, strides per minute) will indeed up the intensity, too much speed can actually be counterintuitive and cause you to not burn as many calories. When you go too fast you relying too much on momentum thus your leg muscles are not fully engaged. According to the previously mentioned LiveStrong article, “Excess speed, like leaning, cheats your legs out of some strengthening benefits and reduces the number of calories you burn. If you’re bouncing, or your feet are coming off the pedals, slow down.” Add more resistance if it is becoming too easy for your to go so fast.
Switch up Your Workout
With any machine if you continue to do the same workout over and over your body will adapt and become efficient at it, thus meaning you’ll burn fewer calories overtime and no longer be improving your cardiovascular fitness. So be sure you switch up your elliptical workouts from time to time to burn more calories and gain a greater fitness level faster. Here are 8 Elliptical Workouts from Self Magazine you can use to help switch up your elliptical exercise sessions.
Along with switching up your workouts, you should also be switching up the direction you pedal on your elliptical trainers. Switching up the direction not only helps to keep you from getting bored, but it also changes which large leg muscle group you are working. According to the Top 10 Mistakes You Make On the Elliptical Trainer, “moving forward fatigues your quads, backwards puts emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes.” The article also went on to suggest sitting back slightly when pedaling backwards keeping your knees at a 90-degree angle as you stride to max out the effect.
Use these tips and trick to ensure you get the most out of your time on the elliptical trainer!
Do you use the elliptical trainer for your cardio workouts?
What do your elliptical trainer workouts consist of?