Until recently I only ran outside, but after putting up with constant injuries, aches and pains from the high impact, I re-joined a gym so I could have access to other cardio equipment.
The elliptical at my gym (I'm in the UK so I actually call it a cross-trainer) is the USA Precor Cross Ramp trainer.
It's great because not only can you adjust the resistance but also the gradient, so when I do my interval workout I do 2 minutes at a gradient of 8 and then 2 minutes at a gradient of 13, all the time on a resistance of 11-12. I think 15 might be the maximum gradient, I'm not too sure.
But I do that workout for 30 or 40 minutes at a time when I don't run - I've made a pact with myself to never ever again run on consecutive days - and now since I've been doing this, (plus using the treadmill as opposed to running outside) I've had no injuries whatsoever, and it's so refreshing!
So for me the elliptical (aka cross-trainer) has become an important part of my cardio routine.
I have also been doing more rowing - I didn't do much in the past because I didn't like it all that much and as such wasn't that good at it. But I've been getting better, and I can feel it is a great upper body cardio workout.
6/30/13 9:33 P
Hey everyone thanks for the replies on the elliptical question I had. I know about an elliptical and I have one. I know its not used for strength training so thanks for that as well. I mainly walk, do yoga, aerobics, boot camp, Tae-Bo and other cardio. I was just wondering if it gave a decent workout really. I have to do low impact exercises so running and jumping rope is out. I just wanted to see if others were pretty well satisfied and enjoy using an elliptical machine and if it was a helpful machine that gives a good workout. I didn't realize my post came out in the wrong way!
Even at the highest settings, the resistance on an elliptical is not enough to strengthen a muscle. Effective strength training is meant to completely fatigue the muscles in 15 reps or less. If you can do the elliptical for 20-30 MINUTES, it is cardio, and will NOT strengthen the muscles.
Also, it takes a set amount of work to overcome the resistance of the machine. Using your arms as well means your legs are doing less of the work, and there is no difference in the calories burned. To burn more calories, you have to increase either the speed or resistance.
An elliptical will give you no better a cardio workout than a good quality jump rope.Yes it is low impact, it also does not move the body parts through a full range of motion. A quality cardio workout done at the proper level of intensity should exhaust the average person in thirty minutes. An elliptical like a dreadmill answers to the laws of physics, a body in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by and external force. Stop pumping on an elliptical and see what happens.
6/24/13 3:29 P
I do an hour a day, most days. It's great low-impact cardio, you can burn 500-600 in an hour. Plus you can change the resistance and the incline so that you're targeting specific muscles.
Fitness Minutes: (85,068)
3,415 6/24/13 3:26 P
I am a reformed runaholic. I ran 8 miles a day, 7 days a week at 7-8 min/mile for probably longer than many of the bloggers on this message. I am also a therapist. My physician pleaded with me after years of seeing the deterioration of my spine, stress fractures and other issues to find another source of cardio. The ellipitical is actually better than running for may reasons: 1) low impact cardio, 2) Best objective measure of fitness 3) Stregnthens the UB and LB, 3) Allows for modification in resistance that allows an accurate measure of fitness 4) Develops gross motor coordination 5) Provides adjustable resistance areas such as buttocks, hamstrings, etc depending on your height settings. 6) Heart rate monitor is on the machine. In running there is more hip extension, use of hamstrings and overall weightbearing. The calories burned is about the same or greater in the elliptical if the upperbody is used.
I like the elliptical on those days when my knees or ankles don't feel quite right and I don't think pounding them in to the pavement is a good idea. I crank the resistance way up to get my heart rate up, and it's a great cardio workout for me.
Like others said, if you don't like it and don't see the point of it, there's no reason you have to do it. There are plenty of cardio exercises that may float your boat instead.
Fitness Minutes: (33,340)
6/24/13 11:46 A
I agree with the others, too. Nothing is end all/be all. We all do what works for us, keeps us motiviated, and keeps us healthy and happy!
I use the elliptical because I have bad knees and I can't run. I have my music with me and it's 30-45 minutes of quiet time for me. I love it, but it's not everybody's cup of tea. Do what you enjoy and you will do better.
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
9,713 6/24/13 9:36 A
The point of the elliptical is the same as other forms of cardio; to burn calories. It provides no advantages others do not, and indeed, is low impact so on lower settings will burn fewer than running on a treadmill would at equivalent speeds.
It's excellent for people who enjoy it, or who need a low-impact workout that doesn't strain their joints.
I agree with the above posters. If the elliptical just doesn't do it for you, don't force yourself to use it because you'll only start to associate those negative feelings with exercise. Try biking (either a real, mobile bike, or a stationary bike), the treadmill, the rowing machine, etc. There are lots of options, so there's no need to stick with something you really don't like.
Fitness Minutes: (13,224)
130 6/24/13 4:46 A
If you don't like it, get rid of it and try a different form of cardio. If you have to get people on the internet to convince you to use a piece of equipment, you're not going to be using it long-term.
While increasing resistance on an elliptical is going to give you a better workout and increase your fitness, it is NOT going to make you stronger. An elliptical is cardio exercise, and the only thing that can make you stronger is strength training.
One of the major advantages of the elliptical is that it is very low impact. This can help people with joint issues still get in a vigorous workout.
The major disadvantage is that it is not good preparation for running or walking outside.
Apart from this, there is nothing magical about the elliptical. If you don't think it floats your boat, try some other form of exercise.
6/24/13 3:30 A
I have this piece of equipment I'm wondering what is the point? People who use this machine give me strength and I'll add it into the rotation. I mean logically I'm sure its a great cardio workout but I've never really received the point of it! I should use this right?
I mean I'm sure I can look it up what is does and I have. I just need someone to let me know how good it works them out, how often they use the machine, the benefits stuff like that!
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