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DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
Fitness Minutes: (15,545)
Posts: 9,713
2/17/14 11:25 A

AZULVIOLETA6: Properly used, an elliptical can be a very effective, low-impact cardio workout. HOwever, most people don't. They don't use the hands, and they don't bother with resistance. I love the ones that go really, really fast on the lowest setting.

I've found that I can get an equivalent workout on the elliptical that I do on the treadmill, if I use intervals, and it works more of the body, without putting strain on my ankles.

But it doesn't burn more calories, according to my HRM, and it's just a slightly different form of a treadmill. It's certainly NOT going to build strength; I always use it to warm up before I start hitting the real weights. :)

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
2/16/14 2:19 P

No, that makes very little sense. Elliptical machines don't even provide very good cardio workouts. My observation is that the wimpiest people in any gym (lack of strength AND endurance) are always the people who spend hours and hours on the elliptical.

Lift weights.

2/16/14 1:33 P

My minority report is to first lose the elliptical and the dreadmill since they are for cardio which is the least important part of a fitness programme unless you are going to do some form of endurance race or activity. The largest fitness deficit I have found in my clients is muscular function and strength since the sedentary lives most of us live today does not make demands on our muscles.

My recommendation as a trainer is the same one I use with my clients, begin a total body strength programme which involves pushing, pulling and twisting exercises against resistance. The simplest and easiest place to begin is with a bodyweight exercise programme then progress to adding free weights or resistance bands as your muscularity improves. A well constructed and executed strength programme will have a built in cardio benefit which reduces the need for dedicated cardio.

There are several simple strength training programmes in the forums on the Spark team Resistance band and bodyweight training.

2/15/14 9:06 A

Wow, this is very helpful. But I need some pointers on how to start slow. I have never been in any kind of training and I don't want to jump in, kill myself, and wind up with a bad taste. Any comments appreciated!

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (78,864)
Fitness Minutes: (77,635)
Posts: 2,170
4/16/13 2:15 A

Even when you go uphill, at the most unlikely use of very unfavorable gears, you will be applying a maximum force on the pedal near your body weight. Thus, cycling uphill is similar to climbing stairs. In terms of muscle building, it is probably better than nothing, but that is about it.

Not to mention the fact that cardio scales your body down over time if you don't do dedicated strength training. That is why pro cyclists are so small. Even when they climb uphill, the force they apply on the pedal will be less than the average guy doing the leg presses.

TACDGB Posts: 6,136
4/16/13 12:20 A

you will get stronger calfs but what about your upper body.....? Strength training is so much builds such stronger body. what you are doing is cardio.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
4/15/13 3:20 P

Yes, it is, but it's not the best or most ideal way to do so.

Any sufficiently challenging cardio will help build muscle. Look at cyclist's calves! That isn't from the gym, in most cases, that's just from cycling hills.

Putting high resistance on a machine will help to work the muscles that machine engages, and *can* help to build muscle, especially if a muscle building environment is done (calorie surplus).

However, it's not at all the best way to build muscle. Much better results are obtained by good quality strength training with heavy weights, to failure.

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (78,864)
Fitness Minutes: (77,635)
Posts: 2,170
4/15/13 2:02 P

Elliptical machines are for cardiovascular workouts, even at their highest setting. They are not meant to help build muscle.

Building muscle is a complex process, and very slow even under optimal conditions. Like M@L commented below, for building muscle, you should not be able to do more than 12 reps against the resistance of a machine or free weights. That is a much higher resistance than you can find on elliptical machines. Once you do 3 sets of 12 reps, you should not be able to do any more sets. Even then, you need to be at a caloric surplus to build muscle, which inevitably involves some fat gain.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
4/15/13 12:38 P

No. To gain muscle mass, you really need to be challenging your muscles at close to their maximum capacity. this is generally taken to meaning resistance high enough to completely fatigue your muscles in 12 reps or less.

So, if you can do more than 12-20 strides on the elliptical, it is cardio, not strength training.

A dozen squats however, IS an extremely effective lower body strengthening exercise.


JENSTRESS Posts: 5,403
4/15/13 12:13 P

I am not sure, but it is probably possible, though not likely.

KWIRTH4 Posts: 6
4/15/13 12:11 P

running on the elliptical, using a high resistance setting?

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