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Is the Elliptical Good for Cardio?

Elliptical machines often get a bad reputation for being an easy workout as they are touted as being low impact and joint friendly. The truth is that not only is the elliptical good for cardio workouts, it can also work your entire body. It is estimated that a user can burn up to 800 calories in an hour (depending on their body weight) by using an elliptical trainer. To get the best cardio workout on your elliptical machine, make sure to follow these tips below.

Stand Up Straight

The handrails on an elliptical can sometimes be tempting for users to hold onto and lean forward as their legs do all the work. Slouching and poor form is not only inefficient but can contribute to lower back pain and muscular imbalance. Holding on to the handrails will make your elliptical workout feel easier – which will not be giving you the challenging cardio session that you need.

Plan Your Workout

Before you begin your workout, start with a plan. Create a goal for what you want to achieve each day as well as long-term results. Make sure to monitor your exertion level and keep it at a challenging level. All too often, without a workout plan, users will just hop on an elliptical machine and slowly stride without any resistance, which in the end will not provide the level of results that you envisioned. Resistance is what makes the elliptical a great form of cardio and is essential to challenge the user as they push and pull through their stride to tone muscles.

Use the Handles

When you actively use the handles on your elliptical machine, power is distributed between your upper and lower body. For an effective cardio workout, actively pull and push the poles while maintaining straight posture which engages your core. With the handles, you should be pumping your arms both forward and backward at a 90-degree angle – a motion similar as if you were running.

Modify Your Routine

The most common reason that people reach fitness plateaus is the failure to modify their routine. It is important to change variables such as stride rate, resistance, and elevation on the elliptical to introduce new stressors into your workout routine to continue to keep it challenging. Also, remember to change the direction on your elliptical machine. The different motion targets other muscles such as your hamstrings and glutes.

Elliptical machines provide an excellent form of cardio exercise providing the user puts in the effort. Mindlessly striding with no resistance while watching TV will never help you reach any fitness goals. By changing your routine and maximizing the time spent on your elliptical to make it as intense as possible will ensure that you are getting a calorie blasting, full body session. If you are ready to purchase an elliptical machine for your home gym, download this month’s promotions to save.