Pros and cons of the elliptical. Let me start off by saying that I never used to workout at a traditional gym. Dancing was my thing and that’s all I focused on. Then, one day, I realized that I needed to work on my cardio, so the first thing I did was run. After all, the only thing you need to do is slap on some decent shoes and go, right? Well as it turns out the first time I went, I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t breathe and my knees hurt like crazy. Over time, I figured out running, got past the discomfort and now I find it quite relaxing and freeing. What do you do, however, when you can’t run? How does working out on the elliptical compare? Let’s find out:
PROS AND CONS OF THE ELLIPTICAL
Low impact. There are many reasons why some of you can’t do high impact workouts. Whether it’s because your joints really can’t handle it or perhaps you are recovering from an injury, the elliptical might be perfect for you.
Upper body workout. It can be easy to cheat on an elliptical, but if you use the handles correctly then in addition to a lower body workout and cardio, you are also working out the muscles in your arms, back and chest.
Reverse stride. Although some people will run sideways or backwards on a treadmill most of us just stick to a normal stride. A very cool feature of the elliptical is that you can reverse the pedals adding an extra element to your workout.
Lower RPE. Since you are suspended in the air, your rate of perceived exertion is lower on an elliptical, so you just might be working out harder than you think.
Low impact. Although this is a pro, it’s also a con. All too many people are afraid of impact workouts. Unless you are recovering from an injury or suffering from arthritis or another medical condition, you should be including some weight bearing exercises in your regular workouts. They are necessary for osteoporosis prevention as well as strengthening your bones and muscles.
No incline. This is where a treadmill has a distinct advantage over an elliptical. Adding an incline to your workout not only targets the glutes at a much higher level but is also a huge cardiovascular push.
Unnatural movement. By no means is this a problem for everyone, but in my time as a trainer I noticed that many elliptical fans were getting injuries in their hips and lower backs. Since you are using your upper body simultaneously with your lower body it can tend to twist unnaturally. Also, the elliptical is made for a single average height, so the movement of the pedals may not fit your own legs and hips. If the movement feels like it’s unnaturally pulling on your joints, don’t power through it.
Less accurate stats. It’s important to remember that many machines don’t have a very accurate readout for how many calories you’ve burned. Also, whereas a treadmill keeps a steady pace, you are in control of how fast the elliptical moves, so it’s much easier give yourself an unnecessary rest.
The thing to remember is that getting off the couch and actually moving is what’s most important. I always encourage people to change up their workouts to reduce the chances of getting a repetitive use injury (yes you can absolutely get injured on an elliptical even if it’s a no impact machine). So if you love the elliptical, know that you can get a great workout on it and if you’ve never been on one, then maybe it’s time to try something new!
Do you use the elliptical at the gym?
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