Cross Trainer / Elliptical Do’s and Don’ts
An Elliptical is just another name for a Cross Trainer, most often used by our American cousins. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, once you use the thing and it does not become an expensive clothes horse.
Given their many advantages, such as their accessibility and friendliness to joints, many people who are into fitness and getting fitter or working out at home, opt to use them. However, most exercisers never receive guidance on how to operate an elliptical machine properly. That may be the reason why trainers frequently observe clients utilising them improperly. Fitness experts list their top elliptical dos and don’ts in the section below for a more productive workout.
- Posture. That’s a problem because when you repeat a movement over and over, you want to do so in good alignment to protect your joints and muscles.Stand tall and place equal amounts of pressure on your feet and legs. Your upper body should not be taking the brunt of your weight.
- Also important: Keep your shoulders back and down. People will use their arms to push and pull, but keep their shoulders raised up in a defensive posture. This causes bad posture, a tight neck and traps and possibly even headaches.
- Hanging out at the same resistance level for your entire workout is a big no-no. The resistance option is there for a reason and can help make your muscles and joints stronger, in addition to your cardiovascular system. By staying at the lowest resistance level during your workout (or by staying at the same level the whole time) your body will adapt and become more efficient over time, resulting in less of a calorie burn, muscle building, strength, endurance and tone.
Sample workout: To get the most out of your workout and ensure you keep making progress, she recommends starting at a low level for a 2–4 minute warmup. Then advancing your level every 4–5 minutes until your breathing becomes too difficult to hold a conversation. Then, cool down.
- Start with a warm-up before you begin your workout. This can be a simple 5-minute walk to get your heart rate up.
- Stand up straight with your core engaged while pedalling the machine to avoid any back pain or injury.
- Keep your hands on the handlebars for balance, but avoid leaning on them too heavily.
- Focus on a smooth and fluid motion. The elliptical is designed to mimic the natural motion of walking or running, so don’t interrupt the flow with jerky movements.
- Keep your feet flat on the pedals to avoid straining your calves and reduce the risk of shin splints.
- Vary your routine by changing the resistance level or direction of your pedalling to challenge different muscle groups.
- As always, stay hydrated throughout the workout and drink plenty of water.
- Don’t lean too far forward or backward while on the machine. This could put unnecessary strain on your lower back.
- Don’t pedal backwards. This may cause you to lose your balance and fall off.
- Don’t slouch or arch your back. This puts excessive pressure on your lower back and can result in muscle strain or injury.
- Don’t rely on the machine’s console to measure your progress. Instead, listen to your body, increase intensity gradually and pay attention to how your muscles feel.
- By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of using an elliptical trainer – a low-impact, total-body cardio workout that places minimal stress on your joints. Remember, form and technique are key to an effective workout and reducing the risk of injury.