Are low impact elliptical workouts a good fit for you? Elliptical workouts are easier on the joints than treadmill walking and running and the calorie burn is very similar. Here are the benefits of low impact elliptical workouts, with guidance on getting the best workout on your elliptical machine.
Sidelined by a running injury? Want to reduce the impact of your daily running workouts? The data is in. A recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, found that injured runners who used the elliptical for training were able to maintain and improve physiological and performance variables in four weeks. The muscles targeted by the elliptical are similar to running. You’ll get a heavy training effect on the glutes, quads, and core.
A tough training session on the elliptical will also get your cardiovascular system into running shape. All of this happens without tearing up your joints and tendons. For the biggest benefit, use your elliptical for tough workouts, such as intervals or tempo runs. Base your effort level on your rate of perceived exertion, rather than heart rate. Your heart rate may be higher on the elliptical, but the training effect will be similar to your runs. Whenever possible, save your endurance workouts for the road so that your muscles and joints can gradually adjust to those miles.
Elliptical machines aren’t just for runners. If you’re choosing between an elliptical machine and walking, you’ll be happy to learn that there are a lot of similarities between the two. Hips, knees, and ankles complete much the same action on both machines. The elliptical trainer tends to target the bigger muscles of the body, namely the thighs and behind.
The elliptical trainer also uses a bigger range of motion on the joints of the lower body, despite its lower impact. This lets you work more intensely without impact. If you appreciate the simplicity of walking but don’t want to take on running, an elliptical can give you a similar calorie burn.
You can also benefit from cross training by combining intense indoor elliptical workouts with outdoor walks. Walking outdoors will complement your elliptical workout gains with the bone building benefits of impact and increased endurance in your daily activities.
Theoretically, running on a treadmill burns the most calories of any exercise equipment (here’s why). Relying entirely on the mechanics of your body, rather than the machine, to hold your body upright and complete the movement is key to maximizing your calorie burn.
But don’t fret if you’re not a runner! Elliptical workouts are a solid choice to increase the calorie burn of your workouts. Turns out that if you keep your Rate of Perceived Exertion at a level similar to running on a treadmill, energy expenditure and oxygen consumption is similar as well. This means that you’ll get fitter and burn running level calories by mixing elliptical training into your weekly workouts.
HIIT workouts, or High Intensity Interval Training, gets positive press for good reason. These workouts increase our Post Workout Oxygen Consumption (i.e. calorie burn), increase levels of Human Growth Hormone, and get us fit faster. HIIT workouts sound intimidating, but they are doable for anyone. By taking the impact out of HIIT training and letting you work at your own rate, elliptical HIIT workouts will level up your training.
Create a HIIT workout by alternating periods of full exertion and recovery. Better yet, take the guesswork out of your HIIT workouts with the research backed Sprint 8 programming available on Vision and Matrix elliptical trainers. These workouts are efficient, with a complete session in less than half an hour. Best of all, they are demonstrated to reduce your waist circumference while improving your cardiovascular fitness.
Strength training is important to boosting your body’s fat burning. Struggling with your strength training form after running? Elliptical workouts may be the answer. By combining low impact elliptical cardio with your strength training days, you won’t have to choose between cardio and strength training.
Elevating your heart rate on the elliptical machine will make you burn more calories during your workout. At the same time, decreasing the impact of your workout means you can increase your strength training reps and effort level. Enjoy better form and bigger results.
Beyond the benefits of low impact workouts, elliptical machines are also one of the quietest pieces of home exercise equipment. This makes it more enjoyable when you are catching up on your latest Netflix binge or escaping with Passport Virtual Active technology.
While your workout flies by, keep tabs on your form. Leaning on the machine will not only compromise your back and your breathing, but will also result in lower calories burned. Hold your body upright and drive with the arms, as well as the legs to involve your entire body in your workout.
Reversing your movement periodically will release tension from your feet and ankles, as well as let you focus on different muscle groups by engaging your hamstrings in a pulling movement.
Finally, challenge yourself by increasing your load or speed. The pre-programmed workouts (including Sprint 8) on many elliptical trainers will do this automatically. This will keep you from plateauing. You can continue to get fitter and stronger through the benefits of low impact elliptical workouts.