Making a resolution to get into shape is normally a very easy decision. On the other hand, forcing yourself to run, go to the gym, or bike each day is not very easy.
In many instances, you will find that buying an exercise bike or a treadmill is a very easy task. As is the case with many people, you will buy either of these two items having the best of intentions, but getting yourself to finish a workout or climb the exercise machine is another task altogether. This is particularly so when your joints and back are aching.
But with the best elliptical machines, you are assured of taking part in a workout that is not only beneficial to your health, but also one that is easy on it. It is the reason why low-impact home exercise machines have become very popular in the recent past.
An elliptical machine provides you with the right kind of cardiovascular exercise. This is an exercise that will let you build your muscles, lose weight, and firm the muscles as well—and all this will occur from the comfort of your residence.
The machines are also easier on your body compared to other trainers. This is because your feet will remain on the peddles all through, helping you avoid any kind of trauma to the feet or legs.
By doing this, you are able to exercise for much longer, even when you become sore, or start to experience chronic pain all over your body.
If you are not sure of which elliptical machine to purchase your home, this article will guide you on what to check for, and will also provide you with information on the various price ranges.
What is an elliptical machine?
An elliptical machine also referred to as a cross trainer can be described as a stationary exercise machine that can be used in stimulating running, walking, or stair climbing. It is able to do all this without placing any pressure to your joints, and therefore reduces your risk of getting injured.
For this reason, the machine is preferred by many people who have existing injuries as they can use the elliptical machine to remain fit, thanks to its low impact which does not have an effect on them.
The trainer comes with a non-impact workout for your cardiovascular system, which allows you to vary the intensity of your workout from light to hard. The intensity can be varied in terms of resistance and the training workout. The user gets to set the preferred intensity of their workout regimens.
Many machines available in the market today get to help you work out your upper and lower body parts. Another important factor to note is that the machines can be self-powered, which means that they will use the motion generated by the user, or you can choose the plug-in versions which will also supply electricity to the user consoles, as well as the required resistance.
Elliptical machines have most recently become the most popular cardio equipment for fitness trainers both at home and in commercial gyms.
However, you ought to note that there are different types of machines available in the market. If you look at the ones available at your gym, you will notice that there are different types available, e.g.,
- Elliptical cross-trainers
- Elliptical trainers
- Elliptical gliders
Some of these machines are designed for use at home while others are intended for use in commercial gym settings. They include the following:
1. Elliptical Trainer
Al elliptical trainer is a machine intended for lower body cardio. It comes with foot pedals for you to place your feet, and is accompanied by a stationery handlebar where you get to place your hands.
You get to use this machine by standing on its pedals, and then pushing them so that end you end-up making circular movements. For one to exercise on this machine, they will need to have both hip and knee extensions. The extensions are there to work your hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
2. Elliptical Cross-trainer
This is a cardio machine meant to work both your lower and upper body parts. It comes with the same foot pedals that are provided in the elliptical trainer, and its movements are similar to that of the trainer.
However, the cross-trainer comes with moving arms which will normally work your upper body as you are pushing on the foot pedals. When working out, you will be pushing, and then pulling on its metal arms in a pattern that will be alternating to that of your feet.
The difference with the elliptical trainer is that with this one, you are not just targeting the hip and the knee via the extension, but you will also be working all your other joints, e.g., the elbows and the shoulders.
Additionally, you get to pull back, and push your collarbones and shoulder blades. You, therefore, get to work the chest and upper body.
3. Elliptical Glider
The glider is very similar to the trainer. It comes with stationary handlebars and foot platforms. But with the glider, you will notice that the pedals will move up and down. The movement will occur at a slight backward angle.
You should note that the glider does in no way circle as is the case with the cross-trainers and the elliptical trainers. But the good news is that the glider will work your legs via the hip and knee extensions.
It enables you to pedal backwards and forwards as is the case with the other elliptical machines. The resistance experienced here comes from the forward movements that you will be making.
How is an elliptical trainer machine beneficial?
Ever looked around when you are at your local gym and noticed the different kinds of trainers that are available? Elliptical machines are preferred by many as they provide you with a low-impact workout which will help you exercise your lower and upper body.
They have a low impact to aging joints, but provide you with an optimal aerobic workout which will help you burn calories resulting in the desired loss of weight. The benefits that come with using an elliptical machine include:
- Low impact workouts
The machines reduce the strain and stress of working out by helping you take part in elliptical motions. When using the machine, you will notice that there is no time when your feet get to leave the foot pedals. Basically, it is like you are walking midair.
Normal exercises normally cause a jolt to the body with every step taken when running or walking. Studies suggest that a runner is able to impact up to two and a half times their normal body weight with each step.
When this happens, it not only has an impact on your joints, but it also affects the lower part of your back.
- Provides a natural path for leg and foot motion
Additionally, you will not have to deal with any reverse actions. Elliptical movements normally mimic the normal path taken by your hip, knee, and ankle joints when running, jogging, or walking.
To ensure that your joints will not be strained too much, the machines come with articulated foot pedals that are meant to help you conform all strides taken.
This means that your foot will not leave these pedals, but that the pedals will adjust to the angles taken by your strides.
- Provide weight-bearing workouts
Compared to stationary bicycles, the elliptical machines are able to provide you with workouts that are weight-bearing. Such workouts are necessary to prevent the development of osteoporosis.
- You experience a good workout in both your lower and upper body areas
Elliptical machines are unique in that both the lower and upper body areas will receive a workout. Actually, you will not find any other fitness equipment that can simultaneously work all these muscle groups. It is the reason why many fitness enthusiasts opt for the cross-trainer.
For you to realize all the benefits that come with this kind of dual action, you have to ensure that you have distributed the resistance between your lower and upper body areas.
- You get to burn more calories in less time
One of the greatest benefits associated with exercising many muscles at once is that you get to tone the whole body. Additionally, you will also optimize the overall amount of energy used.
In the long run, you will find that you are burning more fat and calories in very little time. Fitness experts have also suggested that using an elliptical machine provides a certain kind of exertion. This means that you will actually be exercising harder than you normally do.
- You get to enjoy your workout sessions
As is the case with the treadmills, elliptical machines also come equipped with various challenging workout programs. With these programs, you get to alternate resistance, helping you cover all kinds of environments.
Another added benefit of using these machines is the fact that many come with heart rate control. With these controls, you are able to optimize each workout session by enabling your heart rate to determine the kind of resistance needed to optimize the workout.
- They require minimal maintenance
One of the greatest benefits that come with using these machines is that you will not have to spend a lot of money on maintenance. They have fewer moving parts, which means that you do not have to worry about servicing the elliptical machine. There are no bearings, belts, rollers, or motors for you to worry about.
What factors should you consider when Buying?
When you are looking to buy an elliptical machine, there are several essential factors that will need to be considered:
- Operating budget
Many people consider cost when buying items for their personal use. As such, many will always opt to go for the cheapest item that they can find. But when dealing with this type of equipment, you should always consider quality above anything else.
Determine how much money you would like to spend before you go looking for one. This means that you must spend some time researching different types of elliptical machines first.
The good thing is that there are various machines to choose from different brands, making it easier for you to prepare a comparison chart. If you are still not sure on what you should be looking for, make it a point to visit a local fitness center to check out the kind of machines that they have in use.
This way, you will get to familiarize yourself with the different trainers available. It also becomes easier for you to make up your mind on what to go for.
Elliptical machines have varying designs. Some have wheels that can easily be folded for easier transportation and storage, while others are not compact and are designed for use in places with large spaces.
When looking at elliptical machines, you need to consider the design of your preferred machine. This means looking at the space available in your home.
- Brake, resistance system, and flywheel
These three are the factors that will influence its performance. They control its durability, loudness, and how the machine feels. When shopping for an elliptical machine, you will need to go for one that has a good brake system. This means that it needs to come with magnets which will assist in creating resistance.
Consider the weight of its flywheel. A normal machine has a flywheel that weighs around fifteen pounds. An important factor to note is a heavy flywheel is more preferable as it means that each stride will be smooth.
This is something that is influenced by your preferences. If you want to access the internet, or listen to music when working out, then consider choosing the elite elliptical machines. Standard machines will traditionally come with device compatibility and some speakers, but if you want more than this, then the only option is to go for the top brands.
There are consoles that come with LCD screens. The size of the screen will depend on the machine that you want to purchase. An ordinary machine will come with an in-built fan, reading rack, and a cup holder. But there are certain brands that will not include these features.
It is upon you to make inquiries prior to making a purchase.
- Customizable options
Go for a machine with these options if you are not the only person who will be using it. You should also consider it if you are the kind of person who likes to alternate their workout programs every once in a while. Customizable options allow you to adjust your stride, incline, and pivoting pedals.
This is important in all electronics. Many brands provide their clients with a lifetime warranty for any machine that they buy. Be sure to inquire whether the elliptical machine has a warranty before buying it.
Best for home use
Size is an important consideration when purchasing an elliptical machine for use at home. A good elliptical machine for your home is one that will not only fit in the available space, but is one that can be used by all the people in that house.
Many people looking for elliptical machines to use at home will normally go for those that are not as large as the ones found in the commercial gyms. These means that they need to be small, but not weak.
Consider the following:
- Sole E95 elliptical
- Nordic track freestride trainer FS7i elliptical
- Bowflex max trainer M5
Best under $1000
Schwinn 430 elliptical machine.
it comes with:
- A solid metal frame and integrated levelers
- Can be used by people who weigh up to 275lbs
- It has 22 programs, can track your goals, and there are two user settings
- It comes with a ten-year warranty.
Its features include:
- Has a user capacity of up to 300lbs
- It records information such as the time that has elapsed, the calories you have burned, the distance that you have covered.
- It has six inclination positions, and a twenty-inch stride to provide you with better versatility
- Comes with a ten-year warranty
- 300lbs user capacity
- Eight pre-loaded workout programs
- Six-inclination positions
- A big LCD monitor. It is able to monitor your pulse rate, number of calories burned, time, and your speed.
Proform hybrid trainer
- Comes with a recumbent bike and an elliptical trainer
- Six-incline positions
- Provides fourteen levels of digital resistance.
- Ideal for those interested in high intensity workouts
- Comes with an LCD monitor to monitor the total number of calories burned, the time spent on the machine, and your overall speed.
Best under $500
Machines in this price range are for those who want to get in shape, but do not want their elliptical machines to have too many features. They include:
Proform 850 elliptical
It comes with gamefit and retails for five hundred dollars. It is ideal for those who would like to play video games when they are exercising. Its games are known as Calorie Destroyer and Fat Blocker. Even if you are not into video games, this machine will still provide you with a very good workout.
It comes preloaded with twelve workout programs, twelve resistance levels, iPod dock, and a heart rate monitor.
Proform 500 elliptical
It comes with a sixteen-inch stride length, a heart rate monitor, ten preloaded programs, and a fan. A closer look at the programs will reveal that half of them are focused on personal training programs while the others focus on weight loss. For weight-loss, you will need to input a calorie goal. The machine will then automatically adjust its resistance to help you accomplish your goal.
For the personal training programs, you will need to pick a goal. It can be:
- Weight loss
- Aerobic fitness
- Improved performance
Proform 500 folding elliptical trainer with stride-select
It retails for less than five hundred dollars and is a worthy purchase for people who do not have enough space in their homes. It also comes with an MP3 player, a cooling fan, and allows you to select between different kinds of stride effects.
Best Under 300
Elliptical machines in this price range include:
Exerpeutic 1000XI heavy duty magnetic elliptical
- Large LCD screen that helps you track calories burned, distance covered, and time spent on the elliptical machine.
- Come with a belt and flywheel to help you enjoy a workout session that is not only quiet, but smooth as well.
- Comes with a ribbed pedal to help you exercise without slipping.
Body rider BRD2000 elliptical dual trainer
- You can easily adjust its tension by turning a know
- High-momentum blades designed to assist you achieve a breeze atmosphere when working out
- An electric console that displays your calories, distance, time, and speed
- Adjustable seat to accommodate people of different heights. It also provides you with different workout positions.
- Comes with two long lasting batteries. This means that you can work out even when there is no power.
Sunny health and fitness SF-E905 elliptical trainer
- Removable pedals that provide you with a firm grip when working out
- Micro-tension control that provides you with control during the workout session. This helps you adjust the workout intensity
- It comes with an LCD monitor to help you monitor your calories, time, distance, and speed.
- Magnetic resistance to enable you achieve your desired workout results for each period. Preloaded with eight workout programs.
Best Under 200
When choosing an elliptical machine that is under two hundred dollars, you should consider:
- Your budget
- Its compactness
- Ease of use
Best Under 200 include:
Exerpeutic aero air ellipticals
Ideal for home use as it is compact, and easily movable. It comes with attached wheels that makes it easier to move from one room to another. It also has some large pedals that have ridges to help ensure that you will not slip when working out.
Body rider fan elliptical trainer
Ideal for people who like to take part in sessions that are smooth and devoid of noise. It will help you exercise both your lower and upper body thanks in part to the moving handlebars. It comes with a bonus video that takes you through how to use it.
Best overall regardless of price
Looking for a good trainer and not sure of what to get? Consider the proform hybrid trainer. Its features include:
- It provides sixteen resistance levels
- Ideal for use by both professional and beginner fitness enthusiasts
- Provides a quiet workout
- Comes with a recumbent bike and an elliptical trainer all for the price of one
Safety precautions when using elliptical machines
When using an elliptical machine, there are a few safety precautions you need to keep in mind:
- Always start slow
- Make sure you are using the resistance
- Keep a close eye on the heart rate monitor
- Drink lots of water during the workout. That is many elliptical machines come with a cup holder. You need to stay hydrated.
- Keep an eye out on your weight
- Do not hold the handrails too firmly
- Always ensure that you are maintaining the right posture during your workout
There are users who have reported experiencing some ankle and foot numbness after using their elliptical machines. This normally comes about when you use the trainer for too long without giving yourself some time off. Regardless of how much you love your elliptical machine, you need to give yourself at least one day off each week.