If you’re trying to lose fat, and elliptical trainer is sure to be at the top of your list when it comes to exercise machines. They’re very popular right now, but what are the benefits of elliptical trainers? After all, they look like some kind of evil device from the middle ages with a really cool display thrown in.
There are several benefits to ellipticals; they are very effective at burning fat, they are easy on your joints and back, and they work the upper and lower body at the same time. Because they imitate the elliptical arc made by the foot as you walk, they are easier to use.
Another benefit provided by many of the mid and upper end machines is that they include an advanced control panel and display. This allows you many things. You can monitor your progress because these displays are replete with readouts for just about any parameter under the sun. Depending on the trainer, you can get a readout for total calories burned, instant calories burned, speed, incline, upcoming terrain, your horoscope, and next week’s weather.
Another feature found on the better units is their ability to create and store customized exercise routines. This is great if you have different fitness goals, are easily bored, or have multiple people using the machine.
Front vs. Rear drive –
The difference between a front and rear drive elliptical trainer is this – The drive unit is typically the foot pads connected to a massive flywheel with linkage system. The flywheel accounts for much of the reason these things are so hard to move.
I can relate from experience, having to move one of these behemoths from your garage into your exercise room is no easy task. These beasts are very heavy, but that’s part of the reason they’re so smooth. That giant flywheel is just like the flywheel on your car, the heavier it is, the smoother the operation. The flywheel is from the front or the rear, again, like your car. Rear drive systems are typically on the mid end units and above. They are usually smoother and make your workout more enjoyable.
Different Elliptical Trainer Resistance Systems
Elliptical trainers use different types of resistance systems. The resistance lets you adjust your exercise routine. The way they do this varies widely however. The better units use something called eddy current resistance. Basically, this is an electromagnetic resistance device, it is very smooth and extremely tunable, so you can choose exactly how much or little resistance you want. One notch down from that gives you a motorized brake system. This isn’t quite as smooth as the eddy current devices, but it’s what most people are used to and it works well.
If you purchase the bottom of the barrel machine, you’ll probably get a manual brake that you tighten with a screw-wheel type arrangement, like the old exercise bike at your cousin Harold’s place. One big disadvantage of the manual system is that you can’t use the computerized training programs that vary the resistance as you go through your routine.
This ability to customize is one of the primary advantages you’ll find in mid to upper end machines. They have the ability to run programs that simulate different terrain, such as hills. This is great because not only does it fend off boredom, but it increases the effectiveness of your training routine.
One more feature on these machines that leads to a benefit is that many of them have built-in heart monitors. This feature allows you to stay in the target heart rate range you need to optimally meet your goals, weather they are increased cardio vascular fitness or fat burning.
So, the primary benefits of elliptical trainers are:
*They are non-impact and imitate the natural motion of the foot and legs, so they are easier on people with joint and back problems.
*They are very effective for burning fat.
*They work the upper and lower body together.
*They can have customizable programs to work with your specific fitness goals.
* They can give you large amounts of information so you can closely monitor your training.
*Heart monitors allow precise monitoring of your actual heart rate to ensure it is within the target range, leading to more efficient exercise routines.
If you’ve never tried one, you owe it to yourself to do it. Mine has beat me down (in a good way) more times than I care to count, and I’m the better for it.
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