How to Use Elliptical Trainers – Get the Most Out of Your Cardio Workout

If you’re wondering how to use elliptical trainers and you’ve never stepped on one before, you’ll be surprised to learn that the darn things practically run by themselves. Most of them simply require you to climb on to the foot pedals and press the pedals down to get momentum going. But learning proper elliptical trainer use will keep you on longer; you won’t tire as easily and you’ll get the most out of your cardio workout.

How to Use Elliptical Trainers - The Basics

To mount the machine from the side, grab the handle bar for balance and step on the pedals. The pedals have no resistance to your weight so be careful when climbing on and off. Once you have begun the pedal momentum, you simply keep pedaling while the elliptical trainer automatically begins to record your time and distance manually. Get acquainted on how to use the programs and pick a timed workout that suits your fitness goals.

How to Use Elliptical Trainers

Learn how to use the elliptical trainer’s stationary handrails; they are there to help you keep your balance. You should not lean or slouch on the rail; the proper position is to keep your body upright and your head straight. To get a better workout on your trunk and legs, drop your hands to your sides. This will demand more work on your core muscles as you strive to maintain balance while pedaling.

Another important aspect in elliptical trainer use is the pedaling direction - you can pedal forwards or backwards. The elliptical is a cross between a treadmill and a cross country ski machine, but instead of your feet sliding back and forth, the pedals will move in an oval or elliptical pattern.

Many newbies who have questions about how to use elliptical trainers often ask about the resistance settings. Adding resistance makes pedaling more difficult. It feels much like demand put on the legs when you change to a higher gear setting on a bike.

Many elliptical trainers also offer an adjustable incline much like treadmills do. This isn’t only for simulating stair and hill climbs; by using the incline option you change which muscles are being called upon to work harder. At lower inclines, the calves and legs do much of the work, while the steepest incline will target the gluts and hamstrings.

How Much and How Often

If you are just learning how to use an elliptical machine, you may initially try to do too much, either adding more resistance or more incline than you can handle. As a beginner, you should be able to do 15 to 20 minutes at the more moderate settings without breaking much of a sweat. After just a few sessions using the elliptical trainer, you’ll have the confidence and motivation to start increasing the intensity of your workout.

And one last tip regarding how to use elliptical trainers correctly: if you workout on these machines daily for 3 to 5 times a week, it’s strongly recommended that you try out the different workout programs the machine has to offer. The change-ups target more muscle groups for better overall fitness, and they help to prevent boredom!

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