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Elliptical Training 101

By Clinton Walker III

Elliptical Exercise and Stairclimber machines are a great way to burn calories, pump up your heart rate, and work the quads, hamstrings, and butt. It is also a good exercise to take the pressure off your knees from running. Most Elliptical exercise machines feature an interactive display that shows you how long you’ve been stepping, how many calories you’ve expended, and your level of intensity. Stairclimbers will send your feet marching up and down, while elliptical exercise machines move your feet in a pattern of a flattened-out circle.  

The Routine:  

Here’s how to get more out of your stepping or climbing workout.  

-Start slowly. It’s best to step or climb for 30 minutes and work up from there.  

-Position your feet well. Users may feel their toes become numb and tingly before the end of the session. If you’re getting weird messages from your southernmost reaches, you’re probably putting too much pressure on the balls of your feet, pinching off blood circulation to your toes.  

Move your feet forward or back on the foot pads until you find a position the lets them feel normal. Also wiggle your toes periodically to ward off the tingles.  

-Step away from the arm rest  

You’ll get more work out of your workout when you don’t lean heavily on the armrest. For starters, you’ll be bearing and moving around more of your own weight, and burning more calories as a result. Second, when you stand up straight, you give your abs a better workout because they have to support you during exercise. You can also burn more calories, add your arms to the action, pumping them as you would during a run. You can burn up to 30% more calories by not using the armrest, which makes the workout more efficient.  

-Warmup and Cooldown:  

Be sure to ease into your workout to allow your muscles to warm up, and slow down at the end of the session to cool down. You’ll probably find that your machine has warmups and cooldowns built into its workouts.  

                   

Author's Bio  

I am a 32 year-old personal trainer from Birmingham, AL. My experience includes over six years of Personal Training. I have studied diet techniques, weightlifting, and nutrition for over 10 years. This includes the study of kinesiology at the University of Alabama. You may visit Fitness website for additional questions.


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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Imotive8u wrote Nov 8, 2008
    • Push through the burn!! Your body is loving it:) When the burning starts if you can push through..keep going. If not, slow your pace and it will dissipate. Don’t give up-each time you exercise it will take a little longer for the burn to happen. How much exercise do you currently do? Do you use weights? If so, let me know what your regular routine looks like and I will help you make it better.

      PS: I am a certified Personal Trainer



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mayra07 wrote Nov 13, 2008
    • Hi
      In 2003 i lost over 50 lbs working out and dieting. I am still hitting the gym religiously. Sometimes i fall of the wagon but get back on it. I have great upper body strength but with all the working out, cardio, etc I still seem to not get the tummy out of the way. ha ha.

      OMG it is so hard. Is there anything you suggest I should do to get better results. I know with all the weight lost it will be hard but I still have hope. I recently fell off the wagon and gained 12 lbs i am back and hitting it hard again.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Imotive8u wrote Nov 13, 2008
    • Mayra,

      First things first—how old are you? Do you have any health issues? Knee, back, ankle issues? Meds?
      When you say weights can you be more specific i.e. what type of exercises, what size weights?
      Happy to help if I can.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mayra07 wrote Nov 13, 2008
    • I am 43 yrs old with no health issues, meds, etc. I do 1 hr cardio, I do the hydraulic machines for all parts of my body, I also do regular weights depending what part of my body i am working on i use 10-15 lb weights.  

      I do 30 minute circuit as well. My main concern is my abs.

      pls help



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Leadinladytracy wrote Nov 14, 2008
    • I bought an elliptical a year ago and it is the best purchase I could have made! I love mine and have worked my way up to an hour 5 days a week!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Smiley1962 wrote Feb 24, 2009
    • I love the eliptical.  It is less pressure on my knees.  I can do 3.15 miles in 30 minutes.  Now I need to push myself.  My goal is to be able to do 4 miles.  I exerise Monday - Friday, but I really need to try the weekends also.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jimmie wrote Mar 6, 2010
    • Have you ever tried the pilates reformer?  I am a convert.  I still do cardio, can’t run anymore it is considered taboo for me because at the age of 45 I have had a total knee replacement on one knee.  A few months after my surgery I started pilates did mat but really like the reformer.  It gives great results and I started seeing positive effects after only 2 weeks and my bad knee had really been bad for 30 years.  Pilates gives results everywhere but you definitely see it in your abs area.  I suggest giving it a try.  I prefer to the reformer with semi-private sessions.  And if you are just starting I definitely suggest that route to give you the attention you need to really do it right.



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