We are all pressed for time so we want to get the most effective workout in the littlest amount of time possible. Well, if you have an elliptical machine with cross training handlebars or an incline ramp on your treadmill, using these implements will significantly enhance your workout.
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The elliptical trainer, first introduced around ten years ago, is one of the first machines to truly offer a complete cross training experience.
Its popularity is due to the smooth exercise that is gentle on the joints and so easy to use.
The moveable handlebars or cross training arms add another element to the workout not seen on equipment like treadmills, stationary cycles and stair climbers.
The total body elliptical trainer uses a number of your muscles including the biceps, triceps, deltoids, lats, pectorals, butt, hamstrings, quads, calves, in addition to your core area.
Using the cross training arms to work your upper body muscles is definitely worth it because you are working your entire body instead of just your lower body. In addition to seeing toned arms, shoulders and chest, adding the arm movement gets your heart rate elevated more quickly.
This quickening of your heart means that you are improving your cardiovascular workout and will enter into the fat burning mode more quickly.
The only con, and it is a slight one, is that if you are using the moveable handlebars, you may tend to choose a lighter resistance if your arms tire out quickly. Be sure you are working to your maximum capacity by increasing the resistance and/or time by at least 10% every couple of weeks.
It is a fact of exercising life that the more you do an exercise, the more your body adapts and unfortunately, the less benefits you receive. Using the incline ramp on your treadmill is a terrific way to challenge your body, particularly if you have been using your machine for some time.
Since the treadmill has been a staple in homes and gyms for decades, there have been numerous scientific studies completed to determine the effect of using the treadmill incline ramp.
Many of these studies have determined that using the incline engages different muscles and can increase the cardio load. These studies also recommend that users gradually increase the incline as they work in order to ensure all muscles are effectively warmed up.
The incline's type and percentage will affect your workout and the impact of your joints. Some users with knee issues may find that a steep incline puts too much pressure on the knees. Always play it safe and stop any exercise if you are feeling uncomfortable.
Using the incline makes the motion feel more like you are climbing a hill. This hill climbing motion could be excellent training for the athlete who will be racing in hilly areas but may not have close access to hills for training.
The incline doesn't even have to be very steep to provide benefits. For instance, if you typically run outdoors, then you probably know that you aren't getting the exact same exercise running indoors on the treadmill.
There is a small decrease in the energy you expend when on a treadmill because the belt propels you along slightly and there is no wind to contend with. However, to make the energy expenditure on par with running outdoors, you simply have to raise the incline only 1% and you will expend as many calories as if you were running or walking outdoors!
So, the next time you are at your gym or working out on your own home equipment, be sure to utilize the cross training arms of your elliptical trainer and the incline ramp of your treadmill.
Utilizing these implements gives your body a better overall workout resulting in improved fitness and appearance!
Good luck and all the best,
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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