Get Into Shape With The Elliptical

elliptical trainer and getting into shape

Get Into The Best Shape Of Your Life With An Elliptical Trainer

Although elliptical exercise equipment has been around the gyms since the mid 1990s, it's only in the last couple of years that they have surged in popularity for home gyms.

The popularity of elliptical exercise equipment is because it offers people a low impact exercise that is easy on the joints and is appropriate for all fitness levels.

Many people I know swear by the elliptical machine since it is a great way to maximize the time spent exercising while minimizing the wear and tear on your joints.

Once you try one, it will quickly become one of your favourite cardiovascular exercises!

Elliptical exercise equipment is basically a hybrid of a stair master and cross-country ski machine. You place your feet on the pedals, and start moving your legs in an elliptical (oval shaped) motion.

With an elliptical trainer, your legs keep moving in the same manner continually, even though you are experiencing a full range of motion. This smooth action keeps your knee joints supple.

On a machine with handlebars, you place your hands on the handlebars and move your arms in a back and forth motion.

The machine provides resistance of the motion of your arms and legs. You can control the amount of resistance on the control panel, which allows you to have a very difficult workout with a great deal of resistance or an easier workout with less resistance.

The method for elliptical exercise equipment to provide resistance depends on whether it is a machine for home based use or gym club use. Home based elliptical exercise equipment provides resistance with a band around the flywheel's rim. On the other hand, elliptical machines found in the gym use magnetic resistance, which allows for smoother pedaling.

The difference in the resistance is a huge reason why you will see some elliptical exercise equipment on the market selling for only a few hundred dollars, while others sell for a few thousand. If you've ever stepped on the pedals of a cheaper machine, you know how much more uncomfortable these machines can be to operate.

Elliptical exercise equipment, which is very easy to use, can provide you with a multitude of health benefits.

One of the first benefits is the quality of the workout. Using elliptical exercise equipment provides you with a similar cardiovascular workout to jogging or running, but without the serious impact on your joints.

If you've ever used a stair climber or been a jogger, you know how hard those exercises can be on your knee joints. In fact, if you have any back, ankle or knee concerns, elliptical exercise equipment could be your answer for a safe and effective workout.

A second benefit of using elliptical exercise equipment is that it provides you with weight bearing exercise, useful for protecting against muscle and bone loss. If you usually use swim, use an exercise bike or a rowing machine for your cardio exercise, you are not getting the benefits of weight bearing exercise.

An additional benefit of elliptical exercise equipment is the muscles they work. According to the manufacturers of elliptical exercise equipment, you will have 40 percent more gluteal involvement than on traditional machines like an exercise bike or stair climber.

You will receive these gluteal benefits when pedaling in the forward motion. The nice thing about elliptical exercise machines is the ability to also pedal backwards (now you can't do that on a treadmill)! Pedaling in reverse allows you to effectively work your hamstrings and quadriceps.

Using an elliptical machine with handlebars gives you a great cross training workout. The handles encourage you to work your upper body muscles giving you the best possible workout for your time.

A final benefit for using elliptical exercise equipment is its' ease of use. The fluid, walking like motion is easy to learn and sustain. You are in control of the workout and can increase the speed and/or resistance as you improve and get in better physical condition.

Don't just take my word on how great elliptical exercise equipment is for cardiovascular exercise. The National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), (an international association serving 52 countries, dedicated to providing the most advanced information regarding strength training and conditioning practices) recommends elliptical exercise equipment to elite winter athletes for their off season training. 1 The NSCA believes that the elliptical machine is a great conditioning tool with its ability to vary speed, incline and direction and the way the elliptical machine demands action from the gluteals, hamstrings and quadriceps.

Next time you are at the gym, I encourage you to hop on an elliptical and discover the great benefits for yourself. You just might become hooked and want elliptical exercise equipment for your own home!

If you're ready to start using the elliptical, try our in house elliptical workouts:

20 Minute Fat Burning Elliptical Workout

Interval Elliptial Workout

All the best and good luck!


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.

Home > Fitness Equipment Info > Fitness Equipment Articles