Is the Elliptical Machine Bad for Your Lower Back (Learn from Experience)

The elliptical machine is a fantastic workout tool. Doing exercise on the elliptical burns calories and boosts your stamina. However, working out is not so easy for people suffering from any pain or aches. If that’s the case with you, you might be concerned about whether or not is the elliptical machine bad for your lower back?

The elliptical machine is not that bad for your lower back. It is a low-impact workout machine. The elliptical machine’s pedals and handles assist in providing back support. As a result, it puts less strain on the knees and back than most other workouts.

But the elliptical machine might hurt your back if you don’t do the workout correctly. Your back is a delicate area of your body. Even the tiniest misstep will aggravate your back pain. This article will help you understand why an elliptical machine is not bad for your lower back and provide you some safety measures to avoid inconveniences.

Are Elliptical Machines Safe for Your Back?

The elliptical machine is safe for your lower back as it doesn’t put much strain around that area. It’s a low impact workout and does not heavily stress any particular area of the body.

Here are a few reasons why the elliptical machine is a safe choice for your lower back-

1. Strengthen your muscles

An elliptical is an excellent tool for a full-body workout. Almost 80% of your body part gets engaged when you work out on an elliptical machine. Quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, biceps, triceps, abdominal, and many other muscles get involved in an elliptical workout.

You can use an elliptical machine on high resistance. It also has the incline feature. Thus, performing high-intensity interval training will help to strengthen your muscles. Building strong abdominal muscles will help you to prevent back pain as you will get fewer back injuries.

2. Less stress on your joints and back

As I have mentioned earlier, the elliptical is a low-impact machine. Low-impact exercises generally put less strain on your knees and back.

The elliptical has a fluid motion. That’s why it is easy on your joints and doesn’t usually hurt your back.

3. Easy to keep a healthy posture

The main reason behind back problems is poor body posture. If you work out, walk, run, or even sit incorrectly, it might cause back problems.

However, on an elliptical machine, you can easily maintain the correct body position. The elliptical machine has well-placed pedals and handles. As a result, these aid in maintaining proper body posture and allow you to exercise smoothly.

4. Enhanced spinal flexion and rotation

Elliptical machines are designed to give you greater lumbar flexion angles. It helps you with enhanced lumbar rotation. It is a great machine for consistent spinal rotation.

If your lower back doesn’t tend to get stressed with constant lumbar movement, it is a great way to strengthen your back. Strengthening your back will make it less prone to injuries. So, the elliptical machine serves ideally for your lower back problem.

5. You can adjust the settings

The best thing about an elliptical is you can adjust the settings according to your needs. Most elliptical machines have resistance and incline features. You can change the resistance to a high or low configuration mode. You can also choose whether you want to work out on a high-intensity interval program or not.

People with lower back problems can set the machine on a low resistance option and work out according to their ability. This way, their back won’t get a lot of pressure, and the pain won’t increase.

Precautions to Take for People with Lower Back Pain

An elliptical machine, unlike the treadmill, is gentler on the back.  Yet, working out with a lower back problem can be a bit tricky. Even though the elliptical machine is safe for the lower back, it can still be harmful if not used properly.

The following are a few things you need to follow if you have lower back issues-

1. Don’t forget to warm-up

Warming up is a must before starting any kind of exercise. It is necessary because it helps to prepare your body and mind for the workout. Here’s a list of some warm-up exercises you should do before starting an elliptical workout-

  • Wall stretches
  • Step stretches
  • Pike stretch
  • Butt kicks
  • Trunk rotations

You have to at least warm-up for 10 minutes before using the elliptical machine. It will raise the temperature of your body and muscles, and your range of motion will increase.

2. Use resistance wisely

You would not want to make your back pain worse. If you work out on high resistance for an extended period, you run the risk of aggravating lower back pain.

Working out on high resistance will put pressure on your back. So, it is better to avoid working out on a high resistance option if you have back issues. But if you still want to work out on high resistance, be sure to keep your workout time short.

3. Try to maintain correct posture

Working out with correct body posture is the first condition to avoid body aches. For the design of the elliptical machine, it is easy to maintain a good body posture. However, failing to keep your legs and hands in the correct position and wrong movements of your body parts might result in bad posture.

Few things to follow to maintain healthy posture-

  • Try to keep your shoulders and back relaxed.
  • Don’t tie your hands or knees.
  • You have to keep your neck in line with your spine.
  • Distribute body weight evenly on the feet.
  • Maintain a straight back posture.

When exercising on an elliptical machine, put your weight on your heels. You should also relax your arms and loosen your grip. Thus, back pain can be avoided if you maintain proper posture.

4. Stop immediately if your back starts to get hurt

It would be best if you never ignore any pain while working out. Pain can be a sign of straining or stressing your joints. Back pains don’t usually get worse if you don’t make them worse by yourself. If you ignore the pain and continue to exercise on the elliptical, your lower back might face further damage.

So, don’t put pressure on your back. If it starts to hurt, just stop. Try to figure out the positions that are stressing your back. If it is bending forward or bending backward or any other position, don’t do it. Trust me. It won’t help you from any side. It will only make your problem worse.

5. Consult with a doctor

The lower back problem is a medical issue. So, it is best to consult a doctor before starting to work out on an elliptical machine. There are different kinds of back problems, and they might need different solutions. Your doctor knows what might be the best for you because they can identify the actual issue you are facing with your back.

Thus, if you plan to work out on the elliptical machine and have issues with your back, consult with a doctor first. If your doctor says you can work out on the elliptical machine, consider doing so. 

Working out is like a nightmare for people with lower back problems. Choosing an appropriate machine for workouts and exercise correctly can help you in this regard. You were curious to know whether or not is the elliptical machine bad for your lower back.

HopefullyI’ve cleared all your doubts. So, don’t hesitate. Start working out from today and ensure a healthy and fit body. Best wishes.

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