Elliptical machines are special sporting machines, specifically designed to mimic the natural movement of the body, when one is walking or running. This is practically accomplished through the extension of the legs and the rotation of the hips. Even though these machines are particularly suitable for individual suffering from joint or back problems, thanks to its low-impact workouts, a proper use of the machine can lead to a whole body workout without much risk. Thus, it’s very necessary for anybody aspiring to use this machine to first all know the practical steps on how to master its usage. The steps are as follows:
Step 1: Preliminary Preparation: You have to take plenty of water, 2-3 hours before the work out. Additional 473 to 710 ml of clean water should be taken during and after the exercise. Next, put on loose fitting clothing that are resistant to sweat and a pair of running shoes that has arch supports.
Step 2: Mounting the ellipticals: Normally, majority of these machines consist of two sets of handles: a stationary set and another one that moves to and fro. Once you clutch the stationary handle and tread on the farthest step, the step will start moving. But note that the rate of its movement will be low if the step is at its lowest rotational level. Clutch the movable handle and raise the second foot. Make sure you’re stable before proceeding to step 3.
Step 4: Stationing your feet in alignment with your hip: The feet, which can either be turned outward or inward but always straight forward, must accurately be hip width apart. Fortunately ellipticals always have spacious place for the feet. The alignment of the feet and hip is very important.
Step 5: Positioning your spine in a neutral position: This is can be accomplished by standing straight up. Positioning the spine in a neutral position helps to minimize incidence of stress on the back during the exercise. After positioning the spine accordingly, the next step will be to push the pelvis region forward. However, you must avoid overarching the back, when pushing the pelvis region forward. The abdominal muscles should be adequately positioned, so as to support the back.
Step 6: Pedaling: The pedaling movement should be started with a forward motion. This helps to activate the screen on the elliptical. During the pedaling motion, the hands must be placed on the stationary handles. This helps to keep you steadied, even when you are being distracted by the screen. Note that the pedaling should start with a slow fluid motion. At first, the movement may seem awkward to you. But things will become clearer as time goes on. You will also notice that the pedal move exactly in the same manner as a stationary bike, while the arms mimic the moving of walking and running. Whenever one of the arms is extended, the corresponding opposite pedals.
Step 7: Select the low resistance settings: The low resistance settings correspond to level 1 or 2 of nearly all elliptical trainers. The incline should not be activated at this stage. In fact, it’s always better to use the machine with a set time limit. The first phase of the work-out can be set for 10 minutes, after which the second phase can be increased to 30 minutes. You have the option of adjusting to the higher levels of resistance, even before the expiration of you 30 minutes provided your strength and endurance are growing. Such higher levels of resistance are very essential in getting rid of excess calories. The hands must always be on the rotating elliptical handles. This explains why a small bend is formed by the elbows, especially when the arm is being extended.
Step 8: Maximizing combustion rate of the calories: As already hinted in the previous step, increasing the machine’s level of resistance helps to amplify the combustion rate of the calories. One of the commonest ways of observing this procedure is as follow:
- Spend 5 minutes on level one or two. During this process, you are expected to familiarize yourself with the movement of the machine and also get muscles ready for the tasks ahead.
- Spend another 5 minutes on level of 3 or 4 of the machine. At this stage, the muscle of the body is now heated further.
- Spend 2 minutes on level 6 and then move down to level 3, where another 2 minutes of work out is observed. Go over this increase and decrease of tension levels as long as you can. Always observe the 2 minute intervals in each case.
- Come down to level 1 or 2 and then spend the last 5 minutes of the workout.
Step 9: Stopping the Machine: To stop the machine, clutch the stationary handles and step off one foot at a time. Let go the handles, once you have steadied yourself on the floor.
Step 10: Exercising the body: After each workout, try to stretch your muscles. This help to heal the muscles and eradicate any chance of sores occurring. The muscles to concentrate on include: hamstrings, arms, quadriceps, muscles of the back and any other tight muscles.
It’s advisable for one to observe this workout thrice in a week. The regular use of the elliptical machine helps to bring about an effective reduction of the body’s caloric weight.