Elliptical machines are a great alternative to running because they take away any concerns of impact and also work out the upper body more intensely. Added to that, the stepping motion makes sure that you’re working your glutes intensely. No wonder it’s gaining in popularity so much and is a favorite among the ladies!
Having said that, we see people using the elliptical incorrectly all the time. This is bad not just because you might injure yourself, but also because poor technique will not get you the results that you want. You’ll end up burning fewer calories and will have to work twice as hard for twice as long. Who wants that?
Here’s our list of don’ts for your next, and every, elliptical workout!
1. Watch TV: Sorry to burst any bubbles out there! When you tune in to sitcom, some news or a movie, you tune out from the work at hand. Your body relaxes, you slow down and you’re not building that crucial mind-body connection. If you want to get the most from your workout, it has to feel like hard work and for that to happen, you need to be focused on giving everything you’ve got. You can’t be focused while you’re watching TV. So if you’re serious about your goals, focus on what you’re doing. Put on some headphones, turn on ClassPass GO or some music and then go all the way!
2. Pedal fast instead of peddling hard: The faster you are peddling, the more momentum you are generating. This means that your legs have to work less on every rotation. Less work = less results. If you’re ok with that, go as fast as you can. If you want better results, turn the resistance (and incline if your machine has a setting for that) up so that you’re doing more work with every rotation.
3. Slouch: Much like when you’re sitting or standing, slouching is a no-no on the elliptical. You put your low back at risk of injury by doing that. If you’re having to slouch to move ahead, your resistance is probably too high. So find that balance where you can keep your posture straight while being challenged with every step.
4. Lift your toes: While it’s tempting to lift up onto your toes, especially if you’re a running, you’ll get the most butt for your buck if you keep your heels flat on the pedal the entire time. Too much pressure on the toes can also lead to injury.
5. Forget your arms, core and upper body: The elliptical is meant to be a full body workout. This means that you want to keep your core engaged the whole time, use your upper body in a swinging motion and work your arms as hard as you can too.
6. Intervals: Much like on the treadmill or on a spin bike, you’ll get the highest calorie burns in the shortest amount of times if you use intervals. Switch up the resistance and inclines for 1-2 minute intervals really stretching yourself and then taking a minute for active recovery before repeating the cycle again a few times. You might also want to try doing intervals in which your legs do most of the work, followed by your arms and then your full body.
So there you have it! That’s our list of things to watch out for when you’re on the elliptical. It’s a mix of safety and effectiveness tips to make sure that you’re not hurting yourself and that you’re achieving what you set out to achieve faster and more consistently.
If you need some help along the way, check out the FREE elliptical workouts on ClassPass GO!