What are they?
Ellipticals machines are exercisers used to simulate running or walking. Ellipticals were designed with minimal pressure to the joints in mind. Minimal pressure joints mean that you can use the machine without fear of injury from your foot constantly hitting the ground over and over. Because of this, people with injuries to their joints find the elliptical to be a useful tool in staying fit.
There are three types of elliptical machines; rear drive, front drive, and center drive. Drive refers to where the motor is in relation to the elliptical. Rear drive is the oldest type of elliptical with front and finally, center drive coming along recently.
The type of workout that ellipticals machines provide is cardiovascular. It can vary from a low resistance to a high resistance based on your preference. Ellipticals machines can work your lower and upper body (if the machine has moving upper body parts).
Some trainers can be driven in a reverse motion as well as forward. Ellipticals machines are used mostly by the legs. In those cases where the upper body parts are functional, the upper body can assist the legs in driving the elliptical trainer.
Upper Body Workout?
To use the exerciser you grip the handles below shoulder height. You then push and pull the handles while you move your feet throughout the predetermined workout path. A poor machine will make you feel as though the arm bars are useless because the legs drive the machine too quickly. A good machine will allow you to have a balanced relationship between foot and hands.
Ellipticals Machines VS Treadmills
An elliptical cross trainer is comparable to a treadmill. Both exercise the leg muscles as well as heart. Ellipticals produce an intermediate range of leg motion between that of stationary bikes and treadmills. Although it is comparable to a treadmill, the extra upper body exercise pushes the elliptical past the treadmill.
There are claims that, because of the elliptical's ability to workout both the upper and lower body, it is more efficient in burning calories than the treadmill. This makes sense because working more muscle groups at the same time provides a more intense workout in less time. Also, because the elliptical is low-impact, you feel like you are doing less work and burning more calories than you actually are.
In conclusion, I would recommend an elliptical trainer to anyone searching for a real solution to working out at home. It is the best piece of exercise equipment I own and it is so easy to use, I usually watch the news while I'm working out. I would especially recommend this machine to those with knee problems because it is about the only workout machine you can use for any length of time without exerting excess pressure on your joints.