5 Benefits of an Elliptical Trainer Workout

Many veteran exercisers consider the elliptical trainer to be slightly below cycling, weight training and swimming as far as fitness benefits are concerned. However, an elliptical can provide a time-saving, effective and challenging full-body workout when it’s used correctly. Below are several compelling reasons to use an elliptical in place of other workout machines.

Diminished Joint Impact—But Not a Diminished Workout

The elliptical was designed by a man who got the idea to replicate a running motion in a way that puts less stress on the user’s joints. A study from the University of Missouri measured heart rate, lactic acid content, oxygen utilization and RPE (rating of perceived exertion) on an elliptical and a treadmill, and it found that the effects were nearly identical. However, the elliptical trainer creates significantly less impact on the bones and joints.

Fixing Weak Quads

Another research study compared activity patterns of users’ hamstrings and quadriceps during the use of a treadmill, elliptical and stationary bike. The elliptical offered significantly higher quadriceps usage and better hamstring/quad coordination than the other two workout modes. Another study showed that backward pedaling on an elliptical increases quadriceps utilization even more.

Increases in Stride Length

Yet another study from the University of Idaho found that as a user increases his or her stride length on an elliptical, they get a higher burned Calorie Count without feeling as if they’ve worked any harder. This is great for those who use ellipticals with adjustable stride lengths. Although elliptical machines and treadmills provide a roughly equivalent calorie burn, an elliptical with a longer stride length can maximize the effect.

A Full Upper Body and Core Workout

On machines with arm motion, a user can incorporate triceps, biceps, chest and shoulder moves into their lower-body cardio workout. Additionally, the upright stance on an elliptical forces the user to use more of his or her core muscles, and going hands-free can increase postural training effects.

It Takes Up Less Space

Elliptical trainers are easier to move and store than treadmills are. In most cases, an elliptical can be used in the corner of a room, which makes it a great choice for those building a home gym under space limitations.