Elliptical trainers are strange looking machines and at first glance, it is easy to see, how many people are put off trying them simply because they can not see how to make them work. However, although they can look complicated and confusing, they really are very easy to use.
In simple terms all you really need to know is that by standing on the pedals and applying pressure to each in turn you will build up momentum and you will be underway. Okay, so there is a little more to it than that, so here are a few handy tips to get you started and to help you get the most from your session sessions.
- Your first challenge is to safely get onto your trainer. Now remember that there is not any resistance on the pedals at this time, so they will move as you stand on them and apply pressure. The best way to get on is to hold onto one or both of the fixed handlebars to steady yourself as you step on. Some models have pedals which are set lower to the floor for easy access. This can be especially useful for those people with any kind of mobility issues, the elderly or someone who is using the trainer for rehabilitation following an accident or injury.
- Now you are safely astride your machine gently apply pressure to each pedal in turn. Beginning the elliptical motion will start up the machine and the display console will illuminate showing you all the readouts and settings. This is a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with the layout of information on the display and also the position of the various user controls. Take a few minutes to try and adjust some of the settings via the display console and see what effect they have on your workout motion.
- Most cross trainers will have a number of built in programs and also some user definable programs. You should experiment with both the built and user defined programs. By mixing the programs and by creating your own programs you can ensure that you are receiving a varied workout. This in turn will mean that you are targeting different muscle groups and also the variety will help to stop you getting bored.
- At first you should keep hold of the fixed handlebars while paddling. Once you feel comfortable you can hold onto the moving handlebars instead. This will give your upper body muscle groups a good workout too. For added variety try peddling with your arms loose at your sides. By doing this your bodies central core has to work really hard to maintain your balance.
- By changing the resistance settings you can quickly and easily make it harder or easier to pedal. Some models also incorporate an incline feature. This mimics going up a hill or even up steps and is great for added variety and for targeting different muscle groups. Another feature for both variety and the targeting of different groups of muscles is the ability to pedal both forwards and backwards.
- When you first start to use your new elliptical trainer you should start off slowly on a lower resistance level and gradually introduce higher levels of resistance and more speed during your next few workouts. Try and keep your workouts varied to prevent boredom and to ensure you target all your major muscle groups.