HOW TO USE AN ELLIPTICAL TRAINER

When using an elliptical trainer, your feet follow a path that is stretched out similar to an oval shape. This is known as an ellipse (hence the fact elliptical). Elliptical trainers can require a bit of getting used to but other than that there is no real skill needed to use them.

Ellipticals offer you the benefit of a low impact work out and to exercise your upper and lower body. Always start your workout with a warm up. Once you step on the machine, pedal forward. Limit your backwards pedalling as it does not work your body more than pedalling forwards. In fact, it can be damaging to your knees.

Use the machines features to adjust the intensity of your workout. Try pedalling faster or raising the incline. Challenge yourself every time you use the machine. Try not to lock your knees, keep a slight bend in your knees and the motion smooth. Also remember to stand up straight and keep your head up and level.

The elliptical has a pair of foot pedals for your feet, as you get on the exercise machine pay attention to where you are placing your feet. Each foot should be on the centre of each pedal and your stride should feel natural. A stride that is too long can feel uncomfortable and a stride that is too short can create an unpleasant and jerking movement.

Most elliptical trainers have a pair of handles to connect your arm movement to feet. As your feet move, so do your arms. You can choose to use the handle bars or to move your arms in a manner similar to walking or running without holding on. If you choose to hold on, be careful as leaning with your bodyweight on the handles will decrease the intensity of your lower body workout and will therefore slow your calorie burn.

When using the elliptical gradually work up the time you work out for. Start with a few minutes and then gradually work your way up to at least a 20 minute work out. It will take time for your muscles to get used to this new exercise.

Sportsmart stocks a wide variety of elliptical trainers. Visit the Sportsmart website to view our range. Or come in store to get expert advice from our fitness staff.

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