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How to Use an Elliptical Trainer

The elliptical trainer is an excellent way to lose weight and build up muscle all at the same time. Most gyms have them and they are also available to purchase for your own home. It's important to watch someone use an elliptical trainer so that you maintain proper form, which is one of the aspects this article will discuss. It's also a good idea to check with your physician and a fitness professional to find out if you have any physical limitations or should take any extra precautions during exercise. Here is a step-by step guide for using an elliptical trainer.

Step 1: Stretching

The elliptical trainer works the legs, gluteal muscles, abdominal obliques, and much of the upper body, including arms, chest and shoulders. So, it's important to stretch these major muscle groups before your workout.

Step 2: Getting On the Machine

It's important to feel steady when you plan to get on the elliptical trainer. As soon as you step on the pedal, it will move. If you are to the left of the machine, grasp a part of the left handle that doesn't move and step onto the right pedal. Then grasp the steady part of the right handle and place your left foot on the left pedal. You can then make the pedals stay still when one foot is as far forward as it will go.

Step 3: Establishing Your Settings

Start pedaling very slowly and the machine will guide you on how to get started. You can often just press, "quick start" and begin your workout. Within that setting, you can make the incline go up or down as well as increase the resistance. The incline setting can make it feel more like cross country skiing versus climbing up a steep hill. You'll see a diagram on the left that reveals which leg muscles are being worked, depending on the incline setting. The resistance just makes it harder or easier to press on the pedals.

Another way of setting up the machine is to enter your weight and age. This can help the machine more accurately calculate the number of calories you have burned. You can then set up a specific workout where the machine will automatically change the incline according to the workout chosen.

Step 4: Maximizing Your Workout

Research suggests that you can maximize the number of calories you burn by varying the perceived intensity throughout a workout. So, you want to think about exertion that's on a scale from 1 to 10. For a 30-minute workout on the elliptical trainer, you'd do 5 minutes at a perceived level of exertion of 2. Then 5 minutes at a level 3, 2 minutes at a level 6, 2 minutes back at 3, another 2 at level 6, 2 at level 3, 2 minutes at level 7, back to 2 minutes at level 3, 2 minutes at level 6, and then 6 minutes at level 2 to cool down. On the elliptical trainer, you can increase the necessary exertion by increasing the incline and/or the resistance.

 

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