How An Elliptical Machine Provides Low Impact, Total Body Workouts

Ever since their introduction several years ago, an elliptical machine has become an indispensable part of every workout routine, and grown more technically advanced. Surveys will indicate that as much as six million people prefer an elliptical machine as their choice for home exercise equipment.

If you are looking for an effective and thorough indoor workout, than look no further than an elliptical machine. There are many benefits to having ellipticals.  When you use one, you will notice how impact free your workout becomes.

Also a total body workout on one of these elliptical machines is challenging enough for serious athletes but at the same time safe enough for beginners and even mothers to be.  Of course, like with any physical activity, expert advise should be sought from your doctor before the use of any exercise equipment.

With the elliptical machine, there is no impact on the ground, so lower body joints are free from abuse you may get with other workout machines.  Exercising with the elliptical, you are sure to get an excellent cardiovascular workout with maximum efficiency. Most of these machines will give you a total body workout, if your machine has dual action handlebars for your arms and foot pedals for your legs.

The Elliptical Vs The Treadmill?

Which one is better – a treadmill or elliptical machine?  If you exercise on an elliptical machine, the impact on the joints is low and the user will burn roughly the same amount of calories as more strenuous machine like a treadmill. So you get the same results for less effort.

Many of these activities sometimes involve vigorous movement of the bones and muscles and can inflame old injuries and maybe cause new ones. The joints that are commonly affected by an impact form of exercise are usually the knees, ankles, hips and back.

These little statistics probably tell us the reason why older exercisers with knee problems and rehabilitating users prefer an elliptical machine rather than a more vigorous machine like a treadmill.

To maintain healthy bone density, it is necessary to take part in weight-bearing activities such as running, squash, football, and other sports where you remain on your feet.  Elliptical workouts may not be as beneficial as more strenuous, high impact routines on a treadmill. But in actual fact, the whole routine is a weight bearing activity, as your feet are placed on two pedals throughout the workout. So as well as avoiding the toil that comes with a treadmill routine, it is also good for bone density.

Women that are pregnant, those that suffer from arthritis, and recovering accident victims often require a low impact routines, and that is exactly what the elliptical machine provides.  The oval pedaling motion of the machine, as you step up and down on the pedals or platforms, is smooth and flowing. Interestingly, this motion follows same type of elliptical movement that the human foot follows when we walk or run.

Although the movement created is similar to these activities, all the strain and vigorous action associated with them is taken away. The beauty is in the simplicity, your feet never leave the foot pad, as well as this being a safer workout, it reduces the stress on your joints.

The elliptical motion feels natural and is easy to sustain. You will find that an elliptical machine will compliment and enhance normal body movements, making your workouts feel less like exertion while being more penetrative. By focusing on specific muscle groups in rotation, a session will give you an extensive overall body workout.

Studies have also shown that ellipticals work the cardio muscles and burns calories on the same par as Treadmills if not greater, as well as stair steppers. The added bonus is that it feels a lot easier to use an elliptical machine.

The elliptical machine has some truly unique features, setting it apart fom its rivals. A good feature that an elliptical has over some machines is the variety it adds to the workout. One of the biggest challenges that you as a user faces is to stay motivated and interested in your training program.

With the dual action handlebars we mentioned earlier, the exerciser can choose the option of not using them and focusing just on the lower body. With the Precor models, it is possible to change the the cross ramp incline as well as varying the intensity.

However, there is a feature on these machines that separates the elliptical trainer from many other exercise machines when it comes to variety. That feature is the forward and reversible feature on the foot pedals. Most elliptical machines have a setting allowing you to “go backwards” and work additional muscles that very many other exercise workouts do not target. The fact that you are standing and walking or running in place on an elliptical machine, the leg muscles as well as those in your buttocks, back, and abdomen are worked effortlessly.

Many ellipticals will allow you to adjust the resistance and change the incline. These adjustments are increased at your own convenience and allow you to gradually increase the resistance and continuously challenge your limits.

Recommended Top Five Elliptical Machines Choices


Although Precor is generally known for commercial elliptical machines in gyms all over the world, they also make some less-expensive trainers for the home gym. They can be quite expensive, starting from $2,000 and upwards.  The quality you get makes up for the cost. What sets them apart is that Precor machines have adjustable ramps, they are sturdy and well built, with which cheaper trainers cannot compete.

ProForm 700:

This trainer features dual-action engineering. In real terms, it has arm handles to work both your upper and lower body at the same time. At around $400, it’s a good buy and includes technology so you can hook it up to your computer for new workouts. You also get 6 workouts for maximize calorie burning.

Nordic Track Elliptical:

This model of elliptical machine is very competitively priced, at around $700. You get 6 different exercise programs, Custom Stride pedals, technology, and magnetic resistance. You also get dual action arm handles, a book and water bottle holder and an exceptionally quiet workout. This is similar to the ProForm above, except for the adjustable stride, which is excellent if more than one person will be using it.

Reebok Elliptical Trainers:

Like the other trainers listed here apart from the Precor, the Reebok Elliptical machine offers dual arm and leg movement and comes pre programmed with various workouts. Between $400 and $500, this is a good choice for someone on a budget, although you will not get some of the extras offered by other trainers.

Fitness Quest Eclipse 4000:

The Eclipse offers a smooth, workout with an electric magnetic system. A nice little bonus is that it has arm handles through which the heart rate is measured for ease of use. Also features reverse motion and programs that cover all fitness goals from fat burning to cardiovascular routines.