How do I Choose the Best Elliptical Workout?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Choosing the best elliptical workout means choosing a workout that is tailored to one's fitness level and one's fitness goals. Many elliptical machines come with a number of standard workout programs that are pre-loaded into their memories. These kinds of workouts often include strength training, weight loss, and cross country. There is also an option to manually manage one's workout by increasing or decreasing resistance and incline.

Women on elliptical machines.
Women on elliptical machines.

A strength training elliptical workout is a good choice for someone who is looking to build muscle. Some elliptical riders have both pedals for the feet as well as bars that can be grasped with the hands, giving the upper body a workout. A strength training elliptical workout on these kinds of machines can work the upper body as well as the lower body. For elliptical machines that only have the pedals, just the lower body will get a workout although the abdominal muscles can get a bit of a workout while helping the rest of the body to balance on the machine.

Individuals engaging in any type of workout should be sure to remain hydrated at all times.
Individuals engaging in any type of workout should be sure to remain hydrated at all times.

A weight loss elliptical workout is a workout that gets the heart rate to a level where fat will be burned. These kinds of workouts usually involve intervals where the incline and intensity increase and then decrease. Strength training workouts are similar, except for the fact that the intervals usually include a more intense spike in the effort that is required to keep up with the resistance and the incline.

A cross country elliptical workout tries to mimic the experience of exercising on natural terrain. There is a slightly erratic shift each interval in the resistance as well as the incline. Much like hiking on a trail, this kind of elliptical workout has intervals that are relatively level and easy as well as intervals that are quite steep and require quite a bit of effort. This sort of shifting in intervals can help to target many muscle groups in the legs and buttocks.

A manual elliptical workout is useful for people who are focused on tracking the distance that they cover in their workout or the calories that they burn. It is also useful for people who are focused on getting their heart rate to a specific level and maintaining that heart rate during the workout. A manual workout offers the most amount of control but may not push the exerciser to work harder in the way that a pre-programmed workout might.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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