One of the most popular machines at many a gym is the elliptical trainer. It is a combination of a treadmill, bike, stepper and cross country skier. It’s a multi-tasker for sure!
Some have moving handles, some do not. And while it might seem that grasping onto to the moving arms would be the ideal thing, some experts suggest it actually hinders calorie burn. Crazy, huh?!?!
So if you’d prefer to burn more calories (and really, who wouldn’t?) then you should eschew the moving arms. They really move on their own anyways and you’re mostly just going along for the ride. It is better, say the experts, to focus more on your legs. You want to dig in and get those larger muscles working! However, that said, if you legitimately exert some effort and really push/pull those arms, then have at the moving handles.
Of course now, if you aren't using the handles then you do still need to worry about those arms of yours. Where do you put them? What do you do with them? First option is to lightly grasp the fixed bars or side rails. Key word here – LIGHTLY. As with any cardio machine you do not want to grip the bars for dear life. That, my sweaty friend, is called cheating! And you don’t want the gym crowd to be gossiping about you, calling you a cheater, do you?
Yet another option is to go hands free. This will totally give your core a run for its money. It’s also super fab for your balance. Just two tips – maintain good posture and don’t sway.
Once you get moving, no matter where you have placed your hands, remember not to bounce. A bunny is supposed to bounce. Those working out on the elliptical are not.
Dressing like a bunny does not mean you now get to bounce!
Also, you do not want momentum to be pulling you along. Focus on using your legs to push the pedal and propel yourself. And be sure not to push with your toes as this may result in numb feet - OUCH! Roll through your foot instead, from heal, to mid-foot, then through the toes. (And hint here – numb feet also might mean you tied your snazzy sneaks a bit too tight. If loosening up doesn’t fix it, then you might want to call in the medics.)
Don’t forget, too, that just as you may glide along forward, you’re also able to back it up. So shift it around and keep those gams of yours guessing. By changing it up you'll work more muscles which is really a total win-win!
Flickr: Samat Jain; This Is a Wake Up Call