About a week ago, my friend’s sister was hospitalized after she developed sore knees during a regular gym workout. I initially thought she had an underlying condition that caused her joints to get inflamed. However, her doctor told told her that the treadmill she was using at the gym was the reason for her problems. He advised her to try out an elliptical trainer instead of the treadmill she was using at the gym. This was of course after some much needed rest and recovery.
Elliptical trainers are a good option for people who are prone to impact injury. They are a common replacement for a treadmill because they do not cause as much joint stress as a treadmill. Still, getting a good elliptical trainer should be a well-researched decision because most elliptical trainers are not a one-size-fits-all product. In this post, I give a few pointers that the best ellipticals should have and help you save time and money.
While cost is a major determinant when getting a good elliptical, a good machine will have a rigid structure with smooth, coordinated motion. They will have fluid and quiet movement on the pedals and should overall not feel jerky and noisy when using them. Additionally, it is important to look for one that offers the maximum stride length, because some will only offer 14 inches. Getting one that supports up to 21 inches should be good for an average-sized individual.
A good elliptical will give the user the best safety options to guard against injury and burnout. The best ellipticals will offer well-placed handrails for support as a basic option. My trainer at the gym recommends those trainers with movable handles that allow the hands to be level with the shoulders as you move along. These, according to him, provide support while helping to tone the upper body. His gym is stocked with nothing less. The trainer should also offer a warm-up and cool-down session to help prevent burnout and ensure maximum results from a workout. A simple but functional console should be in place to enable you track the details of your sessions.
The best elliptical will give the user a wide array of options for adjusting the intensity of the workout. Being able to adjust the ramp’s incline can increase the intensity of the workout. Additionally, having a wide resistance range can help you to adjust the workout for varying levels of intensity. Getting an elliptical with arm handles can further increase the workout intensity and help train the upper body.
When possible, always get one with a few extra functions. My favorite add-on is a heart rate monitor which mostly comes fixed to the machines electro-mechanical system. Even in its basic form, a heart rate monitor will help you design a workout program that suits your needs and abilities. More advanced options on some of the best ellipticals allow you to create programs and have the machine “learn” your boundaries and design custom workout programs for you.
In conclusion, getting an elliptical trainer is a good option for people who experience joint pains when using treadmills or physical running. When planning to go get one, you should ensure you at least try several products in different outlets, even if it means getting into your training attire and giving them a go. Finally, you should also ensure that the machine comes with a manufacturer’s warranty and is maintenance-free.