Choosing a Machine
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Working out Smart
Because you use them in a standing position, you're using lots of muscle mass, so the calorie burn rate is still pretty high. Elliptical machines with arm components can further increase the numbers of calories you burn, says Stamford.
All our experts agree that the stationary bike offers the workout with the least impact on the joints. People with knee pain are often steered toward these bikes, since the impact of body weight is not a concern as it is on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stair stepper.
But to avoid knee strain, you must make sure the bike is adjusted to fit your body, Vukovich says. Most people sit too low, meaning their knees flex too much as they pedal. This can put too much pressure on the knee and result in soreness, warn Vukovich.
The stationary bike is a less intense calorie-burner than some of the other machines. You'll need to pedal four miles to burn calories, says Alexander. Rowers are more advanced cardiovascular machines. Because you must push with the legs while you pull with the arms, rowers require coordination.
They also you require you to engage your core abdominal muscles to support and protect your back. Because they use so many muscle groups, rowers burn lots of calories. But this machine has several red flags for a beginning or unfit exerciser. Extra weight often comes with back pain , and this is not a machine you want to use if you have back issues, he says.
Choose a machine that feels right. If impact is a problem, the stationary bicycle may be a better choice than the treadmill. More muscle use equals more calorie burn. The basic rule of thumb is that the machine that exercises the greatest muscle mass burns the most calories.
There's a flip side of that coin, too: If you're a beginner, using more muscles means getting fatigued sooner -- which will result in burning fewer calories. Most machines will offer four to six hill repeats per workout.
For the other intervals, divide the hills in half and do the following:. For the first half of the hill, keep your hands on the middle of the swinging arm handle, which targets the lower back muscles it mimics rowing. Cool down for five minutes. Use the following settings:. Then stride easy for two minutes, get off the elliptical and complete 25 body-weight lunges. If you have any energy left, knock out 25 more body-weight squats when you get off the machine.
Cross-trainers are usually designed with wide and stable outsoles to provide stability and support for your feet and ankles.
Cross-trainers can lack cushioning, which makes them a poor choice for actual running, but the shoes work well on the low-impact elliptical.
Elliptical trainers are lower-body-only cardio machines that has foot pedals you stand on and a stationary handlebar to hold onto. The elliptical cross-trainer is a cardio machine that works the upper and lower body. It has the same pedal platforms as the elliptical trainer, and moves in the same elliptical pattern. An elliptical glider looks very much like an elliptical trainer, however, the pedals move up and down at a slight backward angle. Not all cardio machines are created equal when it comes to the amount of calories you'll burn.
Here's a list of the most popular cardio machines and how many calories you'll burn in 30 minutes. Exact caloric burn is dependent on weight, fitness level and intensity speed or incline. To find out a better approximation of how many calories you burned, use Livestrong.
Video of the Day. Is Elliptical Good Cardio? How to Lose 20 Lbs. Using an Elliptical Trainer. Elliptical or Treadmill for the Best Cardio. Elliptical Workouts During Pregnancy. So we're here to help you — not just as medical experts — but as your long-term weight-loss team. Losing weight is different for everyone. So we fit our programs to you. Our nutritional counseling programs offer one-on-one access to our registered dietitians and nutrition specialists.
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