Whether you are new to working out or you have been working out for some time, using an elliptical trainer can be a great tool for helping to tone your body. Since an elliptical can be used to target the lower body, upper body and core muscles, it is an excellent all-around option for toning the body. To get the most out of your elliptical trainer and to achieve the toned look that you desire, it is important to have a clear idea of how to use your elliptical trainer for toning.
The Benefits of Using an Elliptical Trainer
While an elliptical trainer may look a bit odd at first, these machines were specifically designed to mimic the motion of jogging on a treadmill without having the same high-impact as jogging or running. As a result, when you use an elliptical trainer, you enjoy the same benefits of running on a treadmill without causing undue strain on your joints.
Elliptical trainers also have the added advantage of having handles with which you can pull and push with your arms. This means elliptical trainers help increase cardiovascular endurance while also working out the muscles in your legs and your arms. By changing between placing an emphasis on your legs or your arms, you can help target different muscle groups. Similarly, pedaling backwards, letting go of the handles and crouching are all methods that can be used to target other muscles in order to achieve an overall well-toned body.
Working the Glutes
While the elliptical trainer is effective at reaching nearly every muscle, research has shown that it is particularly effective at working out the glutes. In fact, one study found that elliptical machines activate 32.6 percent of the gluteal muscles during exercise. This is higher than the percentage achieved with walking on a treadmill, riding a recumbent bicycle or exercising on a stair climber.
Elliptical trainers typically offer the option to make adjustments to the resistance and incline settings. By increasing the resistance or changing the incline setting, you can target different muscles while also increasing the intensity of your workout.
Elliptical machines also frequently come with preset workout programs from which you can select. By choosing programs that target specific muscle groups, you can further tone various parts of your body. As an added bonus, these programs will automatically make adjustments to the resistance levels and will tell you if you should crouch, pedal backwards or place an emphasis on using your arms rather than your legs.
Many of these preset programs will include some sort of interval training. With interval training, you workout at a lower pace or resistance before working out for a short period of time at a higher pace or intensity. You then return to the lower pace or intensity once more before cycling back to the higher pace or intensity. This helps to achieve your target heart rate for a better cardio workout while also isolating certain muscles and giving them a brief recovery period before doing additional strength training and toning. All you need to do is follow the instructions provided by the elliptical machine and you will eventually see great results!