Why Have Elliptical Trainers Become So Popular?
A visit to your local gym will likely reveal that treadmills appear to be falling out of favor in terms of popularity. It’s a trend that continues with elliptical trainers also outpacing treadmills in terms of sales growth. The question you may have at this point is, "Why have elliptical trainers become more popular than treadmills?" There are actually a couple of good reasons
- Elliptical trainers deliver a low impact workout
- Ellipticals work both the upper and lower body
The vast majority of exercises require impact of some kind. For example, when jogging, your ankles, knees, and lower back are put under levels of duress that can be as much as 2 and a half times more impactful than walking. If you run on a regular basis, the cumulative effect can do some real damage to the joints.
Elliptical trainers deliver the same motion of walking, and while the stride feels completely natural, it comes without any kind of impact or reverse action. That said, it still delivers the same weight bearing power that helps build muscle and bone density.
Elliptical Trainers Work Both Upper and Lower Body
Many elliptical trainers, when viewed side on, have a shape of motion that is flat and circular. Going for a trainer on the low end of the price scale usually means going with something bouncy and circular. The flat circular motion of the quality machines makes for a more even stride. Either way, the reduction in impact when compared to walking, running, or being on a treadmill is significant. This leads to lesser possibility of injury, which explains why so many, baby boomers especially, are making the equipment switch.
Using an elliptical trainer means getting an upper and lower body workout all at the same time. All of the major muscles – glutes, hamstrings, quads, chest, triceps, etc. – get put through their paces. The benefits of using an elliptical trainer go beyond just the muscles you work, as it is also a perfect way to use up more energy at a faster rate. That helps with increasing cardio capacity and burning calories. There are even machines available that allow you to reverse the motion, thus emphasizing resistance to other parts of your muscles.
Ellipticals Offer a More Efficient Workout
Fat mobilization is improved when you exercise more of your muscle mass, which in turn leads to increased muscle endurance and calories burned. What is also worth noting is that, while it feels as though you are not exerting that much energy, you are in fact getting a more efficient workout.
It is these upper and lower body benefits that have helped elliptical machines see a rise in popularity. That’s not all, though, as another reason for the switch is the reduced amount of maintenance required for an elliptical versus a treadmill. The machine is not “hurt” by impact and it has fewer moving parts to worry about.
Elliptical Trainers Get Better Every Year
Another reason for the increased popularity of elliptical trainers is that manufacturers are innovating all the time, seeking to improve performance, effectiveness and comfort for the user. TRUE fitness, a higher-end equipment maker, now offers the revolutionary patented Core DriveTM system in the CS900 Elliptical (left) and others. Rather than a front drive or rear drive system, Core drive places the drive directly beneath your feet. This, according to TRUE, means you no longer have to put pressure on the front of your toes which, in turn, puts pressure on the knees. TRUE maintains that this provides the most natural movement and keeps the user in the center of the exercise motion for superior balance, stability and comfort. If this interests you, find a facility where you can test this claim for yourself to see if it provides an improved workout experience.
A more recent entry into the field, seen by many as a game changer in the fitness equipment arena, is actually referred to as an "adjustable incline stepper" but is very clearly a member of the elliptical family. The new Spirit Fitness XS895 (pictured at the top of the page) offers High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) with an arched incline adjustment that changes not only the stepping incline but also the height. This new iteration in elliptical trainers has fitness professionals, like personal trainers, coaches and equipment dealers very excited.
Choose a High-Quality Elliptical Trainer for Best Results
If you have never tried an elliptical trainer, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. If at all possible, steer clear of the bargain-priced models and buy an elliptical trainer that will provide years of comfortable, effective workouts without breaking down. High quality ellipticals have a more natural motion and tend to be a whole lot more stable.
Overall, this is a very effective way to improve your health and fitness.
If you're curious about elliptical machines and would like more information we're here to help with your fitness goals whatever they may be. We carry equipment and accessories of all kinds to fit every goal and budget and make your fitness routine more productive. And don't forget to check out Tim's best-selling book, Fitness Equipment – A Shopper's Guide, available at Amazon and other online book sellers as well as in our store.