Archive for the tag - elliptical

You’re Using The Elliptical Wrong.

elliptical-machine-2302Oh, the elliptical.

I don’t want to crap on such a beloved piece of gym equipment. After all, it’s a great, low-impact option particularly for people with knee injuries or issues. And it’s certainly a better option than sitting on your couch eating potato chips. But when we talk about workout efficiency and effectiveness, most people aren’t using the elliptical to it’s full potential.

You’re probably using the elliptical wrong if:

  1. You think it’s easy.
  2. You can have a conversation while using it.
  3. You can easily read a book or follow a TV show while on it.
  4. You spend more than 30 minutes using the elliptical.
  5. You don’t break a sweat during your workout.

Unlike the treadmill (where you can set a speed and force yourself to push hard), the elliptical is more self-motivated. You may start out hard on the elliptical, but there are no consequences for slowing down or slacking off. With a treadmill, on the other hand, if you slack off – you fall off.

This isn’t to say that you can’t have an amazing, efficient workout on an elliptical. It’s possible. But it requires being extremely focused and strategic. Here’s how to use the elliptical properly:

  1. Crank up the resistance. You only get out of your workout what you put into your workout – and resistance will increase the intensity of your elliptical session. Use it!
  2. Monitor RPMs. Though you can’t set speeds like a treadmill, monitoring your RPMs is the second best. Pick an RPM level that you find challenging – and stick to it. Keep pushing yourself to stay above it.
  3. Shut up and crank up. If you’re chatting with your neighbor, this is an indication that you have additional untapped lung capacity. In other words, you’re not working out to your potential. Stop chatting and work out harder.
  4. Increase resistance and RPM level over time. The idea isn’t to do the same workout each day, unless you already have the body of your dreams. The idea is to constantly challenge your body by progressing to higher and higher levels. Keep besting your previous records.
  5. Keep workout time short. Efficient but effective workouts are key. If you’re able to maintain your elliptical workout for 40 or more minutes, your workout intensity is too low and your sabotaging your results. Keep your workouts under 30 minutes by using strategies like high intensity interval training.

 

If you’d like to challenge yourself with another low-impact cardio exercise, try rowing. It’s good on the knees and can be an effective alternative to the elliptical. Swimming can be another option.

The moral of the story is that it is AWESOME that you are working out. But it would be even more awesome if you got the most out of your workout.

P.S. Want stronger abs? Download Davey’s Six Pack Workout for 5, professionally filmed ab workouts that will change your body forever!

 

When Good Knees Go Bad: 3 Effective Low-Impact Cardio Exercises.

No face? No problem.

Hi Davey,My knees can not handle high impact cardiovascular exercise like running, jogging or even stair climbing. I know that cardio is important, but what can you recommend that is low-impact and yet effective?

Confused,
Chris

Dear Chris,

Great question! Having nursed a knee injury just last summer, I can relate. And you’re absolutely correct: Cardio is important for everyone.

Here are three effective low-impact exercises that I’d recommend:

  1. Swimming. Swimming is phenomenal for all people, but especially beneficial for those individuals seeking a low (or no) impact exercise. Whereas running a treadmill will pound your knees, swimming involves much smoother movements. You weigh 1/10th of your land weight in water, so a great deal of stress is taken off of your joints. A 155lb person could expect to burn 214 calories after 30 minutes of moderate swimming.
  2. Rowing. I’m a huge fan of rowing – and it is very gentle on the knees. Much like swimming, the movement is fluid and not abrupt. I enjoy rowing sprints – 90 seconds of all out rowing followed by 45 seconds of rest for 15 minutes. If you’d rather keep things easier, try going at a moderate pace for 90 seconds and then a slower pace for 60 seconds. a 155lb person would burn 246 calories after 30 minutes of moderate rowing.
  3. Elliptical. If you don’t have access to a pool or a rowing machine, the elliptical is a good alternative. Because of the machine’s structure, the movement is low impact and fluid – and a 155lb person can burn 400 calories after 30 minutes of exercise.

You can also give cycling, walking, in-line skating and cross-country skiing a try. Whatever your interests, you should be able to find a low-impact cardio program that suits your needs.

Any other suggestions or questions? Ask away in the comments below!

Buns of Steel: Which Cardio Machine is Best for Your Butt?

Buns of steel could be only a jog away, according to a recent study.

As a gay man, I spend a lot of time thinking about butts. So I was especially excited to get my paws on a new study about glutes (a.k.a. ass muscles) and cardio machines. So which cardio machine is best for your backside? Is it the treadmill, the recumbent bike, the stair master, or the elliptical? You may be surprised by the answer.

Here’s what the study found:

  1. Treadmill (jogging): 48.9% of glutes activated.
  2. Elliptical: 32.6% of glutes activated.
  3. Treadmill (walking): 24.3% of glutes activated.
  4. StairMaster: 24.0% of glutes activated.
  5. Recumbent Bike: 6.0%of glutes activated.

Jogging on the treadmill is the clear winner (running or sprinting, though not included in the study, is presumably even better). Jogging speeds, by the way, are different for different people – it’s based on perceived effort – though most jogging speeds are less than 6 mph.

Here are a few tips to dig even deeper when doing cardio:

  • When walking, jogging, running or sprinting on a treadmill, add an incline to activate a greater percentage of your glutes.
  • When cycling, use the upright bike instead of the recumbent bike.
  • When stair climbing, take bigger steps.

Bottom line: If a stronger ass is in alignment with your fitness goals, picking up the pace on a treadmill takes the cake.