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How Elliptical Machines Work
By: Jennifer Dennis

How Elliptical Machines Work

If you’ve jumped on an elliptical trainer, you know how great a workout you can
have on this newer fitness machine. With its smooth, rhythmic motions, the
elliptical trainer is the ideal workout for anyone looking for a high
cardiovascular exercise—without the impact of stress and pressure on your joints
and back.

Purchasing an elliptical trainer can be tricky, but with a little help, you can
make the right decision for you. Knowing how an elliptical works will influence which style you purchase—as well as which model you are willing to buy.

Similar to most stationary bikes, when you get onto the elliptical trainer and
begin to move, the program will immediately start. Underneath the foot platform
is an array of mechanical accoutrements that make your workout experience a
great one. As you push the pedals in an oval, or elliptical, pattern, the
machine starts, offering an array of fitness programs. You can adjust the
fitness level with a mere push of a button on the display panel in front of you.
The pedal position gives you a choice of moving strokes to work out various
muscle groups on your body.

Manual resistance is the key component in an elliptical trainer. As you glide
methodically along, you can control fitness levels that offer more resistance
for a higher-intensity training experience. A user’s body is placed over the
center of the drive wheel for the most natural ergonomic positioning possible.
This natural position leads to extended times on the machine, as well as a more
comfortable experience throughout the length of the workout.

The base of the machine is a crank arm attached to a bar. The bar moves in a
linear fashion, side-to-side, on one end, while moving in a circular pattern on
the other. This results in an exercise that is elliptical. The motion of the
pedals is similar to the stationary bike, but feels more natural and less

Because the movements are so natural, the fitness user can easily reach a heart
rate of 160-175 bpm (beats per minute), which encourages high cardiovascular
activity and ultimately, a rewarding workout. A heavy flywheel magnetic system
offers a very smooth, frictionless movement and virtually silent operation. The
upper body handles move in pattern with the lower-body base and bars to give you
a great workout. Minute after minute, the upper body works in tandem with the
lower body pedals to give you a full body workout and smooth, rewarding fitness

Since the pedals are available to be used in two different fashions, a fitness
user can enjoy two distinct types of exercise routines. If you pedal forward,
you will feel a strong workout in the glutes, quadriceps, calf muscles and more.
Pedal backwards, however, and you can feel a stronger burn in your quadriceps
and calf muscles within minutes. Either way, the elliptical trainer is versatile
and strong enough to handle the routine and the user can experience a
challenging and rewarding workout.

The elliptical trainer has only been around for a few years, so we can expect to
see great advantages in the years ahead. The fitness industry is a demanding and
competitive industry, which is excellent news for fitness enthusiasts. As the
competition grows, the need for greater and greater machines is imperative.
Already, we have seen more fitness programs, smoother workouts on pedals and
increased resistance for a more intense workout.

From beginners to advanced fitness buffs, the elliptical trainer provides an
outstanding workout each time the user jumps on board. Although critics
initially scoffed at the elliptical trainer, saying that the machine would only
be around temporarily, the prediction has not come true. This so-called “fad”
trainer has evolved, grown and exerted its influence into public gyms and
private home gym environments alike.

Where will the machine go from here? Today, the range of benefits and features
are limited only by what a user is willing to pay to purchase his or her own
machine. Fitness manufacturers, such as the original Precor, are helping to set
the stage to bring more and more exciting features to the fitness landscape.

Next time you jump on an elliptical trainer, you will be able to experience a
great workout—and have a better understanding of the intricacies of the
machinery underneath your body. Enjoy a strong workout and a leaner body when
you work your lower and upper body muscles simultaneously. Jump on board an
elliptical machine for your next fitness workout today!

About the Author: Jennifer Dennis is a successful author and regular
contributor to - a fitness and treadmill industry resource that features treadmill reviews,
guides, product descriptions and articles.

About the Author

About the Author: Jennifer Dennis is a successful author and regular
contributor to - a fitness and treadmill industry resource that features treadmill reviews,
guides, product descriptions and articles.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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