The Technology Behind Elliptical Cross Trainers Creates Unique Advantages and Benefits
By: C.J. Gustafson
The Technology Behind Elliptical Cross Trainers Creates
Unique Advantages and Benefits
The word elliptical means shaped like an oval.
In the world of fitness and exercise, elliptical technology is a
relatively new, innovative equipment design that draws on a smooth, elliptical
movement to provide a low impact form of weight bearing exercise that is fun and
easy to learn.
Elliptical cross trainers have footpads that allow you to
stand up while you exercise. They
have handgrips for you to hold onto and help maintain balance.
Some even have handles to use in working your upper body.
Because you are standing, the exercise is similar to walking or running.
But the arm bars and elliptical motion create similarities with biking or
skiing. The main difference with
elliptical exercise machines is that although you are standing and bearing
weight, which is important to building bone density, your feet never leave the
footpads. So unlike treadmills or
jogging, there is little impact on your joints and muscles. This
provides a low impact, total body workout.
The advantages of this type of smooth, non-jarring motion
come from the elliptical design of the exercise equipment.
Elliptical technology has come to be known as a combination of mechanisms
and design features, unique to elliptical cross trainers, which create a motion
similar to the natural path the feet, legs and hips follow during actual motor
activities such as walking or running.
There are several different types of elliptical equipment
available, and the list of choices seems to grow each day.
However, most elliptical fitness machines have a crank arm that is
attached to a stable bar at one end and an axis at the other.
The axis end revolves as the bar moves and the other end moves in a flat,
nearly liniar back and forth motion. This
causes an elliptical path for the overall movement of the machine.
Most elliptical exercise machines built for home use provide resistance
through a band around the flywheel. Some
high end and commercial elliptical cross trainers use magnetic resistance.
Like a bicycle, this elliptical motion is smooth and continuous.
With a stair stepper or other similar equipment, there is a pattern of
motion and reverse motion, an up and down or back and forth, to which your feet
and legs must continually adapt. At
the point where the forward motion ends and the reverse motion begins, there is
an impact from the force of the machine, which is still in motion.
Your joints, bones, and muscles have to stop the motion and reverse it
With an elliptical trainer, there is no halting of motion
and reversal of direction. Your
legs keep moving in the same manner continually, even though there is an overall
range of motion. Many elliptical
cross trainers allow you to reverse the direction of motion by changing a
setting. Thus you are able to work
the opposing muscles, while still maintaining the smooth, non-jarring motion.
Benefits and Advantages
Studies have shown that weight bearing exercises are
essential for maintaining and improving bone density.
Yet many weight bearing workouts create high impact stress on joints and
muscles. This can cause health
problems, especially for people with injuries or arthritis.
Additionally, many of the different types of exercise equipment available
only work one or two areas of the body, which is a drawback for people who want
an overall workout.
Under most circumstances, the ideal piece of fitness
equipment will be provide weight bearing exercise, while limiting impact and
providing for a total body workout. Optimizing
cardiovascular benefits is also important.
Many styles of exercise equipment address one or two of these concerns,
but few combine all the advantages in an overall fitness package such as that
provided by elliptical cross trainers.
For example, a stationary bike provides relatively smooth,
non-jarring motion, but since you are sitting, you donít get the weight
bearing advantages. A treadmill
fulfills the weight bearing aspect, but at the expense of stress to your joints
each time your foot hits the running surface.
Swimming is a great form of exercise that tends to work a majority of the
bodyís muscle groups, however, it is not considered a weight bearing activity.
When considering the overall needs of an exercise program, few types of
fitness equipment meet the overall needs quite as well as elliptical cross
The advantages and benefits of an elliptical trainer as
compared to other fitness equipment are:
bearing form of exercise that helps maintain bone density
elliptical motion creates a low impact workout
motion is similar to walking and is thus easy to learn and sustain
encourage users to work upper body muscles providing a total body workout
one of the best forms of cardiovascular training Ė onboard computers help
plan and monitor cardio workouts.
is relatively simple, so there are fewer parts to replace or mechanical
things that can go wrong.
Beware Of Imitators
Unfortunately, as with many innovative, beneficial, and
popular ideas, elliptical technology has become somewhat corrupted by those who
want to cash in on the appeal but who lack a commitment to or understanding of
the true basis for the design. Some
elliptical equipment does not offer the natural, simulated movement of true
elliptical cross trainers. Others
use inferior designs and materials, resulting in a jerky or jarring motion that
negates the value of the equipment.
When purchasing an elliptical exercise machine, be sure
that it provides a stable frame or platform, adequately sized foot platforms,
and most importantly, a smooth, continuous motion.
Try out the machine. Does
the movement required feel natural and comfortable? Also check to see if the machine has adjustments for speed,
incline and direction.
Elliptical technology, in its true form, is one of the best
innovations to hit the fitness industry in the past decade.
It truly does address some of the common exercise and health concerns
while providing for a relatively easy, often enjoyable form of exercise.
Unlike some of the gadgets and gimmicks that have come along over the
years, elliptical cross trainers have the ability to help users get fit, lose
weight, and improve overall health.
About The Author:
C.J. Gustafson is a successful writer for http://www.elliptical-machines-n-trainers.com
She enjoys researching different exercise technologies and feels that elliptical
trainers and elliptical
machines truly offer a whole new way of exercising.
Copyright 2005 Elliptical-Machines-N-Trainers.com
Permission is granted to publish this article on your
site only if the author's byline is included and all 3 links are hyperlinked.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/
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The Power of Stretching - Dave Snape
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
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching.
it can't hurt, right?
So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen
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
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
Why are stretching and flexibility considered
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
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
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from
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
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:
If you enjoyed 'The Power of Stretching' article, consider
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