bursting on the fitness scene five years ago, millions of
elliptical trainers have been installed in health clubs
and homes. Elliptical cross-trainers are the only real breakthrough
aerobic product of the past few years," says Gregory Florez,
spokesman for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). "They
are absolutely not a gimmick."
to the American Sports Data, Inc., "the elliptical motion
trainer, continued to grow in popularity, with 6.2 million
users in 2000, up from 2.4 million when first measured in
trainers combine the natural stride treadmill and the simplicity
of a stair climber. On an Elliptical trainer, you stand
comfortably in an upright position while holding onto the
machine's handrails and striding in either a forward or
makes a trainer unique is the ability to offer a weight
bearing workout that puts minimal stress on the joints.
Your feet never leave the pedals of an elliptical trainer,
thereby eliminating any impact in your workout. Whether
you go forward or reverse, and regardless of the level of
resistance, there is a reduced risk of injury from overusing
any one-muscle group.
bearing exercises like running, hiking and aerobics benefits
the body in ways that non-weight bearing exercises like
rowing and cycling cannot. Weight resistant workouts builds
bone density and burns calories more efficiently.
individuals trying to burn calories and trim down, the weight-bearing
arm/leg exercise optimizes energy expenditure during self-selected
exercise of moderate intensity in overweight subjects. In
recent studies it was concluded that energy expenditure
among overweight subjects was higher on the elliptical machine
than a treadmill, or leg cycles with and without upper body
motion. For overweight individuals who are initiating a
regular exercise program to decrease excess body fat, they
will find that elliptical treadmills optimize energy expenditure.
low impact, intensive cardiovascular workout of an elliptical
trainer is achieved through smooth and natural motion. The
fluid, non-jarring motion makes the elliptical trainer ideal
for anyone with back, knee, hips and joint problems. The
dual action machines utilize both the legs and arm in providing
a full upper and lower body workout.
studies over the last decade show that the human foot moves
through an elliptical pattern as we walk, run or jog. Fitness
products that imitate and support this motion are the fastest
growing new category of cardiovascular equipment.
scarce time, a major factor in people's daily lives, total
body exercise can be truly beneficial. A total body exercise
machine meets three goals that are most desired - weight
loss, time efficiency, and motivation.
Body Exercise involves more muscle mass in an aerobic exercise
activity. For the average person, the larger the muscle
mass involved in exercise, the more effective that exercise
is for improving fat mobilization, burning calories and
building muscle endurance in an efficient period of time,
and at a reduced perceived rate of exertion. The upper and
lower body workout of a trainer utilizes the quadriceps.
hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps and biceps.
the fitness industry, "Elliptical Technology" has become
the generic name for devices that incorporate the various
linkages/mechanisms in an effort to create a preferred pattern
of movement for a pair of foot pedals. The shape of this
preferred movement is intended to mimic the natural path
of the ankle, knee and hip joints experience during locomotion
- walking, striding, jogging and/or running.
its most rudimentary form, Elliptical Technology consists
of a crank arm (similar to the crank of a bicycle) that
revolves around an axis at one end and that is attached
to a bar at the other. The opposite end of the bar moves
in a reciprocating, linear pattern when the crank rotates.
Since one end of the bar rotates in a circular pattern while
the other moves linearly, points between the two ends of
the bar move in elliptical patterns. The points of the bar
closest to the crank move in wider, more circular ellipses
(closest to a circle) and the points closest to the other
end move in thinner, flatter ellipses (closer to a straight
most obvious advantage of Elliptical Technology is the lack
of impact to the lower limbs and back. Unlike a treadmill
in which the foot of the user is continuously lifted off
of the running surface, striking that surface upon the return,
the foot and foot pedal of an elliptical machine are in
constant contact. Effectively eliminating impact.
force is also felt on stairstepper devices. Although the
foot often remains in contact with the foot pedal when such
devices are used, the foot pedal undergoes a virtually instantaneous
direction reversal. Essentially, the foot pedal is moving
in one direction, must stop and then is pushed in the opposite
direction. The force required to reverse the movement of
the mechanism results in "impact" to the joints of the lower
mechanism incorporated in an elliptical machine moves in
a smooth, continuous motion and does not suffer the effects
of direction reversal. The exercise experienced on elliptical
machines is weight bearing (versus exercise bikes) which
has ramification in the inhibition of the onset of osteoporosis.
addition, although cycling is a well-recognized and safe
tool to improve cardiovascular conditioning, the elliptical
modality is a more functional pattern of movement. Since
ellipticals simulate a natural walking pattern, they easily
lend themselves to an upper body component of exercise.
Many other devices, either due to their mechanical structure
(treadmills) or the pattern (cycling) do not readily adapt
to a total body configuration.
various manufacturers of elliptical machines have developed
many iterations of this basic technology. As a result, the
field is full of machines that have a different "feel" -
the articulation of the ankle, knee and hip is different.
The true nature of Elliptical Technology has been somewhat
obscured by the preponderance of these questionable devices.
Many lack the design and mechanism to duplicate a fluid,
natural motion. As with all forms of exercise equipment,
there are cheap versions that offer negligible physical
to the natural motion, combined with an upper and lower
body workout, quality elliptical trainers will continue
to grow in popularity and their sales will substantially
increase. They appeal to a population that is increasingly
overweight and looking for an optimum workout for burning
fat and calories. Elliptical trainers also appeal to an
aging population that seeks a total body workout, minus
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