Purchasing the elliptical trainer that is just right for you depends on several factors, such as your weight, height, fitness goals and your budget; you can find good elliptical machines under USD 200 to use at home, especially if you are just starting out or do not intend to exercise that often. Intense workouts require more complex (and expensive) elliptical trainers, though, so make sure to consider carefully the amount of money and time you plan on spending on your new elliptical.
A good machine is sturdy, exercises all muscle groups, is good for cardio workouts, and is easier on the joints as compared to other machines. If you are going to exercise at home, your family will probably want to use the elliptical too, so make sure the weight capacity of the machine is suitable for everybody.
Tips for exercising different sets of muscles
Remember to warm up for around 5 minutes by gradually increasing the resistance levels on the elliptical, and cool down at the end for another 5 minutes by decreasing your resistance levels from 5 to 3, or whatever works for you. Not everyone is a fitness expert, so take it slow.
Keeping your feet flat on the pedals, watch your posture and make sure you keep your backline straight at all times; often, people tend to lean forward, especially when they practice alone at home without an instructor to supervise them. Also, make sure you use the strength of your thighs and calves to work the machine.
To exercise different muscles, alternate between pedaling forward and backward; working out forward is good for the quads, whereas going backward tones your hamstrings and glutes. Pushing the pedals at higher speeds while taking your hands off the handles and keeping the incline at level 8 helps you target your core muscles and provides a more effective workout of the area.
You will also exercise your arms if you push, then pull the handles while on the elliptical; pushing focuses on the chest muscles, while pulling targets the upper back.
If your aim is to burn more calories, try to combine high speed training with low speed workouts of around 30 seconds each. For the same purpose, you can also progressively adjust the intensity and the incline of the elliptical machine to the highest level that is comfortable to you (for example, you can increase the incline step by step from 5.0 to 15.0, then go back to 5.0). A higher incline and a raised intensity will make you work out harder, which means you will burn more calories while focusing on exercising your glutes and hamstrings.
There are many advantages to using an elliptical machine at home, among which are the increased comfort of not having to leave the house, as well as the money you can save in the long run on fitness center fees, commute, etc. The main disadvantage is the absence of a trained instructor, so avoid exercising too hard or for too long, as these are some of the most frequent mistakes people who train at home do.