What’s an Elliptical Trainer?

We’ve been talking about different fitness equipment for your home gym. One of the cardio machines mentioned was an elliptical trainer. This machine is part treadmill, part stationary cycle and part stair-climber. They are among the hottest trends in fitness equipment today and for good reason.

The elliptical trainer allows your legs to travel in an elongated circular motion. Some models also allow you to pump the poles back and forth as you stride, providing you with an upper body workout to match the lower body. In this way, unlike other cardio machines, the elliptical trainer is a full body workout. The machine makes you feel like you are doing a rhythmic glide.

When it comes to picking out an elliptical machine, you need to know a few things. First and foremost, this is not going to be an inexpensive piece of equipment. There are a lot models out there that promise the same type of workout for a relatively low cost (as low as $99 in some cases), but the problem is most of those are pretty bad units. You can feel like you are running downhill on your tiptoes and that’s not conducive to a good workout or to stability.

Upon review, many home units priced low have strides that are too short, too choppy or too deep. Two or three that I have tried out in stores also appeared pretty flimsy, rocking from side to side when using them. If you’ve ever used an elliptical trainer in a gym, you’ve experienced the firm stability and strength in the upper body when using the poles. Many home units offer no resistance on the poles and you get very little in the way of an upper body workout.

The models that would be best for a home gym are still a bit of an economical splurge. I will be reviewing a few over the next week so you can have an idea for what’s out there. In general, the best models for the home are going to cost over $2,000 – hence the splurge. As much as I’d love to have a home elliptical, I have as yet not been able to afford one.

Some of the more expensive models are adjusting their prices accordingly. While it is still relatively new, the popularity of the gym models and the demand for home units seems to be combining to bring about a greater array of models for home users to select from.

Personally, if you’ve never tried an elliptical trainer – see if you can get a week’s exploratory membership to a gym to check it out. For a lot of users, once you’ve tried an elliptical machine – you don’t want to go back to another unit.

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About Heather Long

Heather Long is 35 years old and currently lives in Wylie, Texas. She has been a freelance writer for six years. Her husband and she met while working together at America Online over ten years ago. They have a beautiful daughter who just turned five years old. She is learning to read and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. An author of more than 300 articles and 500+ web copy pieces, Heather has also written three books as a ghostwriter. Empty Canoe Publishing accepted a novel of her own. A former horse breeder, Heather used to get most of her exercise outside. In late 2004, early 2005 Heather started studying fitness full time in order to get herself back into shape. Heather worked with a personal trainer for six months and works out regularly. She enjoys shaking up her routine and checking out new exercises. Her current favorites are the treadmill (she walks up to 90 minutes daily) and doing yoga for stretching. She also performs strength training two to three times a week. Her goals include performing in a marathon such as the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness or Team in Training for Lymphoma research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience through the fitness and marriage blogs.

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