6 Mistakes People Make on the Elliptical

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Riding an elliptical trainer seems easy enough – you just get on and with your feet in the foot pads, start pedaling much the same way as you would a bike. But there is more to it than that. Here are the 6 top mistakes people make when using an elliptical trainer.

1) Not Using Resistance

Have you ever heard the saying “If you continue to do the same thing, you’ll continue to get the same results?” In other words, if you keep doing everything the same each time you ride an elliptical, your body will soon adjust and become more efficient meaning you won’t be burning as many calories as you did when you first started using it. Instead, crank up the resistance to make your body work harder. It will kick your metabolism into high gear and start burning maximum calories again.

2) Not Using Your Arms

Most elliptical trainers have handles that rotate back and forth in relation to the foot pads, long with stationary handles you can hang onto. But hanging onto the stationary handles reduces the number of calories burned, plus it doesn’t give your upper body the exercise it needs. While the lower body is the star of the show, there is a lot of value in moving your arms – much the same as swinging them while walking.

3) Not Changing Direction

With an elliptical, you can “pedal” forward or backward. Most people go forward, but believe it or not, going in the other direction works your lower body muscles differently and gives you a better workout. Vary your routine to keep your body guessing what you are going to throw at it next.

4) Not Standing Up Straight

With some machines, the stationary armrests are low, so if you rest your arms on them, you end up being bent over or slouching. Standing up straight helps develop your abdominal core thus strengthening your back. Even if your machine does not have handlebars that move back and forth, stand up straight and just swing your arms. It may take awhile to get your balance without hanging on, but it will give you a better workout both for your core and upper body.

5) Not Entering Your Information

Elliptical trainers with electronic readouts are great – but only if you use them properly. While most are calibrated for a 150-pound person, if you are heavier or lighter, you may not get accurate readings. Enter in your body information when first starting a workout and aim to burn around 100 calories every ten minutes.

6) Not Changing Your Workout

As noted earlier, your body adjusts to doing the same thing. If you don’t throw it a curve now and then, it will become more efficient at what it does and you burn fewer calories. Change your workout by either increasing the resistance or intensity. Increasing both will make your body work harder and thus burn more calories than if you would have done your same old routine. Just don’t go overboard as you could work your body too hard.

To get the most from your elliptical workout – and why would you not want to– mix it up now and then by avoiding these six common mistakes.

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