The elliptical is one of the most used devices by people wishing to get back to the sport. The device is very easy to use, and the movement is natural. The resistance is distributed throughout the body, which gives a sense of ease when starting the elliptical. However, this can only be an impression since it can burn up to 800 kcal/hour, making it one of the most effective cardio-training devices.
How does an elliptical machine work
1. THE FLYWHEEL AND BRAKE SYSTEM OF THE ELLIPTICAL TRAINER
The flywheel or flywheel: The inertia system measures the weight of the wheel: the more massive the wheel, the more the pedaling will be regular and comfortable. The importance of the wheel of inertia is, therefore, a criterion of purchase not to be neglected.
- For occasional or regular use, choose an elliptical trainer with a flywheel up to 7 kg.
- For regular use, an elliptical with an inertia wheel of 8 to 16 kg will be sufficient.
- For intensive use, prefer an elliptical with a flywheel over 18 kg.
Be careful not to be confused with the “mass of inertia,” which shows a higher weight because it combines the importance of the flywheel but also that of the drive system.
The elliptical braking system: There are three types of braking on the elliptical trainer: manual magnetic braking, motorized magnetic braking, and electromagnetic braking. All these braking systems are silent.
- Magnetic manual braking: the resistance is adjustable only via a small knob to turn. Models with manual resistance do not have training programs.
- Magnetic braking: the resistance setting can be controlled directly from the console or manually via a wheel. It allows braking smoothly and quietly. To enjoy a console with training programs, choose an elliptical with a resistance setting through the console.
- Electromagnetic braking: we find it on the so-called elliptical ergometers. The resistance setting is more accurate than the others. It offers the possibility of training on Watts-based programs, that is to say, the power released by the user during exercise. They are mainly used for rehabilitation or by top athletes.
2. THE STRUCTURE AND COMFORT OF AN ELLIPTICAL MACHINE
The length of the elliptical: one of the most important criteria to consider when buying. The higher the length of the elliptical trainer, the more the pedaling range changes from circular motion to an elongated, much more natural movement. An elliptical measuring between 1m and 1m30 in length will ensure comfortable strides and comfortable pedaling.
For tall people (over 1m80) and for intensive use (its movement is more natural) or if you have joint problems on the lower limbs, It is strongly recommended to choose an elliptical measuring more than 1m30 of long.
Maximum user weight: Choose your fitness equipment according to your weight but also the maximum user weight supported by the device. Be sure to keep a margin between your weight and that recommended by the device for the longevity of it and better stability of the device during workouts.
Ground Stability: The more substantial your elliptical trainer will be with a wheelbase (width of the elliptical trainer’s feet) on the ground, the less it will move.
Strides and distance between pedals: The step length or stride distance, corresponds to the range of movement of the legs. For comfortable and natural strides, it is recommended to choose an elliptical with a stride length of at least 30 cm. Regarding the distance between the pedals, the more it will be reduced and the more the movement will look like walking and will be natural.
The different types of handlebars: The elliptical trainers have two types of handlebars: 1 fixed insulating the lower part of the body and one mobile to work the whole body simultaneously.
The idea is to choose an elliptical machine with these two types of handlebars for a complete body workout.
3. THE CONSOLE AND PROGRAMS OF AN ELLIPTICAL EXERCISE BIKE
The console: the console is an onboard mini-computer equipped with an LCD or LED display is displaying all the data relating to the workouts. Among these data, we find most commonly information on calories lost, pedaling speed, distance traveled, time elapsed, and heart rate.
And for more advanced consoles, also: the cadence of pedaling (RPM), the power in watts. It is essential if you want to train intensively or improve your performance.
The different training programs on elliptical trainers:
- Pre-recorded programs are varying speed and inclination according to a predefined course (mountain, hills, etc.).
- Heart rate programs (or HRCs) that vary the speed to keep the pulse stable.
- Programs based on the goal of the user (weight loss, fitness improvement, fitness, etc.).
- Programs customizable by the user to allow him to draw the course that suits him.
- Constant wattage programs, which adjust the resistance regardless of the speed: the bike fits the difficulty according to your abilities, without rushing you.
4. THE MORE
Front or rear wheel of inertia: the majority of ellipticals have a wheel of inertia located at the back. This arrangement makes it possible to less stress the muscles and increases the speed of rotation of the wheel, thus making it possible to burn fats more efficiently. The sensations are close to those of jogging.
The models with a wheel of inertia placed at the front are more intended for intensive use. We find this provision also on professional models. Unlike models with the flywheel in the back, the muscles are more stressed. This type of model mimics the movements of cross-country skiing and is ideal for muscle building.
Fan: elliptical models incorporate a fan to cool you during your workouts.
Water bottle holder: essential during your sessions, the water bottle holder, allows you to hydrate throughout your sessions.
Heart sensors: There are three types of heart sensors:
- Touch sensors arranged either on the fixed handlebar or the mobile handlebar. Just put his but on the sensors to measure on heart rate that will be displayed directly on the console.
- Radiofrequency chest belt, with console heart rate control.
- Chest belt by Bluetooth with a heart rate control directly on the mobile application (tablet or smartphone).
Transport wheels: to quickly move your device after use.
Connectivity: Some consoles more elaborate are equipped with two speakers accompanied by an MP3 connection (jack) to train in music.
Foldable structure: some manufacturers offer models of folding elliptical bikes, ideal for saving space at home.
Smartphone/tablet applications: Many applications are compatible with console technology. Depending on the module integrated into the elliptical, it is possible:
- To have access to a multitude of applications of Fitness, coaching/nutrition with a permanent follow-up of its performances, virtual training programs simulating courses all over the world from its screen thanks to the Google maps to customize, measure to other online competitors.
- To be able to control all the parameters of his elliptical trainer.