The Best Elliptical Machine Reviews - Workout at Home
Elliptical trainers or cross-trainers (X-trainer) are stationary exercise machines that replicate natural human movement such as walking, running or even climbing a staircase without causing excessive pressure to the arms and leg joints. This results in a more thorough upper and lower body workout without causing too much body and muscle sores. Quality elliptical trainer machines should be able to provide a natural body movements, which results to a more enjoyable cardiovascular workout that can vary from light to heavy training routines, depending on the type of exercise performed and the amount of resistance set by the user.
A good cross trainer machine should have a very stable construction, particularly the foot platform that a user must move through the use of their legs and in some designs, even the arms as well. The effort needed to operate elliptical trainer machines depend on the strength applied to the hand levers along with the foot platform which are interconnected and move in unison with each other. The joints of the lever mechanism of cross trainer machines are fitted with heavy duty bearings that move the joints of the entire machine. The load or resistance that the machine produces for the body to work with, are produced through mechanical means such as a flywheel fan that resists the revolving motion of the flywheel that the user moves. There are some machines that require to be plugged into a power socket to supply the load resistance through the use of a digitally controlled console as well as extra options like an inbuilt TV in high end models.
Another feature that you should look for is the type of motor mounting that it has. Unknown to most people, elliptical trainers are categorized accordingly to the type of motor or “drive” mounting that it has. Basically, there are three types of Cross trainers namely the “rear drive”, the “front drive” and the “center drive”. Depending on the type that you need and the type of resistance exercise that it can give you, choosing one that will meet your exercise needs all relies on the quality, function and the price that you have in mind.
Since there are a lot of different types of elliptical machines that you can choose, picking one that is perfect for you can be tricky. To help you in choose one that will give you the kind of health benefit that you can get using these cross trainers, we have a preview of the three different types available, that will fit with the price that you have in mind with regard to quality and functionality. You can check out our comparative chart to help you decide on the type of X-Trainer that is right for you.
Features That the Best Elliptical Machine Should Have:
Since elliptical machines are made from a lot of moving parts, stability of these moving parts is very important to provide users with a wobble free workout. Unlike most exercise equipments, cross trainer machines consists of a lot of mechanical components such as a flywheel which helps setting the resistance by applying different amounts of pressure. Adjustable knobs that apply pressure to the flywheel have been the oldest forms of design that has been used on cross trainers, however, newer designs nowadays also incorporate digital electronics that keep track of your workout on its console as you can even control the amount of load resistance with a simple touch of a button. The ability of an elliptical trainer to simulate the natural movement of the arms and the legs is very important since earlier designs used to cause muscle and joint injuries since these designs were not close in imitating the natural movement of the body.
Trying out an elliptical trainer before you purchase it means that you have to take it for a ride to find out if the way the foot platform and the hand levers move work for you and do not inflict too much impact on your ankles, knees, hips and arms. (Hint: Amazon let’s you try out any product for up to a month and return it for free if you’re not satisfied.) The more subtle and fluid the entire mechanism moves along with the way your arms and legs do, the better. Design with regard to the quality of the materials used is also important since you do not want any plastic parts to come flying off from any segment of your elliptical trainer. Make sure that most of the important external plastic components are made with ABS polymer plastic materials. As for the hand grips and rubber linings on the foot platform, make sure that they are made of durable, non-slip materials that provide adequate traction to your grip and footing.
To help you in making a practical decision on choosing the right product that can give you a comprehensive resistance workout along with being able to conveniently reduce the impact on your legs and arms, it is best to find a model that is made for your weight and height since cross trainers come in different sizes designed for people with different weights. If you are planning on using it in the comfort of your own home, make sure you know how much space you’ve got available and maybe choose a model that can be rolled into a corner.
Types of Elliptical Trainers:
Front drive mounted cross trainers are considered to be the best design that most people prefer in using as it offers a more comprehensive cardiovascular workout. Front mounted drive systems are usually designed with an arm lever which makes it possible to workout both the upper and lower body. A front mounted drive configuration usually offers a greater weight load resistance. This type of design can also take advantage on how the front drive is mounted as it can simulate stair climbing, since users can easily adjust the inclination angle of the machine from the front. Front drive mounted elliptical trainers are ideal to simulate walking, running, climbing and even skiing.
Center mounted drive cross trainer machines are more attuned to simulate the walking and running motion of the legs. Compared to that of a conventional treadmill, center drive mounted cross trainers greatly reduce the amount of impact that the ankles, knees and hips incur during a workout. The way in which the flywheel drive is mounted on the center of the machine, specifically between the feet is ideal for a steady cardiovascular workout that does not require any substantial weight load resistance. This is an ideal alternative from using a treadmill since the impact on the feet and the ankles are a lot less than that of drawing the entire weight of the feet and the legs on a flat steady surface, as the shock of impact is spread all throughout the feet, ankles and knees.
This type of cross trainer was designed with its flywheel drive mounted behind the user’s feet, which is at the rear end of the machine. This type of drive mount configuration is designed to strengthen the knees and the muscles behind the legs, particularly the calves. This design configuration improves the way in which the legs pushes the weight forward which can also be compared to pedaling a bicycle. The inclination angle of this kind of elliptical trainer can be adjusted from the rear to increase the weight leverage along with the weight load of the flywheel drive.
Although each type may seem to be similar to one another with regard to functionality, they do differ in the type of workout that they offer users which targets specific muscle groups on the arms and legs. Unlike a treadmill that can cause injuries due to the amount of impact that it inflicts on the feet, particularly the ankles and the knees, elliptical machines reduces the amount of shock that the feet have to bear each time that it comes in contact with the surface of the treadmill. The working dynamics of an elliptical trainer diverts the force of impact of the feet and circulates it, leaving only the resistance that improves the way the muscles work with the weight, giving you a more convenient and pain reduced upper and lower body workout.
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Note: Prices get updated regularly but might change slightly based on Amazon promotions.