5 Cool Features To Look For On Your Next Elliptical

In the market to purchase an elliptical? If so, you may be curious what’s new in their development. Elliptical machines have definitely come a long way from back in the day and they are becoming more comfortable then ever to use and get a workout in each and every session.

Many people cite elliptical training as their favorite method of improving their fitness level so it’s no surprise that manufacturers have been stepping up their game for quite some time. This is great news for anyone in the market for such a machine and if you are buying now, there is much to look forward to.

While you’ll always want to consider the main elements when shopping for an elliptical such as the cost, the warranty, the size of the machine, the horsepower of the motor, and so forth, there are some new and innovative features that you can begin looking for on your elliptical machines as well.

Let’s take a look at what some of these features are so that you’re an informed shopper.

Additional Programs

The first cool benefit you’ll notice on your elliptical trainer is that there are many additional programs now being added to the offerings. In the previous times, you may have gotten a few options: hill, manual, interval training, an fat burn, but now, that is heavily amplified.

Some elliptical trainers even come with full on training programs such as a half marathon training program. For those who are entered in such events and using the elliptical as a means of cross training and getting ready, this can come in incredibly helpful.

You may also get workout booster programs a swell, which include things like glute targeted programs where the elliptical will adjust the movement pattern based on what you are doing specifically with resistance and intensity to target the glutes to a higher degree.

Or, you might get an arm blaster program that is going to work the upper body to a larger degree, taking less resistance for the legs and transferring it to the upper body muscles.

These programs are great for those who may not know as much about fitness and are unable to make adjustments to create their own programs. In addition to that, they’re also ideal for those who are hoping to just change up their workout more often, removing boredom from the mix.

If you find that you really struggle to stick with a workout session because you are always trying to find something new to do – and can’t, this solves your program. Making use of these programs, even though you are still using the same machine, can go a long way towards helping you avoid that dreaded progress plateau.

Remember that with any workout program, unless you change something in the program, you are not giving your body a reason to change. So be sure that you are constantly adjusting and doing something different so you continue to see different results.

Lateral Movement

Another unique thing you’re going to find available now in elliptical machines is the possibility of lateral movement rather than direct front and back. If you want to get a totally new experience, purchasing a lateral elliptical machine can be a great way to go.

With these, you’ll be receiving many of the same benefits of the standard elliptical trainer but because the movement pattern will be more side to side than front to back, you’ll get different muscle groups involved.

This can help work your glute muscles to a larger degree while also helping to target the hip region – the hip adductors and abductors. This form of treadmill is also excellent for fat burning as it’s been shown to burn up to 27% more calories than a conventional elliptical. It is harder though, so take note that you will really be working if you opt for this machine.

If you are suffering from knee pain or just get chronic knee injuries, you might also find this movement pattern to be a bit more kind to your knees than the back and forth motion. There’s less direct bending involved so some people will find greater relief.

Many of the advanced lateral elliptical will allow you to go both side to side as well as front to back, so you aren’t saying so long to that traditional movement. This gives you the best-case scenario since now you can perform that session however you want, challenging your body in a new manner each and every day.

‘Trail Runs’

If you really want to step up your elliptical game, you might consider investing in one of the higher end models, which comes with actual trails built in. With these machines, you’ll get a TV attached to the console, which can be used for regular TV programming if you wish or alternatively, used to watch yourself move through various trails.

For instance, you might want to take your session through the Grand Canyon. This machine will have the sights of this scenic route as you go.

Or, perhaps you want to go on an beachside trail. You can do that as well. With many different scenes programmed into these TV’s, it sure makes your workout less boring.

For those who love to travel, you can now combine your passion for traveling with your workout goals and hopefully, stay more consistent with your sessions.

Ability To Use Different Hand Positions

The next nice thing that you’ll see with some of the newer elliptical machines out there is that you are able to utilize different hand positions. For some people, they shy away from using elliptical trainers because the ergonomics of it just aren’t comfortable for them.

You have to remember that many things come into play when it comes to elliptical trainers and this includes height, arm length, leg length, your comfortable stride, and so forth. All of these are going to influence how easy it is for you to move about your elliptical training session without an issue.

If you are positioned quite differently than the ‘ideal’ body for that machine, you can rest assured this is going to impact how comfortable you feel while doing your session.

Many elliptical, especially those of the past, were pretty much set in a particular manner. So when you are able to adjust the machine based on your own body measurements and ergonomics, this most definitely will have a positive influence on your enjoyment of that session.

You may also be less likely to suffer form injury as well as poor ergonomics, especially wen you are doing these sessions on a daily basis, are one of the primary reasons for injury occurrence.

Furthermore, by adjusting the hand position, even if you are someone who is comfortable in the original position, you can challenge the muscle groups in a slightly different manner, meaning you’ll reduce your chances of suffering from muscular imbalances.  If you only use one hand position all the time, certain muscles will be called into play with every workout you do, but other muscles may be essentially ‘sleeping’, not being utilized at all.

All it often takes is a slightly different hand position to completely wake those muscles up.

Better Heart Rate Monitors

Finally, one last terrific benefit to look forward to is the improvement in heart rate monitoring systems. You can more easily track your heart rate and adjust your training as needed with the newer machines.

If you are looking to improve your fitness level or achieve certain cardiovascular goals, this is a very important consideration not to overlook.

Likewise, it’s also important to track your heart rate for your fat burning success as well. If you track your heart rate regularly, you can determine whether you are in the ‘fat burning zone’ of around 70-75% of your maximum heart rate or if you are pushing it higher, into an anaerobic zone and more likely to reap the benefits of EPOC, which stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption.

More people are getting involved in tracking the specifics of their workout session and being able to have a fully functional heart rate monitor makes this far easier.

In addition to monitoring your heart rate, newer treadmill models may also have better overall calorie out put estimating systems, requesting more information from you, which then means that the overall calorie burn they are giving you tends to be more accurate overall as well.

So there you have some of the best new advancements in elliptical machines to take note of. Do keep in mind that not every machine you look at will have all of these effects. Some machines may not come with these features based on the manufacture, the model and the price, so if you have particular features you know you for sure want, then be sure to seek out those machines.

Elliptical can range considerably in price, so it’ll be important that you are keeping your budget and your desired features in mind.

Photo credit: ZephyrMedia/Shutterstock; gpointstudio/Shutterstock; nd3000/Shutterstock

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