While it may seem that elliptical machines have been around forever, they only debuted in the 1990s, and therefore aren’t as old as treadmills, stationary bikes, stairclimbers and rowers. Becoming very popular quickly, elliptical machines today are second only to treadmills in cardio machine usage.
What’s great is that ellipticals offer numerous benefits, and the category has evolved over the years, which means more variety and greater options for you. Don’t just choose the same manual workout on your usual elliptical and go on auto-pilot; but explore the many choices of elliptical workouts today.
Benefits of Ellitpicals
Here are some of the benefits of elliptical machines over other cardio options:
- Low-impact – The elliptical motion is smooth and fluid, without stressing the ankles, knees, hips or back. Not only is this more comfortable than high-impact activity, but it reduces risk of injury and provides an important alternative for those who cannot tolerate impact.
- Total-body – Most ellipticals work the upper and lower body simultaneously, unlike many cardio machines, resulting in greater muscle involvement for higher caloric expenditure and greater overall conditioning. Why work only the legs on a stationary bike or treadmill when you get more ROI from an elliptical?
- Multiple muscles – Total-body ellipticals use all the major muscle groups, including the glutes, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, along with the back, chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps. They provide a true comprehensive workout that targets the entire body.
- Versatility – Cross training on one machine is facilitated by pedaling forward or backward, targeting just the lower body, emphasizing the upper body or changing stride length or incline. Multiple programs also build in these cross-training techniques, so you can just get on and go.
- Simplicity – Some newer cross training machines have a learning curve to get used to the motion, and other machines, like rowers, can challenge users to maintain proper form. Most ellipticals offer intuitive motion that makes getting started simple and quick, just like it should be.
- Variety – Traditional standing ellipticals are just the beginning. Octane Fitness offers a variety beyond standing elliptical machines, including the xRide® recumbent elliptical, LateralX® lateral elliptical and the XT-One™ cross-trainer for different challenges and better results.
Although you may only be familiar with the traditional standing elliptical, several other versions now exist that you should look for at your health club or check out and test ride at a local specialty fitness retailer. Even if you are committed to your current regimen on a specific machine, it benefits your body and mind to try other options to challenge yourself differently. Your body adapts over time to the workouts you do repeatedly, so changing the routine can mean greater results. Plus, you may find that you really enjoy another machine or workout, which you can then add to your exercise plans.
Most likely, you have used these, as they are classic models that work your entire body with low-impact motion and lower perceived exertion. You can burn a lot of calories in this weight-bearing version, vary movements to go forward and backwards, isolate the lower body or upper body only. On some models, you also can change your stride length for variety and to more naturally accommodate different paces or moving in reverse.
- Recumbent Ellipticals
It’s not a seated stepper! Octane’s xRide recumbent elliptical is one of a kind, affording all the benefits of standing versions, including total-body engagement and movement variety. Plus, with PowerStroke™ technology, exercisers use a longer range of motion, for 3X the glute work and 23% more calories burned, compared to a recumbent bike. And while the xRide accommodates those who prefer to sit during exercise, its wide range of resistance levels and multiple programs deliver high-intensity challenges as well.
- Lateral Ellipticals
Octane’s unique LateralX combines a vertical elliptical stepping motion with an active side-to-side motion for motivating, effective and fun workouts in varying planes. Most cardio machines target linear (front-to-back) motion only, so incorporating lateral movement is a great way to enhance fitness and sports performance.
Research shows that you can burn 27% more calories when going from lateral width 1 to lateral width 10, and benefit from a 30% increase in inner/outer thigh work, compared to traditional ellipticals.
- Incline Ellipticals
With incline ellipticals, such as the new XT-One by Octane Fitness, you get valuable variety and customization on one machine. Choose to walk, run, hike or climb with a push of a button, selecting from 10 incline levels, adjustable stride length from 20”-28” and 30 resistance levels. Targeting different muscle groups is easy and cross training is convenient by simply changing movements on the machine. Various workouts incorporate different speeds and incline levels, so you just get on and follow the machine!
Along with new elliptical machines are new workout choices, with plenty of variety that will keep your mind and body engaged. Don’t be reluctant to spice up your session by taking on some of the following:
- Workout Boosters – Not necessarily their own individual workout, these Boosters are exclusive to Octane Fitness and available at the push of a button. X-Mode, GluteKicker and ArmBlaster incorporate one-minute intervals of cross training every two minutes within any session, with prompts to go in reverse, squat, lean back and more. On the xRide, Workout Boosters such as Muscle Endurance, Chest Press and Leg Press conveniently add strength training to your cardio routine so you get two workouts in one.
The LateralX also offers ThighToner and QuadPower to hit the legs, including the hard-to-target inner and outer thighs.
- CROSS CiRCUIT® – An Octane signature program, CROSS CiRCUIT* combines cardio intervals on the elliptical with strength exercises adjacent to the machine for an ultra-effective, efficient sweat session. With CROSS CiRCUIT, you select among hundreds of exercises that use body weight, Octane’s Powerbands and PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells. Or add other accessories, such as medicine balls, kettlebells, stability balls and balance trainers, for greater variety. You can choose to focus on lower body one day, or core or upper body, or a total-body workout. No two workouts are the same, keeping you motivated.
Octane offers multiple CROSS CiRCUIT exercises and routines to choose from, and on some models, video demonstrations are included so you can easily follow along. This is a great way to get cardio and strength done in one exhilarating program!
*not available on xRide
- Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) – Mimicking real-life MMA bouts, this intense routine offers different levels and built-in responsive resistance whereby the machine “fights back” based on the exerciser’s efforts, which are inspired by prompts such as “punch and move” and “throw it.” This true battle of strength and power is guaranteed to invigorate!
- 30:30 Interval – This signature Octane Fitness program boosts cardiovascular performance and stamina of beginners to elite athletes by requiring work at maximum intensity for 30 seconds and recovery for 30 seconds; then it repeats the interval cycle for the duration of the session. It also measures heart rate recovery, which is a powerful indicator of fitness level, so use it periodically to stay motivated and track improvements over time.
This is only a few of today’s cool programs! Stay Fueled.