With time at a premium, everyone wants to get the most bang for their buck during workouts. Therefore, the most efficient exercise sessions challenge the entire body, and not just the legs. That’s not to say that going for a run or pedaling a bike aren’t valuable regimens. Any exercise is always better than none at all. But if you can address the whole body all at once during a session, you can save time and be more productive in terms of conditioning and calorie burn.
Elliptical machines that include moving handlebars are great ways to exercise both the lower and upper body during cardio. While the legs typically are stronger and account for much of the work, you can benefit from upper-body workouts on an elliptical as well. By focusing on the upper body and emphasizing the arm movements, you can effectively strengthen and tone your top half, which includes your pecs, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps.
Consider the following when aiming for the most effective upper-body workouts on an elliptical, whether you’re using a standing or seated version:
- Stand up straight. Many of us have poor posture, so you have to really focus on lifting the chest, keeping the back straight and drawing the shoulders down and back. This will help make upper-body workouts on an elliptical more effective.
- Focus on your chest, back and arms. Sad but true: it’s easy to drive the elliptical mainly with the legs and let the upper body simply go along for the ride. Don’t let this be you! Concentrate on fully pushing and pulling with the arms with each pedal stroke so that you benefit your top half. Visualize the muscles working and feel the contractions.
- Vary and relax your grip. Don’t death-grip the handlebars, or you’ll waste valuable energy. Hold on loosely, but enough that you are safely working with a full range of motion. Octane Fitness ellipticals feature MultiGrip handlebars so you can change your grip from overhand to underhand, higher to lower, wide to narrow and more. Take advantage of this variety to challenge the upper body differently.
- Add resistance. Greater resistance means your upper body has to work harder to keep moving.
- Set a pace target. Watch your strides per minute and aim to stick to a specific range so that you are challenged. This keeps you from going on auto pilot when you are working out while also catching up on your favorite TV shows.
- Move backwards. You’ll engage your upper body differently when moving forward and in reverse. Mix it up during workouts.
- Work one arm at a time. If you can balance, rest one arm on the stationary handlebars and actively work the other for a set interval; then switch.
- Try different workouts. Some preprogramed routines incorporate the upper body more than others, so take on various regimens.
- Do Workout Boosters – Octane ellipticals include Workout Boosters for HIIT – enjoy ArmBlaster on standing ellipticals and Chest Press on the xRide for a rigorous upper-body challenge.
- Combine cardio and strength – With Octane’s exclusive CROSS CiRCUIT routine, you can customize sessions to include intervals of cardio and strength training exercises like push-ups, rows, lateral raises, biceps curls and triceps kickbacks. Change up routines and equipment such as Octane’s Powerbands, dumbbells, stability balls and more. Get the most out of every minute!
- Train smarter – Octane’s free SmartLink app creates customized workout programs based on your goals, with valuable coaching tips and instructional videos. Take advantage of this virtual personal trainer for upper body workouts on the elliptical!
With using these tips above, you can get the arms you always wanted! Stay Fueled.