Compact Elliptical: Buying Guide
Compact elliptical machines are designed to emulate the movement of your feet. Nevertheless, these machines exert some resistance to provide a full-body workout. Although all the models follow the same principle, not all work the same way. Today, we'll show you how to choose the best model according to your requirements.
1. Range of Exercises
In this case, the rule is simple. The wider the range of exercises, the better. For that reason, you have to look for a machine that gradually lets you change the resistance level. That way, you can apply more resistance while your muscles and joints become stronger.
Each new resistance level should be a challenge for you. So, it's recommended that you test multiple machines before making a decision. More challenging models have an incline, demanding a little bit more effort.
Above all, the best compact elliptical must adapt to the shape of your body. Each person has a different body shape as well. For that reason, you have to try different models to find the most suitable one for you.
In the case of the handles, they should provide optimal support and be rubber-coated. Multiple hand grips are the best. They let you change the position of your arms while you're training. Likewise, good handles help you keep your torso upright all the time.
The pedals should be placed as close together as possible. If the pedals are too far apart, they’ll generate excessive stress on ankles and joints.
In the case of compact elliptical machines, steel is the best material. The moving parts should be thicker than 1.5 mm so as not to bend or break during use. There shouldn’t be friction between metal parts. So, if you hear unpleasant noises, you should call technical service immediately.
In the same way, the bearings must be solid, completely made of steel. If you see plastic parts on the bearings, it’s better not to buy.
If the mechanism uses wheels to move the pedals, make sure they're sturdy and have a wide footprint. Thin and small wheels tend to wear out too quickly. Moreover, their smaller contact surface makes them prone to derail.
4. Monitor &Control Panel
The images and characters showed on the monitor must be big and clear. That way, there’s less risk of tired eyes. Besides, the characters must be bright to be readable in different light conditions.
Additionally, all the buttons should be large. That way, there’s less chance that your finger misses a button while you're training. Each button must have its corresponding label as well.
Best elliptical machines have pulse sensors on each handle. That way, you get real-time feedback about your heart rate. If you have a weak heart, this data will help you know when to stop or decrease the resistance level.
All kinds of moving machines have dangerous areas. These are known as entrapments and pinch points. These areas exist on compact elliptical machines. Usually they’re around the handles and pedals.
Before purchasing, it’s important to verify which areas are dangerous. If there are too many, it’s better not to buy. Whatever your decision, keep pets and young children away while you're training.
7. Weight Capacity
Before buying, you have to know your own weight. That way, you can choose the right weight capacity for your machine. To guarantee it won't break, make sure the machine can withstand 30% more than your current weight.
It isn’t a good idea to choose a weight capacity equivalent to your body weight. If you do that, the elliptical will always work overloaded.
Finally, when you find the right model, it’s time to look for prices. On the Internet, you can find both new and second-hand alternatives. Choosing a second-hand machine would be a good idea if your budget is less than $200.
In order to save some extra money, it’s convenient to look for different prices. Then choose a slightly cheaper option than your total budget. In this case, choosing the cheapest option wouldn’t be the best idea. You would be risking buying a defective product.
Certainly, having you own compact elliptical machine at home has many benefits. Here's a list with some of them:
A 30-minute workout session on a compact elliptical can help you burn up to 400 calories. It all depends on the resistance level and your body weight. Also, if you burn more calories than you consume in a day, you’ll begin to lose weight.
- Accelerates your heart rate and metabolism
Training on an elliptical helps speed up your heart rate and metabolism. When this happens, your tissues receive more oxygen and your heart becomes stronger. Likewise, toxins are flushed out of your body when you sweat.
- Reduces the impact on your joints
When you use a compact elliptical, your joints suffer less because your feet don't lift off the pedals. Nevertheless, these machines have the same effect of high-impact exercises.
- Helps you strengthen your muscles
Using a compact elliptical machine is a full-body training. As you train, the muscles in your arms, legs, abdomen and back become stronger.
Care & Maintenance Tips
Regular maintenance is necessary to keep your elliptical machine in optimal condition. Here's a list with some maintenance tips:
- Tighten all bolts and nuts. If you don't, the metal parts will begin to rub between each other.
- Clean the surface with a damp cloth and mild soap. The abrasive particles in the dust tend to scratch the surface.
- Periodically adjust the drive belt. Do this if the pedals are loose when the resistance level is high. Make sure to follow the procedure in the instruction manual.
Elliptical Workout Tips
Most of the time, a wrong execution of the exercises is the main cause of injury. If you don't want that to happen to you, follow these workout tips:
- Keep your torso upright and your feet on the pedals at all times.
- Change the incline during your training session.
- Add other types of exercises to your daily routine. For example, use your elliptical for 5 minutes and then pause. Do some push-ups and then get on the elliptical again.
- Train at maximum resistance for 30 seconds. Do it 10-20 minutes after training at your usual resistance level.
It's Time to Wrap Up
As you can see, there are many things you have to consider before choosing the best elliptical for you. Make sure each resistance level is a real challenge for you. If you don't notice any difference when you change the level, you won't gain muscular endurance.
Make sure to check the quality of the materials and the weld. Always choose for steel instead of plastic. Moreover, make sure the machine is safe for you and your loved ones. If you notice too many dangerous areas, it’s better not to buy.
If you carefully follow all our tips, you'll certainly find a good elliptical machine at a good price.
1. Which factors determine stride length?
Ans.In the case of the user, height, body weight and joint stiffness determine the stride length. In the case of the elliptical machine, the pedal configuration does the same.
2. Which are the benefits of elliptical machines?
Ans.Yes. Compact elliptical machines help you strengthen your legs, abdomen, arms and back. Besides, they’re compact, lightweight, and easy to store.
3. Do I need to call a doctor before buying an elliptical trainer?
Ans.Only if the user suffers from:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
4. What is the difference between an elliptical and a stationary bike?
Ans.As the name implies, elliptical machines have an elliptical movement pattern. On the other hand, stationary bikes have a circular movement pattern. Elliptical machines help you strengthen different muscles on your upper and lower body while stationary bikes are better for burning calories and losing weight.
5. Can an elliptical help me lose belly fat?
Ans. Yes, but you need reduce your calorie consumption to see real results.
6. How do I protect the floor from scratching under my elliptical?
Ans.Placing a rubber mat under your elliptical machine will keep your floor protected.
7. Which one’s better - Elliptical or Stepper?
The elliptical is better because it works more muscles than a stepper. While the stepper only focus on the lower body, the elliptical machine works upper and lower body. Also, you burn more calories with an elliptical machine than with a stepper.