I went to go to the gym three times a week in college and exclusively used the elliptical. Turns out, I wasn’t getting much of a workout. It actually makes sense now that I think about it. I specifically chose the elliptical because it seemed like the easiest machine to use, and I assumed I was actually exercising because it required some movement. You guys, I was wrong.
It’s no surprise that the elliptical actually doesn’t do anything for you. I mean, think about the motion. Your legs are moving back and forth, but not to the same extent as they would running or even walking. They’re basically gliding with the help of the machine, so you don’t have to put in much effort. Edward Rush, owner and operator of INFighting Shape, tells Thrillist, “It’s almost impossible to get a good aerobic workout on an elliptical machine, and what’s even more ironic is that many people turn to the elliptical machine to gain some relief from their aching knees. Too often, the pain in their knees is coming from having bad form when performing squats, or from running incorrectly.” So the elliptical can even make bad knees worse! Not only are you not challenging yourself with an intense workout, but you can also be doing harm to your body.
For an elliptical alternative, try the rowing machine. Christian Fox, certified Starting Strength coach and coach at Crossfit South Brooklyn, explains to Shape, “Rowing incorporates a lot of muscle mass into the movement, and with a little technique can provide a wallop of a workout.” He recommends a 250-meter sprint at max effort if you’re looking to really break a sweat and reach those #bodygoals.
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