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So even if your primary mode of cardio exercise is the elliptical, you'll want to beat the boredom and the workout plateaus by incorporating some of these other machines and cardio options into your routine.
Here are the pros and cons of each of the alternatives. As another low-impact cardio machine, the stationary bike also allows you to sit while you workout, helping you maintain your balance and making it ideal for those with joint or back pain.
But while you can adjust the resistance, you can't adjust incline or use the handle bars as you would in an elliptical. Taking your bike outdoors has the advantage of real-world challenges that you can't control like you do at the gym.
There are hills and obstacles to take on, plus you have the added core stability challenge to make sure you stay on the bike. And overall, cycling is fairly low-impact. But again, beginners or those with joint issues should favor the elliptical, at least at first. Though the elliptical is great for beginners because your body weight is fully supported by the machine, the treadmill has the potential to scorch more calories for advanced runners, depending on your speed and incline.
Seasoned runners will likely favor the treadmill, only mixing in the elliptical for cross-training. And because your body weight isn't supported on a treadmill, you'll get a higher-impact workout and build more bone density. However, the treadmill is solely a lower-body workout, while the elliptical features an upper-body component. Those who want a full-body cardio workout or those with joint issues should opt for the elliptical.
While the elliptical does mimic some of the movements of running in a more low-impact manner, running outdoors gives your muscles especially your glutes, quads and calves more of a challenge, as you're not plodding along on a machine.
Plus, it means you're not tied to the gym. Unfortunately, it can be taxing on your ankles, knees and hips, so if you have injuries or weaknesses in any of these areas, stick to the elliptical. As long as you don't lean too heavily on the hand rails of the stair stepper, this machine can provide a great lower-body workout, targeting the glutes and quads even more than the elliptical.
But like most other cardio options, the elliptical is still your best bet for the lowest-impact workout. But if your goal is fat loss, the question isn't which machine will work best, it's which machine you'll work best on.
Pick the option that you feel you can do the most fat-burning intervals on. Or see below for fat-burning elliptical workouts. First, there are a few things you should keep in mind during every elliptical workout. Stand tall with correct posture, your head over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. These machines pack a little less punch on the joints, and either can be a good alternative to the treadmill, says Vukovich.
Because you use them in a standing position, you're using lots of muscle mass, so the calorie burn rate is still pretty high.
Elliptical machines with arm components can further increase the numbers of calories you burn, says Stamford. All our experts agree that the stationary bike offers the workout with the least impact on the joints. People with knee pain are often steered toward these bikes, since the impact of body weight is not a concern as it is on a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stair stepper. But to avoid knee strain, you must make sure the bike is adjusted to fit your body, Vukovich says. Most people sit too low, meaning their knees flex too much as they pedal.
This can put too much pressure on the knee and result in soreness, warn Vukovich. The stationary bike is a less intense calorie-burner than some of the other machines. You'll need to pedal four miles to burn calories, says Alexander. Rowers are more advanced cardiovascular machines.
Because you must push with the legs while you pull with the arms, rowers require coordination. They also you require you to engage your core abdominal muscles to support and protect your back. Because they use so many muscle groups, rowers burn lots of calories. But this machine has several red flags for a beginning or unfit exerciser.
Extra weight often comes with back pain , and this is not a machine you want to use if you have back issues, he says. Choose a machine that feels right. If impact is a problem, the stationary bicycle may be a better choice than the treadmill. More muscle use equals more calorie burn.
The basic rule of thumb is that the machine that exercises the greatest muscle mass burns the most calories. There's a flip side of that coin, too: Verified - Used 17 Times in the Last Month. Free Shaker Bottle with any order. Verified - Used 24 Times in the Last Month. Lose weight and manage your diabetes without sacrificing flavor with the Nutrisystem D diabetic program, which promotes weight loss and stabilizes blood sugar.
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