Rock On With The Elliptical Machine

I love the elliptical machine. Let me be very clear, the guy (me) who loves everything from lifting rocks overhead to deep back squats with a barbell loves the elliptical machine. Because the elliptical machine is a safe, sensible and solid way of getting in a good cardio workout!

Now, you’ve heard me talk about the effectiveness of functional exercises, and arguably working out with the elliptical machine isn’t that functional because your body doesn’t naturally climb, run or walk the way you move using an elliptical machine. However, if your objective is to work out your cardiovascular system, I believe that the elliptical machine can offer you an effective workout.      

Muscles worked using the elliptical machine:
  • cardiovascular system
  • hips/glutes
  • abs
  • legs
  • upper body
Benefits of using the elliptical machine:
  • improved aerobic capacity
  • low impact exercise
  • full body workout
  • beginner friendly

My use of the elliptical came out of necessity, years ago when I served in the United States Navy and lived aboard a warship. One of the challenges of living on a ship and being out to sea is getting in a solid cardio workout. This was important, because twice a year the Navy conducted a Physical Fitness Assessments on all service members. To stay in shape and prepare for the assessment I had to utilize what was available on my ship, which was often elliptical machines. Granted, not my first choice for cardio back then, but after a couple of years of using them I realized how beneficial they are for working out not just your cardiovascular system but your whole body without too much impact.

Presently, the majority of my workouts are tough on my body. From multiple strength training sessions per week to more aggressive forms of cardio like swimming laps and barefoot jogging. However, I like to incorporate the elliptical into my fitness routine, primarily as an active recovery workout, but also as a viable way to gently work out my cardiovascular system.

At the end of the day, as I’ve mentioned before –  the best way to workout, is finding safe exercises that you love to do. Instead of looking at the elliptical machine in comparison to other forms of cardio like swimming, biking or jogging, try it out for its own merit. If you like it, then rest assured that it’s a great way to workout and include it in your current fitness routine.

If you have any questions about the elliptical machine or suggestions, please feel free to comment here and as always thank you for reading and cheers to your good health!  

David Smith

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