Most people who use elliptical trainers depend on them to give them a full body workout, Granted they do have the ability to work both the upper and lower body if used properly, One thing they do not do is build strength and bone mass that many people need to maintain good fitness, Elliptical trainers are excellent in protecting joints while giving a great aerobic workout,
If you are a free weight lifter or a martial arts enthusiast you have probably developed a regular routine of stretching and warming up that protects your joints and muscle during your workout session. As you get older you start to lose some of you flexibility and your warm ups and stretching take longer and in some cases can be painful. Some of us have begun to use treadmills and steppers to help in the overall body warm ups. Even more recently we have begun to use the elliptical trainers in our gym as part of our pre-workout warm-ups.
Elliptical trainers are great for warming up the upper body before using heavy free weights. They are also great on days when the weather is cold and you need to do extra warm-ups, The goal is to get warm without wasting energy in aerobic exercise, Normally an elliptical trainer will give a good warm-up in less than 10 minutes, You will still need to do your stretching exercises especially if you are doing heavy benching and squats,
In an effort to reduce injuries our Tai Kwon Do instructors recently added two Nautilus elliptical trainers to our dojang. They gave a demo of how the elliptical trainer routines helped give a no impact warm-up. Our black belt class soon was using the elliptical trainers before every class. Now if you want to warm up prior to class you should get there at least an hour early to have access to one of the elliptical trainers.
Initially it appears that using the elliptical trainers is helping reduce injuries, Again you still have to complete your forms and stretching prior to conducting sparring, bag and pad work. As a result of the demand for elliptical trainer time the dojang is acquiring 3 additional Reebok elliptical trainers. If you are like most experienced martial artists you have several old injuries that require special attention during warm-ups. We feel the elliptical trainers really shine in keeping these areas warm and loose.
Elliptical trainers do give and excellent upper and lower body aerobic workouts, At least 3 days a week should be dedicated to aerobic cross training, An additional benefit of using elliptical trainers is there ability to give a full body warm-up prior to intense free weight exercise routines. Elliptical trainers due to their low joint impact are also an excellent way to warm up joints that may have been damaged by previous injuries. Preventing and reducing injuries is key to maintaining life long fitness. The use of elliptical trainers may help in this endeavor.