Running is a beneficial exercise which works excellent on the lower body, whether you are running on a road, on the treadmill, etc. It may be a little stressful on the knees and joints sometimes, but it is an enjoyable experience. It is critical to include running in your daily schedule but at the same time.
It is also essential to take care of your joints. This is possible with the help of an Elliptical Trainer. Cross-training with an elliptical trainer helps you safeguard your bones and also build muscles. It enhances your running experience if you combine your running routine with cross-training.
Let me tell you first what exactly is an elliptical machine. This machine makes you move your feet and legs in an oval (elliptical) motion. It is a stationary bike which replicates the action of running, climbing up the stairs, skiing, and cross-country skiing.
All these motions enable good cardiovascular health and do not put stress on your muscles, knees, and joints. And, there are several companies which manufacture the best elliptical bikes.
This machine gives the benefit of running by enhancing your cardio health without putting a strain on your joints as it happens in the running. For example, running on a hill may injure you as well due to the uneven surface and also hurt your knees.
But, you can easily replicate this motion on an elliptical without straining or damaging yourself. Isn’t that great? There are some of the best ellipticals for home use which give you everything you need.
How Elliptical Workout Improve your Running: Let us Find out-
1. Significance: The elliptical trainer gives a low-impact workout in the lower body and is perfect for people who are prone to leg problems while running. This trainer is terrific as it involves the same muscles as running does and is a fantastic alternative to running.
People who are running enthusiasts are thankful for these ellipticals because it mimics running and avoids any injury. Because, due to impact and long-running distance, one can easily hurt his joints and which can be fatal for him.
Thus, an elliptical trainer is highly significant for people who want to run but don’t want any negative impact on muscles or knees. The companies manufacture commercial ellipticals as well as home use ellipticals for people to choose from.
2. Features: Now, it is time to show you the amazing features of an elliptical trainer. It has the following features depending on the model you choose:
- You can change/adjust the level of resistance you want to work on. Choose a low level for a low-impact workout and high level for an intense session.
- Some models come with an inclined ramp which replicates the upward walking/running motion, or hiking. This option provides a variety to your workout as you can choose the incline level you want to work on.
- The pedals of ellipticals work forward and backward, giving a great variety of exercises and working on different set of muscles.
- There are many elliptical models which come with movable handles which you can move back and forth. These moving handles work on your upper body and provide a balance between upper and lower body workout.
- Note that even if you select a machine without handles, you can move your arms like you do while running to give the cross-country skiing effect.
3. Benefits: Runners will benefit a lot from the elliptical trainer. It develops excellent aerobic fitness of the body and gives cardiovascular benefits. It helps in strength building of the legs like running does but does not harm or injure the knees and joints.
The handles of the elliptical machine involve working of the upper body as well, along with the legs. This inclusion of additional muscle mass in the workout gives overall fitness gains to the user.
Using an elliptical cross-trainer is undoubtedly beneficial for you and works towards the global development of the body. You will happy to know that there are also these three types of ellipticals – Front Drive Ellipticals, Rear Drive Ellipticals, and Center Drive Ellipticals.
4. Equal Aerobic Exertion: Running and ellipticals both make use of the same levels of energy and oxygen, but the significant difference is that while running you do what comes your way, but in an elliptical, you have the power to instantly change the incline and resistance levels to have a specific kind of workout.
It gives you the best and works well on both upper and lower body. Similar muscles groups (hips, hamstrings, calves, quads, glutes) get worked up while running and using an elliptical.
But while an elliptical trainer gives rest to the joints whereas running tires them up. So, incorporating running plus cross-training will do wonders to your body.
1.Reduce Impact on Joints by Building Muscle
As said earlier, elliptical trainers work smoothly on joints and do not tire them negatively. When you work on an elliptical trainer daily, the muscles around your joints get strong and help in the prevention of injuries. Cross-training works on the body without impacting joints, giving rest to them.
It also triggers the muscles which do not get targeted when you run. Ellipticals work great to avoid any muscle imbalance which often is the main reason for workout injuries.
It is one single machine which helps in building muscle and does not have an impact on joints. People can also have other cross-training choices like weight training, biking, etc. Make it your daily routine, and you will feel the difference.
Active Recovery from Injury
An injury is a nightmare for people who are running enthusiasts. Resting during an injury for early recovery is imperative. But thanks to elliptical machines which let you work on them during an injury and also stay active.
They keep the blood flowing through the body and enhance fast recovery from any damage. Cross-training replicates the running motion and does not pose an impact on the knees and joints.
Keep Your Feet Neat
When you run, you hit the ground so many times and with a force which is up to four times your body weight. This impact can pose significant injuries to your feet muscles if you do not run correctly and in b. The running shoes are not so cheap, and you need to change them frequently if you are an avid runner.
But, with an elliptical cross-trainer machine, you can increase the life of your running shoes and also give rest to your joints and knees. Ellipticals do not involve thumping and flexing of your feet as it happens in running because your feet are tied to the pedals.
Your bone joints and muscles rest while the other body works. Cross-training also works on balancing the body and makes the feet very strong which is a pre-requisite for running.
Improve Your Form
Running doesn’t mean merely running around, and it involves moving your feet swiftly and quickly. The number of times your feet hit the ground shows your running ability. But that does not mean you overstride and then zap for more energy.
So, keeping that perfect balance of running well and not overdoing at the same time can be difficult at the time, and it may harm your body. But, with an elliptical trainer, you have resistance and inclines to take care of this.
You can carry out gliding elliptical workouts and develop great neuro-muscular patterns over some time. This will enhance your real running strides, make you improved and efficient.
You will master the art of expending less energy and reducing the impact on the body. Also, read the difference between Running and Ellipticals workout.
Increase Strength and Stamina
Runners do not have powerful glutes and strength. But, an elliptical trainer works with inclines and gives a climbing workout. This kind of exercise works on the glute muscles which is not possible while running. Climbing replicates the motion of running uphills, which promotes the leg and core strength.
This practice builds strength and stamina and prepares your body for the better. You can alternate between a climbing workout and form-cadence workout every other week to keep your routine fresh and healthy. This will also help in developing a lot of fitness skills in you.
Prepare/Train Better for Races
Races and marathons involve a lot of running which means more endurance on the part of the runners. They follow a strict schedule of running practice for several months to prepare their bodies for the final day. They have a plan of six days running with one day rest.
They practice long and short runs, alternatively to gain strength and endurance. Now, if these runners can spare their two short runs per week and spend on an elliptical, they will be able to build more endurance and gain more stamina.
Although ellipticals are not perfect for strength building, cross-training is necessary to reduce injuries and also develop other significant muscles which are not built with running, like the glutes.
From the above discussion, it is evident that ellipticals improve running. They have a low impact on the lower legs/feet but at the same time have enough impact which can strengthen and prepare the legs for running. They increase run cadence in runners and builds their stamina.
It avoids muscle imbalance and prevents injuries to the joints. For people hitting their forties and beyond, face muscle wear and tear, but incorporating elliptical workout reduces the muscle wear tear and save the legs for a longer time.
So, the benefits of cross-training must not be ignored, and runners should surely include ellipticals in their routine workouts for an overall developed body.