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Proper form on the Elliptical Machine

You’ve probably all tried the elliptical machine. It’s low impact, great on your knees, and can burn a lot of calories (big muscle groups= big calorie burn). But are you performing it correctly? I would say 9/10 people I’ve seen on the elliptical perform it incorrectly.


Here are 2 words to instantly correct your form:

No bouncing.

Now you’re thinking: I don’t bounce, do I?

If you’ve never been told that, odds are, you probably bounce. Think about it- most of the exercises people perform at the gym are ones they’ve learned from watching others, tried to mimic from a magazine, or are some variation of the free personal training session they received when they signed up for the gym. Very few had a tutorial on the elliptical, or any cardio machine for that matter.

What does it look like when you bounce on the elliptical?

*Just look at people’s heads next time you look over at the ellipticals. Your head should stay pretty close to the same level throughout the entire exercise.

 I think about it like this- if you were in a room with a really low ceiling, those people would be hitting their heads each time they straightened one leg. Keep it at a constant level, with only your legs moving.

*Sit low in the exercise- no need to straighten one leg, then the other(this is why you bounce). Both knees are bent throughout the ENTIRE movement. When I say sit low- Think of it like a demi (small) squat.

*Weight in the heels, not your toes. Slightly lift up your toes periodically to make sure your weight is in your heels. Works that backside much more!

*Test- you should be able to drink a Nalgene bottle without spilling it all over yourself! For anyone trying to get a drink of water while bouncing- good luck! Even if you’re performing it correctly, you’ll need to slow down to get a drink, but it is possible when you’re not bouncing! Careful with this one though :)

Why should we constantly work on perfecting form?

Proper form means we work the muscles the exercise was intended to work out- not recruiting other muscle groups to take the load off the main group we want to work! It also means we maximize the calorie burn for that particular exercise (sign me up!).

Try the elliptical today with no bouncing. You now know something the majority of people at the gym do not know, and you’re becoming an expert in health! You’ll have to bite your tongue next time you see people performing it incorrectly!

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