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howtouseellipticalmachineMaximizing Elliptical Machine Workouts – A variety of equipment is available for cardiovascular workouts, but elliptical machines offer low-impact, total-body exercise that can be very effective. While you can just jump on and go, but it’s best to know how to use an elliptical machine properly to get the most out of your sweat sessions.

Generally, there isn’t much to adjust, other than selecting your workout, resistance level, stride length (on some units) and target heart rate (again, on some). You’ll program the unit via the console, where you can typically pick a “Quick Start” option and get going immediately, manually changing resistance along the way and simply stopping when you are finished.

But there’s a lot more to try with ellipticals. Your workout feedback, such as calories burned, average heart rate, etc. will be more accurate if you input personal information, including your weight, age and desired heart rate range (if you know it).

And pre-programmed workouts add variety and keep you from going on auto-pilot while you exercise. When you’re learning how to use an elliptical machine – whether at a health club or at home – it’s definitely worth checking out some of these workouts.

Heart rate interactive programs are great if you wear a chest strap or if the machine has hand sensors; these routines automatically adjust resistance to keep you in the specified zone, which can vary depending on your age and your desired intensity level. These are great customized interval programs that can drive results.

Also, Octane Fitness offers goal programs like 350 calories and 10K that keep you moving until you accomplish these goals. Stride length programs, including PowerWalk and Dual Direction, add challenge by utilizing different stride lengths and directions. And Octane’s CROSS CiRCUIT is the ultimate, combining cardio intervals with strength-training exercises on the floor adjacent to the machine for incredible efficiency and effectiveness.

There’s nothing wrong with Quick Start or a Manual program once in a while, but you’ll optimize cross training benefits by using different programs. Make sure you know how to use an elliptical machine wisely for the greatest benefits.