Serious runners tend to be very particular about their workouts, which is why many scoff at the idea of using an elliptical machine as part of their regular routine. But ellipticals can actually be very effective in helping to recover from injury, providing a whole body workout and allowing you to boost your running speed and increase endurance by adding resistance. With this in mind, it may be helpful to consider the best ellipticals for runners.
While all ellipticals combine the motions of cross-country skiing, running and stair climbing, not every elliptical will be able to provide the kind of workout that serious runners want. When it comes to getting the most out of your elliptical, quality certainly matters. You’ll want a good, sturdy machine that doesn’t contain too many plastic parts so that it can stand up to rugged use. Also, though you can get ellipticals in either front, center or rear drive, runners usually opt for rear drive models that allow for a more natural positioning of the body.
Beyond durability and design, there are other qualities to look for in the best ellipticals for runners. Primary among these is resistance. Runners like to have at least 20 levels of resistance so that they can vary their workout to mimic different types of terrain. Another feature that adds to resistance is a flywheel of at least 25 pounds. This can give you the maximum challenge while continuing to perform smoothly. With adjustable resistance you can allow for low impact workouts if you are rehabbing an injury or higher settings to help you firm, tone and strengthen muscles.
Stride is also extremely important when it comes to getting a healthy workout. The best ellipticals for runners can adjust to accommodate different users or simply to give an individual user some variation in his routine. Again, this can help to mimic workouts on different types of terrain or using different speeds in order to engage various groups of muscles and boost your workout. Some machines combine stride variations with incline settings, allowing you to mimic the feel of running uphill or at full speed.
While ellipticals typically focus on the lower body, most also allow for working out the arms by including moving arm bars. This can be an important feature for runners, who prefer an elliptical that allows them to achieve the same kind of synchronized, swinging arm movement that you use naturally while running. Not only is this more comfortable, it allows for a full body workout, which is important to serious runners. In most cases, runners tend to look for handlebars that synchronize naturally with pedal movement for a more unified workout.
Aside from these main features, other things to look for in the best ellipticals for runners include a wireless heart rate monitor to allow you to track pulse readings. Some machines even have the ability to automatically adjust routines in order to help you achieve maximum heart rate. At the same time, wireless capabilities can help you keep track of your data so that you can stay on top of your results and some even feature video workouts that can help you feel as if you are out on the road.
Though choosing an elliptical is a very personal thing, these tips can give you an idea of what to look for so that you can determine the best ellipticals for your training needs. That way, whether you are a weekend jogger or a serious competitive runner, you can be sure to get the most out of your elliptical workout and help improve your endurance.