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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Elliptical Trainer: Proper Use

    What is the proper use for an elliptical trainer?

    I have read that going backwards is hard on the knees. Should I use a lower resistance when reversing motion?

    When I take a stride, I have a tendency to raise my heels as the pedal comes up. Should I resist that?

    What cadence is appropriate as a beginner (assuming the same resistance level)? 60 RPM, 70 RPM, etc.

    Thanks for the advice.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    United States

    Going Backwards on an Elliptical Machine

    That is very interesting. I have never heard that going backwards on an elliptical machine caused knee problems. Going in just changes up the muscle groups you are working and going backwards helps change up the routine and prevents your feet from going numb (for those who have that problem).

    You should go as fast or slow, and at as much resistance as you feel comfortable. It is important to make sure you have the correct posture on a machine too. That could be why some people experience knee strain but I love to go backwards on an elliptical machine and have never had a problem. I don't tend to lower the resistance, if that helps, but I usually exercise to random interval programs so it changes often. If you are having problems you can't correct maybe it is best if you do not. Good luck to you.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    what I have noticed

    I have been using an elliptical for about a year now. I use a program that varies the resistance and the speed that I should go. This seems to work pretty good. I think the goal to aim for is to increase my heart rate to a cardio stage based on my age and weight. I have noticed two things about using the elliptical. First, if I lean backwards, I work my glutes more, if I lean forward I work my thighs more. Second, when I increase the resistance I build more strength in the leg muscles even though I am going slower to maintain a cardio heart rate.

    Didn't know about going backwards helps with numb feet. I have that problem. does anyone know why it happens.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    United States
    Quote Originally Posted by vonbeck2 View Post
    Didn't know about going backwards helps with numb feet. I have that problem. does anyone know why it happens.
    Because elliptical machines are low impact, you don't actually move your feet very much. Even though you are exercising, your feet stay in one position, and after long periods of time you start to feel some sense of numbness. Articulating foot pedals are supposed to help but I think it still tough to avoid if you don't consciously remember to move your feet around. Wiggling your toes, and changing where you are putting all your pressure (rocking back and forth from heal to toe) and even changing up your movement to go in reverse, can help prevent this. It's best to try to remember to get some movement in your feet before the numbness sets in.

    I used to have numb feet on my Octane Fitness elliptical machine after about 12 minutes but I'm pretty good about using these tricks to prevent it and can get through a 60 minute workout without and numbness in my feet.

    If that doesn't work, maybe the elliptical machine isn't a good fit for you.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    i spend about 60mins on the cross trainer and l find that l need to have my shoe laces very lose otherwise my feet go numb i also change my foot position regularly to stop the numbness. i also get hot pain on bottom on feet whcih can also be stopped if you move your feet

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I would like to put my 2 cents in to the question: Rear drive vs. front drive - Dose it matter?

    It's all about feel, no matter where the drive is. What does matter is the overall size and the consumer's room space constraints since many rear-drive ellipticals (the ones with the mechanism in the back covered by a large shroud) can be quite demanding of space. Ellipticals with a front drive – the foot platforms seem to just hang out from the shroud under the console – can take less space, but it's also important that customers are aware of the moving platforms can endanger small kids or animals if they get too close when someone is on the elliptical working out. That risk can be minimized simply by telling the consumer to place the elliptical appropriately in the room so a pet or child cannot slip behind a user without his or her knowledge.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Love the Eliptical

    My husband bought gym memberships about a month ago and I quickly found a new friend in the Eliptical Trainer and have used it extensively over the past month and will continue to do so. I was searching for foot position information and ran across this thread. Great comments related to positioning and foot numbness. This was also an issue for me early days on the machine. One website I found discussed tight shoes as a possible issue, and I did find that by loosening my shoes that helped partially. At one point I even removed the liners and that was even better. I use the lowest profile athletic shoes I can find versus heavily padded (crowded) shoes, as the feet stay relatively un-engaged during my 60 minute work-out. As others have mentioned, I have also found it really helps to alternate forward and backward training, and the backward training has really worked additional muscle groups and this is nice. I also agree that by leaning back into the heels a bit from time to time it takes the pressure off the toes. I now regularly wiggle my toes, and even slowly pick up my feet during a few of the rotations (moving very slowly...) almost like marching a couple of steps to move my feet. When I change to reverse movement I also shake/wiggle my feet a bit from side to side. I have noticed the numbness is now very rare, 4 weeks into the traning so perhaps I'm getting the hang of it. Just because I find the machine so useful, I'll mention that I found a few great vidoes on You Tube that show additional movements to enhance the further engage the glutes. Standing up on the toes a bit is a great workout for the calves, but doing this for long periods will bring on the numb feet. Mixing it up seems to be the best solution for me. Happy exercising and good luck. P.S. Probably the best overall info I've received about the Eliptical was on a training video online where a guy just said to get comfortable with the machine and relax into it a little bit and have a go at moving around--finding the best foot position for yourself and to avoid being too robotic on the machine--it's okay to keep your form for safety, but also to bend up and down a little, get into your workout and make the machine work for you instead of the other way around. That advice really helped me and now I feel comfortable to really get into my 60 minute workout.

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