* Prices may differ from that shown
Elliptical trainers are better known as cross trainers and are now the main stay and most popular bits of kit in gyms all over the world. The main reason they are so popular is really because of their functionality.
The elliptical trainer is beneficial for a number of different reasons
1) They are an intermediate between a running machine and a bike whilst having the same levels of exertion
2) They provide both an upper body and lower body cardiovascular (heart and lungs) workout. On harder settings they have an increased toning effect
3) They provide a low impact workout, being kinder to your joints than something like running
4) If you just use your legs (take hands off) they provide an excellent work-out for the core muscles because you need to hold yourself in a state on constant tension to keep yourself balanced
5) The exercise is self powered, but the level of resistance is controlled by the onboard computer
It is thought that the elliptical trainer is one of the best pieces of equipment designed for weight loss and burning calories. The main reason for this is because you are working both the upper and lower half of the body, thus, stimulating a larger number of muscle groups. Infact, an elliptical trainer in nearly all tests carried out has been shown to be as effective as running on a treadmill, however the perceived rate of exertion is much lower (i.e you don?t feel like your working as hard but you are!).
The elliptical trainer hits nearly all of the major muscle group in the body.
Upper: Bicep, Tricep (Arms), Deltoid (Shoulders), Trapezius and lats (Back)
Middle: Abdominals and obliques
Lower: quads and hamstrings (Upper leg) Gastrocnemius (Calfs) Gluteus (Bottom)
Because of the low impact nature of the exercise, it is joint friendly and will have a toning effect rather than muscular building (so don?t worry ladies!)
York X302 Diamond Elliptical Trainer
Ok so I bought this piece of kit for home use, as I was sick of turning up to the gym and not being able to get onto the kit that I wanted! I will start by saying this is not the cheapest version of these types of machines, but I?ll justify the price too you?..hopefully. I choose York because in my opinion (and I used to sell the stuff!) along with Kettler, they make some of the best and most robust home gym equipment.
Price: £400- £800 Strangely there is a huge difference depending where you go. I actually paid £500 for mine and still feel its good value. But Ebay (as usual) seems to be the best place to get a good deal and I?ve seen this sold at £380 all be it I think it was second hand, but looked perfect.
So what do you get for your money?
Firstly its quite a good looking piece of kit. You get a real sense of it being robust and stable. This I think is important because if the things wobbling about all over the place, it doesn?t particularly fill you with confidence and also you want something as close to the one?s at the gym as possible. The Diamond definitely has the feel of an expensive piece of kit. It comes with the following features built in:
Resistance Type: Electro Magnetic Silent resistance ensures plenty of variation and scope for growth with the machine as your fitness improves. The electro magnetic resistance changes instantly and offers the smoothest and most consistent resistance available, similar to that found on commercial gym products.
Resistance Levels: 16 gives the user a full and varied choice of resistance levels for all abilities and requirements.
Pulse Sensor: Yes - the integrated hand grip pulse sensors allow you to track your heart rate reading and ensure that no matter what you know what is happening, keeping you in control. Coupled with a chest belt (not included) for precision readings, you are sure to get the perfect reading every time, displayed directly on to the console.
Heart Rate Controlled: Yes - the best way to train and make sure you get the most out of your training to achieve your goals.
Programs: 22 for total individuality and personalisation. Choose from professionally designed programmes designed to help you reach specific goals.
Stride Length: 16" (toe to toe) provides a good workout and a hard workout suitable for any person from 4' 10" up to 6' 6" easily. The larger stride also makes the product feel even smoother and perform like a gym quality cross trainer.
Max user weight: 150kg
Product Weight (Kg): 59.5kg
Warranty: The York x302 Diamond Elliptical comes with a full manufacturers onsite 3 year parts and labour guarantee covering all defects in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Now for those of you who just read that and are thinking I?m not sure what it all means, let me break down what I think are the most important bits.
The resistance type is critical to how the machine feels when you are on it. This model uses electro magnets to control the resistance. This makes it a smooth and quite ride. You can get cheaper models but they are frankly awful to use, not smooth and feel like they will fall apart (and often do!). This alone makes it worth the extra money.
Having 16 levels of resistance is a real bonus. If your quite a competitive trainer, you want to have a piece of equipment that will continually challenge you. There is nothing more annoying (and for that matter a waste of money) to find out that you?ve reached the capacity of the machine so it really becomes redundant. This piece of kit, I guarantee, will be good for the whole of your training!!!!
All kit these days tends to come a pulse sensor, so I don?t see this as a unique feature, but the heart rate control definitely is. Basically you set the desired heart rate you wish to train at and the machine will automatically increase/decrease its resistance to ensure you maintain that level. Why is that important? Well different heart rate levels gain different results in you training. As a generalised rule, you have to be working at 70%+ of your heart rate maximum to improve cardiovascular fitness. For things like fat burning you need to be at 50/60%.
The inbuilt programmes are a real plus because they make your training interesting and focussed. For example they have a number of fat burning programmes that take you through a virtual course, increasing and decreasing the intensity at different stages. These are good fun and in essence, it's a bit like having a trainer with you pushing you along and I quite like that extra dimension.
Funnily enough the next one is for me THE most important and yet surely the most simple to get right. I have used quite a few different home elliptical trainers, and on some they feel?..well lets just say "awkward". They never seem to feel like the ones at the gym. The reason being is the stride that is generated by the machine. The diamond as stated is good for anyone up to 6ft 6inchs (that's me covered comfortably!) and the stride it creates feels comfortable. Not to forced, nice and smooth. It also doesn't hurt my hips which some machines I've used do as they almost force you into positions your body is not comfortable with. This is a huge compliment to the York |Diamond, because although it seems simple, countless company's seem to never get it right!
And so back to the price????.
It is expensive, but in my view definitely worth it. It does what you want it to do and does it well. In my opinion its worth spending the extra because too many of the other cheaper machines WILL leave you disappointed. Besides if you don't like using the equipment, you will not train and that kinda defeats the object!
9/10 and a definite 10 if it was closer to the £350 mark
Hope that all helps,
Kind regards and happy training,
The x302 cross trainer / ergometer represents the pinnacle of quality and performance, with a touch of class thrown in. Everything about it demonstrates your serious attitude to exercise. The electromagnetic drive system is behind the smoothest and most balanced elliptical motion available in the York range, even at the highest resistance settings, and the clear, easy to read LED display provides all the feedback you need for an effective workout. Furthermore, the console is ingeniously mounted onto fully adjustable handle bars which let you adjust the angle of the display, so it'll be at the perfect viewing angle no matter what your height! The solidly constructed frame will take a maximum user weight of 150kg and the large non-slip footplates are fully adjustable to match your own natural stride pattern.