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The low impact nature of elliptical trainers allows people of all exercise levels to enjoy the benefits of regular exercise. Although elliptical trainers reduce impact injuries on your leg joints, you still use muscle power during your workout. This can lead to muscle injuries. Stretching increases flexibility, and targeting the correct muscle groups to stretch is essential for ensuring your safety while exercising on an elliptical trainer.
Elliptical Trainer and Your Muscles
Elliptical machines use your muscle power for movement. This provides a thorough workout but increases the stress on your calves, hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps. Most elliptical machines also use arm bars that work your arm, chest and shoulder muscles. Since the majority of your main muscle groups work during a session on the elliptical trainer, stretch all of them to reduce injury in these areas.
Warming up before exercise increases blood flow through your muscles, increases the flexibility of tendons and ligaments throughout the body and dilates your blood vessels. All these factors ensure you receive the greatest benefit from your stretching routine. California State University kinesiology professor, Duane Knudson, says вЂњIt's DiscouragingвЂќ when he sees athletes warming up incorrectly. Slow jogs, jumping jacks or using your elliptical machine on a low setting are efficient methods of warming up your muscles.
Static stretches require holding a pose for 30 seconds or more. You will feel the pull from the stretches immediately, and although bouncing seems like a good idea, you must avoid the urge. Bouncing could injure the muscle, thus delaying your exercise progress. Instead, stretch to the point you feel it in the muscle and stop. A study performed by the University of Nevada has shown evidence of reduced muscle power after performing static stretches, but an elliptical machine does not require large amounts of power as much as it requires endurance.
Dynamic stretches lengthen muscles using repetitive movements without holding any particular pose. The constant movement associated with dynamic stretching increases muscle flexibility without weakening them, unlike static stretches. Dynamic stretches including squats and lunges work the muscles of your legs, glutes and lower back. Pushups and mountain climbers are two exercises that target both the upper and lower muscle groups you will use during a workout on an elliptical machine.