Is the Elliptical Machine the Key to Getting “Lean”?

What are the visions that come to mind when you think of a person that is “lean”? I think of the body of a dancer. Someone who is lithe, long and lean, with little fat on their body, and who is muscular without being bulky. This body type is very much a desirable object of affection for many women, and women try to achieve this body type by exercising in ways that will make them lean, not bulk them up.

I’ve noticed that when I do a lot of running, my muscles tend to get bulky, especially my calves and my quadriceps, both of which tend to bulk on me fairly quickly.

While I enjoyed the extra muscle mass due to weight training and running, I wanted to find something that would stretch my muscles out, and instead of really working my quads and calves hard and not letting them get that long, lean look, I wanted something that would get me the same cardio workout without bulking me up.

I finally found that perfect cardivascular workout that will help me “stretch out” in the elliptical machine. I purchased a Horizon elliptical, which I feel is one of the most superior brands in fitness equipment, and let’s just say it’s getting a lot of use in my house.

I’ve noticed since regularly doing my cardio fitness routine on the elliptical that my muscles do not seem to bulk up as much, and that I do not get as sore as I did with running, since the elliptical provides the best of both worlds.

What I mean is it offers a great workout for your cardiovascularly, while it also is soft on your joints and will not easily let your muscles bulk up unless you have it on a very high resistance setting that tends to work your bigger leg muscles harder. On my elliptical, I will go forward for about ten minutes, then alternate going backwards to help tone and strengthen my buttocks area.

I find that it gives a great balances and changes up my muscle groups a little more so that it evens out my muscle workout a little more, and helps me build strength in different ways rather than just going forward the whole time. I also feel it firms my butt well.

Finding an elliptical can be tricky. If you want to get an elliptical machine but are not looking to spend a lot of money, beware. The cheaper elliptical machines are cheaper for a reason.

A low end model can feel rickety when you’re working out on it, and can often not have the settings you would like so that you can change up your workout without constantly working your muscles at the same intensity every time.

You will want to get an elliptical machine that has a nice flow to it, in other words, it should have a smooth flow of motion. Some of the lower end models almost tend to feel like they are not moving easily, and this can put more pressure on your joints and make you want to get off as fast as possible.

Look at the amount of programs it has, and the display. Do you like the look and feel of the machine? Also, you want one with comfortable enough hand grips, and one with a large enough foot rest so that you don’t feel like you’re going to fall off of it all the time.

I’ve been on my fair share of low end models, and they really defeat the purpose, because they’re so uncomfortable to operate, that you find yourself wishing for the workout to be over quickly. When I bought the higher end Horizon model, I instantly loved it.

It was easy to move, had a nice display that also offered a heart monitor option, and several resistanced settings as well as fat burning and cardio sessions for you to choose from so you don’t get bored and can train your muscles to reshape themselves.

I’ve noticed that my muscles do seem longer and leaner since I’ve been regularly using the elliptical, and wouldn’t give this great piece of workout machinery up for anything. If you’re looking for what I call the yoga and pilates of cardiovascular workouts, then the elliptical is your answer!