How I Use Elliptical Workouts as a Cardio Exercise to Burn Body Fat While Getting a Great Abs Workout
Nov 9th, 2011
Elliptical workouts are my absolute favorite form of cardiovascular exercise, but it wasn’t always this way. For years my cardio workouts consisted of running on a treadmill or running around my neighborhood.
Over time running five or more days per week started taking its toll on my joints as my ankles and knees began to ache after every run.
My post-workout joint pain eventually became bothersome enough to force me to look for an alternative method of cardiovascular exercise that wouldn’t be so problematic for my joints.
I began using an elliptical machine at my local gym and was immediately surprised at how comfortable elliptical workouts were on my knees.
After my first few 30 minute workouts on an elliptical machine, with absolutely no post workout discomfort, I was convinced that the comfort of elliptical cardio workouts was enough to make them my preferred fat loss workout.
I also found it easier to maintain my target fat burning heart rate during my elliptical cardio workouts than when I was running because elliptical workouts engage the muscles of the legs and the arms, which actually promotes a greater rise in heart rate at relatively lower levels of intensity than running, which primarily relies on muscles in the legs only.
Using Elliptical Exercise as a Great Abs Workout
I have now been using elliptical workouts as my primary fat burning exercise for over 3 years and have discovered a trick that I use while performing my elliptical workouts that enables me to get a great abs workout while burning body fat.
This trick has turned my elliptical workouts into what I believe to be the best way to exercise to burn belly fat.
While doing my elliptical training, I maintain a constant squeeze in my abdominal muscles that is strong enough to contract and tighten my abs the entire time I am doing my elliptical workouts, without squeezing so hard that it would become difficult to breathe.
During the last 2 or 3 minutes of my 30 minute elliptical workouts, I will contract my ab muscles as tight as I can, for as long as possible, taking small breaks when I can no longer hold my abs perfectly tight any more.
I have noticed much faster fat burning results and have achieved improved abdominal definition since starting to use this technique while doing my elliptical workouts. Not only does this trick provide a great opportunity for developing the abdominal muscles, but it also leads to hundreds of additional calories being burned each week from the 30 minutes of constant abdominal muscle contraction.
The Treadmill Vs. Elliptical Machine Debate
There is a lot of debate in the fitness community when it comes to comparing elliptical machines and treadmills to determine which is the best cardio workout to burn fat. When performed at the same levels of intensity, most studies have determined that the fat burning benefits of ellipticals and treadmills are similar to one another.
However, it is a difficult task to try to constantly contract your abs while running or jogging.
While running does engage the ab muscles as they work in a supporting role to absorb the shock of the feet impacting the running surface, this does not compare to the abdominal stimulation provided by a full 30 minute workout on an elliptical machine using the abdominal contraction technique I use as described above.
The ability to perform a fat burning cardio workout, while getting in a great ab workout at the same time, is why I am convinced that elliptical machine workouts are the best fat burning workouts that can be performed – period.
Avoid Cheap Elliptical Machines!
Once I became convinced that elliptical workouts were the best cardio to burn fat, I decided to look into purchasing an elliptical machine to keep in my basement to save me from having to drive to and from the gym for my cardio workouts. While comparing different models of home elliptical machines I learned a lot about what to look for when buying a home elliptical machine.
The first thing I will warn you against is buying any cheap elliptical machines. It may seem fiscally wise to try and bargain shop, but I can tell you that buying a cheap elliptical trainer will be a waste of your money. I tried many of the “more affordable” models of elliptical machines and found the following flaws to be common among virtually all of the lower cost elliptical options:
- Limited Range of Motion
- Very Few Options for Controlling Resistance
- Lightweight and Unsturdy
I know several people who have purchased cheap elliptical machines, thinking they were getting a great deal, only to never use them because they couldn’t stand the shortness of their strides and the shaking of the unit as they were doing their elliptical workouts.
If you are serious about controlling your body fat levels you will want to buy an elliptical machine that is comfortable and sturdy so you will enjoy using it – otherwise it will do nothing more than collect dust and you will just be wasting your money.
Best Home Elliptical Machine
In my search for a quality home elliptical machine I found that there are very few residential models of ellipticals that compare to the commercial models you will find at any quality gym or health club. Because it was so difficult to find a good home elliptical, I actually started considering purchasing an expensive commercial model to make sure I had a quality elliptical machine that I would enjoy using for a long time.
Luckily, I found a high quality home elliptical that was considerably less expensive than any of the commercial models I was considering purchasing. I actually contacted a fitness expert and friend of mine, Francesco Castano, and asked if he had any recommendations for a home elliptical. He recommended the Body Solid E7 Endurance elliptical machine.
Francesco has provided me with a ton of great muscle building and fat loss advice over the years, so I knew I could trust his recommendation. A few days later I purchased the E7 Endurance elliptical. After two years, and hundreds of elliptical workouts, I couldn’t be happier with it.
The E7 has an 18.5″ stride distance, a full range of resistances and hardly moves while you are using it – even when doing fast paced high intensity training workouts.
If you are considering purchasing a home elliptical, I strongly suggest checking out the E7 Endurance by Body Solid. It is going to cost a little more than any of the cheap elliptical machines you will find, but the difference in quality makes it well worth the additional investment.
Elliptical Workouts Are the Best Cardio Workouts
I truly believe that elliptical workouts, when the techniques I have shared in this posting are applied, are the best fat burning cardio workouts for anyone looking to lower their body fat levels and burn belly fat fast. Elliptical workouts are the only form of fat burning cardio that I use and my personal physical transformation can attest to the effectiveness of properly performed elliptical workouts.
Always remember that fat burning cardio workouts will only be effective for producing dramatic fat loss results when used in conjunction with a fat loss nutrition plan.
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I hope that you have benefited from this posting and that it will help you to use elliptical workouts to simultaneously burn body fat and develop your ab muscles . Be sure to check out the rest of RippedOut.com for more great information to help you build muscle, burn fat and learn how to get ripped.