If you've been considering purchasing an elliptical machine for your home gym, you may have started to feel overwhelmed at the number of different options available. This article will hopefully clarify some of the differences between machines and help you focus on what the important features are and which ones you can do without.
One of the first features you'll want to look at is the weight capacity. The higher, the better because this means that even if you are not near the maximum weight allowance, it tells you that the frame is stronger and can handle a higher work-load, ensuring less down-time for repairs. Another feature is a reverse movement. While most machines will work in reverse, many will not have a dashboard that monitors this type of movement and will simply reset to zero. Reverse movement is a great way to prevent overworking your quadriceps and under-working your hamstrings. This type of imbalance can lead to leg, hip and knee injuries.
Two other features that you'll want to consider are the resistance and the incline. While most reputable elliptical exercise machines include these variables, many machines will link the two features together - you can only go harder and higher but not one separate from the other. This limits your options when it comes to personalizing your workouts and maximizing your potential. If you're looking at them in a store, be sure and check that there are two separate buttons for these important features.
Also make sure that there is a "manual" option when it comes to choosing from one of the pre-programmed workouts. Variety is important in improving your fitness. Your muscles adapt quickly to anything it perceives as routine so those pre-programmed workouts are good for starting out but you'll eventually need to come up with new ideas to continue successfully on your fitness journey.
Go out and start trying machines. Ask the sales staff if you can demo some models. If you can't, go someplace else. You want to shop where you'll find a helpful staff, a store with a long-standing reputation (or long warranties won't do you any good) and tech support in case something goes wrong with the machine.
There isn't a long feature list that is necessary when it comes to purchasing an elliptical exercise machine but all of the bells and whistles can make shopping confusing. Stick to these basics and you'll wind up with a machine that's right for you.