Consider what you'll do when training

Published 6:43 am Monday, June 13, 2005

By Staff
Janet Peterman – Personal trainer
Which gives me the best workout – an elliptical machine or a treadmill?
Answer:  Which will you do more of consistently?  The term "elliptical" refers to the pattern that the pedals make when the machine is viewed from the side.  The first elliptical machine of any meaningful value was unveiled in 1995.  Since then, it has become an increasingly popular piece of equipment for aerobic training.
So how does it stack up against the ever – popular treadmill?  
Studies have shown that the physiological responses of using an elliptical and a treadmill are similar (i.e.: maximum heart rate, maximum oxygen intake and the respiratory exchange ratio).  
So why does the elliptical feel easier?  
There is no-impact to the joints and does not involve the pounding that takes place on a treadmill.  Many of the ellipticals have an upper body component that allows users to address all major muscle groups.  This will give you an even greater expenditure of calories.
Our wonderful YMCA has an assortment of cardio machines to include recumbent bikes and stairclimbers. Please ask for me by name, I'd love to show you how to use them.
Are there any benefits of using a stairclimber facing away from the machine?
Answer:  Research has shown the "retrograde" (stepping backwards) produces heart rates and caloric expenditures that are higher than forward stepping at the same pace. Be that as it may, it's awkward to use the machine while facing away from the console. And it may make for bad posture.  
Besides, the same physiological responses - a higher heart rate and greater caloric expenditure – could be obtained during forward stepping by simply increasing the pace.
Which give you better aerobic fitness – cycling or running?
Answer:  Oxygen intake is considered to be an excellent indicator or aerobic fitness.  
The two most popular pieces of equipment are the motorized treadmill and the stationary bike.  Generally speaking, a treadmill yields the highest values of oxygen intake.  Keep in mind, however, that the specificity of training also plays an important role.  Runners obtain their highest values on a treadmill; cyclists obtain their highest values on a stationary cycle.  Once again I ask you, which piece of equipment will you do the most of consistently?  
I hear a lot of talk about the "core."  What exactly are core strengthening exercises?
Answer:  Core training is exercise performed to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles that move and stabilize the torso.  Core training and core conditioning simply mean training the core muscle groups with core strengthening exercises that challenge these muscles to improve their strength and endurance.  
Core muscles help to hold the torso steady and in good alignment, whether you are seated at a desk or swinging a golf club.  They heal relieve various aches and pains, especially back pain, due to weak muscles and poor posture.  How many hours a day do you spend hunched over a computer or desk?
We have lots of new classes at the YMCA to strengthen your core.  We have classed using the stability ball and other props to add variety to your workout.  Come see what all the buzz is about.
For these and other questions, feel free to call me at the YMCA at 867-9622.

Email newsletter signup