The elliptical strider is fast becoming the exercise equipment of choice in gyms and for home training. It offers all of the lower body workout of a treadmill but with minimal impact on the hip and knee joints. Because it also has handles that give the upper body a workout, the elliptical strider is a great all-rounder for upper- and lower-body aerobic exercise.
Secure your feet in the foot plates of the elliptical strider and hold on to the fixed centre handholds (located around waist height), rather than the movable handles. Holding onto these steadies your torso and core in a balanced position while your legs do the work on the strider. The contrast between the motion of your legs, while you try to keep your upper body poised and still, offers a great strengthening workout for the core.
Tone the Hips, Bum and Thighs
Use your legs as the driving force while your hands hold the fixed handles at the centre of the machine. While you "run" with your legs, sink your lower body down into a squat by bending your knees and lowering from your hips. Come up again, lower down again, and repeat 10 to 15 times. This will tone the muscles in your quadriceps (the muscles at the front of your thighs), as well as toning your buttocks and improving mobility in your hips.
Use the elliptical strider's programmed fitness regimes for a workout based on resistance and time. These make your bodywork harder to move the machine in keeping with the pace it sets for you. Check the instructions for how to use the programs if you have a home unit, or ask your gym instructor if you are using your local gym. An example of one of these programs is intermittent resistance, where you push hard for five minutes, then work to a softer pace for two minutes of recovery time, then push hard for six minutes, have some recovery time, and so on. Use your upper body by pushing the movable arm handles as well as working the legs -- this will challenge your heart to pump oxygenated body to your chest, arms, thighs and calves. Choose a program that increases speed (measured in strides per minute) as well as resistance to raise your heart rate and breathing, giving your heart and lungs a good workout.
Track Your Progress
Keep a note of your stride-per-minute rate increases as your fitness increases over days and weeks of training. Note your heart rate, too -- it should start to lower while working out at the same resistance, because its pumping action that sends oxygen around the body becomes stronger and more efficient.