Important Terms Regarding Elliptical Training

Important Terms Regarding Elliptical Training


RPM – this is the rotational speed in the elliptical, counted in the number of revolutions per minute.

Maximum heart rate

Maximum heart rate (TM) – the maximum heart rate to which the heart is capable, calculated simply in accordance with the formula 220-age (for men , for women thevalue of age is subtracted from the number 226 ).

Relaxed heart rate

Resting Heart Rate (TS) – this is the heart rate that is right after waking up(another acceptable form is during the day, while performing not very demanding physical activities – however, the more correct result will be obtained after waking up). For an adult, the normal range of resting heart rate is60 to 80 bpm ( Beats per minute – beats per minute). Along with the training of the body, the resting heart rate drops significantly and the normal limit is then 45-50 bpm.

Touch sensors

Touch sensors – these are sensors embedded in the elliptical ‘s arms , which are used to measure the user’s heart rate. However, they do not have the accuracy of ECG measurement and the reading values given on the monitor should be treated as approximate values.

The length and height of the step in the elliptical cross trainer

The length and height of the step – the newer models trainers elliptical are equipped with the ability to adjust the height and length of the steps that you perform during training at the power tower . The possibility of adjusting the length and height of the step is crucial for high users and for more activated muscle groups (the short step activates mainly the calves and buttocks and the long ones – whole legs).

Body Fat

Body fat  – part of the  elliptical cross trainers  is equipped with the possibility of measuring the content of adipose tissue in the body. Using both hands, grab the sensorslocated at the handles   – after a few seconds the computer will display the approximate body fat content.


BMI – (Body Mass Index) is an indicator that allows you to determine if your body weight is suitable for growth. It is calculated by dividing the weight by the height squared (in meters).

For example, the BMI of a person who measures 170 cm and weighs 60 kg is 20.76 (60 / 1.7 ^ 2) and so the weight is correct. The same person weighing 80kg would have a BMI 27.68, which would count as overweight and weighing 50 kg would be underweight, because its BMI would be only 17.3.

Telemetry belt

Telemetry belt – is a wireless chest strap used to measure heart rate. To obtain the optimal reading, the belt should be moistened and put on the chest. Is the most accurate (non-medical) measuring device that can be used during training on an elliptical trainer . It is often available as an accessory – it is worth buying an elliptical to see if it already has a built-in receiver (to the belt) in the control computer.

  • Belts that send information to the receiver via radio waves (eg Polar T34  or T31) .
  • Belts sending information via Bluetooth. Thanks to the technology used, they often cooperate with selected smartphones and mobile applications (eg Polar H7 ).


HRC – (with Heart Rate Control) is a pulse-controlled program in which the computer automatically adjusts the speed to it by measuring the pulse of the exerciser. There is a choice one of the special programs (e.g. fat burn-fat burning, or cardio training) – if there are several programs controlled by the elliptical, you can independently determine the level of heart rate at which you want to exercise. It is convenient if the user can exercise using the chest strap (measuring the heart rate much more accurately than the sensors placed in the holders).


BMR – (Basal Metabolic Rate) means the basic metabolism, calculated individually for each organism. It means the minimum amount of calories that should be absorbed by the body at rest in order to sustain its life processes.

Scan function

Scan function – displaying individual training parameters on the computer display (such as time, distance, calories burned).

Recovery Test

Recovery Test – is a function based on the ability to check the fitness and training level of a person exercising on the basis of the speed of dropping the pulse after finishing the training . It is described most often on a scale from 1 to 6, where level 1 means the highest level of fitness. The function helps to check how in the long run training on the elliptical affect the fitness of the exerciser.

Health contraindications for elliptical training

The great advantage of elliptical trainers is that they can be used by a very wide group of recipients – both very athletic and even professional people, as well as beginners. It does not physically limit people who are overweight, the elderly or those who have problems with joints.

However, there is a small margin of people who are not recommended for elliptical exercises. These include people who have problems with circulation and suffering feet, and according to some sources – children as well. Remember to consult your doctor before starting regular, intensive training.

Energy expenditure

Energy expenditure – the elliptical’s computer , after entering the basic data (age, weight), calculates the approximate number of kilocalories that the user is sleeping at a given intensity of training . This is not the exact number, it is burdened with a certain threshold of error (as the number of calories burned is a matter for the individual organism, in addition to age and weight there is a number of other factors affecting this process).

Heart rate training zones

Training on the elliptical is very important to work at the right heart rate ( HR , Heart Rate ). Few people realize that this is the basic issue for the type of training (thanks to the heart rate control you can qualify the elliptical trainer for one of the training zones). Limit values vary depending on the age of the exerciser. The simplest formula for calculating the maximum heart rate is 220-age = HRmax . Depending on the intensity of the training, you can set the following basic training zones (sometimes they are broken down into smaller parts, however, for a less-than-professional training, it is enough to distinguish four basic zones).

  Rest zone, regeneration:

– Used as a warm-up or calm training after a longer break in regular exercises;

– Heart rate: 50-60% HR max

-Cel: improvement of thermoregulation and coordination processes, warming up the body.


 Fat burning zone :

– Used for people who want to lose weight;

– Heart rate: 60-70% HR max;

-Cel: Acceleration of metabolism, muscle strengthening, fat burning, better blood supply to the body.


 Cardio zone :

-This is a training recommended for people who are training long-distance running.

– Heart rate: 70-80% HR max;

-Cel: improvement of running strength and general body condition.


 Anaerobic zone :

-Training in this zone is the improvement of body’s tolerance for lactic acid

– Heart rate: 80-90% HR max – anaerobic endurance zone

– Heart rate: 90-100% HR max – anaerobic capacity zone;

-Cel: to increase the tolerance to lactic acid in the muscles, which causes their tiredness to slower.

During training on an elliptical trainer, you can control your heart rate using touch sensors (located in the elliptical arms), finger / ear caps or wireless chest bands (the latter give the best results in terms of measurement accuracy and are the most convenient to use).

Shock absorbing mats

The cushioning mats , as the name suggests, are designed to cushion the elliptical cross trainer. Mats prevent the trainer from slipping and also provide greater stability to the elliptical during exercises and help protect the floor from damage.

Cushioning mats can have the shape of a puzzle – which allows you to combine several mats of different sizes and adapt them to the dimensions of the elliptical, it also facilitates the assembly and transport, or rubber castings of various sizes, so that it is easier to choose the mat size to the size of the device.

Step length adjustment

Some sources say that the possibility of adjusting the step length is the main factor that should be taken into account when buying the elliptical cross trainer . The length of the step should be adjusted to the user’s height (for a higher user the longer step length significantly increases the comfort and comfort of the exercise – because it reduces the height jumps), therefore if the device uses more than one user, the device should be equipped with the possibility of changing the step length.

There is, however, no specific step length to be developed for the given increase, but general guidelines are given:

  •  increase to 160 cm – step length up to 16 “(ie up to 40.5 cm)
  •  height 160 to 170 cm – step length 16 “to 18” (40.5 to 45.5 cm)
  • height 170 to 180 cm – step length 18 ” to 20 ” (45.5-50.5 cm)
  • height over 180 cm – step length above 20 “(over 50.5 cm)

The length of the step is also important because the greater the distance between the feet, the more muscle activates the training.

The regulation of the step length in the elliptical cross trainers takes place in one of three ways:

  •  regulation in the form of changing the settings of plastic feet in skids (available in most ellipticals, eg in YORK ANNIVERSARY X202 )
  • regulation of the step length by changing the skid work settings – this type of regulation is available mainly in professional trainers (eg E872 SPORTS ART .)
  •  regulation using the EXT mechanism (available in Kettler trainers ), which allows for a very smooth, elongated movement reminiscent of skiing.

Fluency of the elliptical movement

The fluidity of elliptical movement is a very important factor. During exercise, you should not feel any jumps, hear noises and squeals. The following factors have the greatest impact on liquidity:

  • The size (mass) of the flywheel
  •  bearing
  • Materials used (e.g.: plastic in circles / elliptical with front drive)
  •  Production quality
  •  Drive type

Ways of measuring pulse in elliptical cross trainers

Heart rate measurement is a very important element of the elliptical exercise. This is to both adjust the training to the needs (appropriate thresholds will allow you to choose regenerative training, fat burning, cardio or anaerobic) and the body’s capabilities (eg, older people should not carry out more intensive training than at 50% HR max).

Elliptical are equipped with several ways to measure your heart rate during training:


Touch sensors

Touch sensors are sensors that measure your heart rate. They are placed on the shoulders of the elliptical. In order to measure their heart rate, use both hands on the sensors and wait about 30 seconds for reading (it is important not to grab the sensors too much). Readings from this type of readers are not, however, the most accurate and should be treated as approximate.

 Ear clips

These types of clips are devices a little more precise than the sensors, but they are not recommended for intensive training (due to the ease of the clip falling off the ear, the measurement may be distorted).

 Wireless chest bands 

The telemetry belt is the most accurate of available heart rate devices during training. A telemetry band can be part of a set when you buy a simulator, but it is more often treated as an additional element. For optimal reading, it is recommended to lightly wet (preferably with a damp cloth, do not immerse the belt in water!) Or you can use moisturizing gels) and then put the belt directly on the chest, slightly on the left, so that the belt receiver is on the heart.

Note: Disturbances of heart rate reading in the electrodes (receiver) may occur when using powder, balm, oil, etc. on the body. It is recommended to use sensors for a clean body (in the case of touch sensors on the handles – clean hands).

Training programs in elliptical trainers

In elliptical trainers , in which the electromagnet or motor controlling the position of the magnet is responsible for the load, it is possible to choose a training program. Usually there are several to even a dozen or so.

Predefined programs (programmed by the manufacturer)

These are load programs loaded into the computer’s memory. They consist of a series of one-minute episodes, during which the computer itself changes the load depending on the selected program – more or less intensively. Most often, such programs are displayed graphically. These are programs like:

  •  Hill / climbing / mountain (a program that simulates climbing, very well develops the muscles and strength of the legs and buttocks)
  •  Rolling (rolling)
  •  Steps (simulation of climbing stairs)
  • Valley 
  • •Ramp 
  •  Intervals (interval program, it consists in practicing with variable load in equal sections of time)
  •  Plateau 
  • Precipice (equals)
  • Random (random program)
  • User programs (which can be set by yourself)

Some elliptical have the ability to remember profiles of several users, their individual training preferences and personal settings (age type or weight-of course, for modification). This is a very useful feature when more than one user uses the elliptical cross trainer.

“Target” programs

Programs of this type consist in the possibility of setting by the user the parameter he wants to achieve during training. The target value can be:

  • Time (e.g. 30 minutes)
  • Distance (for example – the user wants to cover 10 kilometers)
  • Energy expenditure (when training will continue until the user has slept, for example, 400 kcal).

During training with the use of target programs, the user can set the resistance arbitrarily.

Manual program (manual)

The least complicated form of training is the manual introduction of resistance (optionally, with some trainers: step length) at which he wants to train the user and start the exercise.

Heart rate programs (HRC)

It is a training program controlled by the user’s heart rate. It is based on determining the upper limit of the heart rate that the user wants to maintain (see: pulse- controlled programs) and when approaching the upper set limit, the computer reduces the load itself until the pulse rate decreases. Due to the necessity of constant heart rate monitoring, it is recommended to use the telemetry belt.

 Application programs

More and more often, manufacturers of ellipticals market products compatible with various training applications (e.g iFit in Nordictrack and ProForm products, S-Fit Kettler or LFconnect Life Fitness). These applications not only allow you to track your progress and collect training data, but also give you access to a wide range of additional programs, and even allow you to route virtual routes around the world.

Elliptical cleaning

To clean the elliptical trainer (as with most exercise equipment), do not use strong cleaning agents.It is recommended to wipe the device with a damp cloth (you can use ordinary soapy water or special means available in sports shops) to remove dirt and dust. The elliptical cross trainer should be stored in a dry place – protecting the device from moisture we also protect it against corrosion.

Conservation of the elliptical cross trainer


  • Before starting the exercise, make sure that the device is stable and possibly level.
  • Every now and then it is worth checking the screws and the knobs are tightened (this is mainly about the screws holding the arms at the base and the screws holding the skids at the flywheel).
  • They should not be too tight, because it will cause unnecessary resistance and parts formation, while looseness’s, especially when skids, can accelerate bearing wear.
  • In case the computer / device counter does not work properly, check that all cables and wires are correctly connected. If the training functions are not displayed clearly, check the counter’s batteries (if the meter has such power supply).
  • Often during the delivery of devices in the winter it happens that the batteries supplied with the device lose their capacity and inserted into the control computer cannot power it. You have to replace them then.
  • If there is no resistance, check that the cable from the resistance knob has been clipped or that the resistance cable (in elliptical, where the resistance is set electronically) is connected correctly.

Nordic walking

It is true that this is not a workout performed with the help of an elliptical trainer, but the movements performed during Nordic walking are very similar to those of the elliptical trainer, so it is worth to bring this variation of movement a bit closer. It involves walking using specially adapted poles (which means that in contrast to the traditional march, hand muscles are also used for nordic walking).

Thanks to the involvement of a larger part of muscles during Nordic walking, calories burn slightly more than during normal walking. Other advantages of this training are the beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and respiratory system, relieving the joints (so it is a very good form of rehabilitation) and strengthening the spine. Nordic walking is recommended very (though not only, of course) to the elderly and obese.

Suffering feet during training on the elliptical – how to prevent?

Suffering feet during training on the elliptical cross trainer is quite common. It is caused by the lack of proper blood flow, when the feet immobile for a long time adhere to a flat surface (in this case – to the plastic feet placed on the elliptical skids).The easiest way to prevent such a situation is to move the feet to the front and back of the elliptical pedals (eg every ten minutes), moving your fingers or lifting them for a few seconds, even stopping pedaling – we release blood flow and prevent tingling and numbness. Some simulators (but not all) also have specially tilted pedals slightly forward, which also help to alleviate the problem. The user of an elliptical with front-to-back drive is more likely to have numbness in the feet (this is due to a different way of pressure on the skids).

This problem also eliminates the use of moving arms at the steering wheel of the elliptical. Exercise at the same time with hands and legs, we force a greater rising of the foot and thus its greater movement and elimination of numbness.

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