I thought I knew how to use the machine.
June 15, 2010 12:59 PM   Subscribe

YANMPersonalTrainer: Should I keep my feet flat when using the elliptical machine or should I faux-run like the guy using the machine next to me?
posted by bluejayway to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
You should keep your feet totally flat. Sometimes I get excited when a particularly good song comes up on my iPod, and I use it to faux-run and it keeps my heart rate up just fine, but I don't get all of the awesome muscly power up action that keeping my feet totally flat would give me. At least, that's what my old personal trainer told me. I try to keep my feet flat because I feel much more burn and my heart rate goes up faster and I get tired more quickly.

YMMV. Also that personal trainer nearly gave me a hernia.
posted by pazazygeek at 1:05 PM on June 15, 2010

When I keep my feet flat, after a while they start to fall asleep/numb. I blame the shoes more than the machine.
posted by bookdragoness at 1:13 PM on June 15, 2010

I have wonky knees, and I switch it up based on what my knees are telling me. Sometimes it's the one, sometimes it's the other.
posted by KathrynT at 1:13 PM on June 15, 2010

Best answer: There was an article in the health section of the WaPo a few years ago about the "correct" form for using an elliptical. Basically, not only should your feet be totally flat on the machine, but you should *not* be bouncing up and down. You want to center yourself down over your heels, not the balls of your feet (to figure out how this should feel, hold on to the handles and lean back a bit, until you feel your weight shift backwards to your heels). If you have a mirror or reflective window, as you start to move, watch yourself as you and concentrate on keeping your head in the same place vertically, rather than up-down-up-down-up-down.

You feel this in your quads, like whoa. It's also a much, much more strenuous cardio workout. Your workout will look much more zen and tranquil than the guy next to you, but you'll be burning twice as many calories and building stronger leg muscles, to boot.
posted by iminurmefi at 1:23 PM on June 15, 2010 [23 favorites]

Best answer: This article?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 2:11 PM on June 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

lean back a bit, until you feel your weight shift backwards to your heels

I have no knowledge of this, but this seems wrong and a great way to accidentally strain a knee.
posted by gjc at 4:21 PM on June 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've often wondered this. Based on the answers, I'm doing it wrong - but I find solace in the idea that by bouncing along is infinitely more fun!
posted by citands at 3:56 AM on June 16, 2010

Just wanted to say I've always used the eliptical trainer and have always been conscious of keeping my feet flat. After reading this post the other day I made an extra effort and WHOA! Definately feeling it more in glutes and thighs...
posted by nothing too obvious at 8:07 PM on June 18, 2010

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