As a running snob, I always thought that the elliptical was a useless piece of equipment that would totally reverse all the hard work I’d put into running and developing muscles. However, after a long winter of essentially spending more time at the gym than on the pavement, I can confidently report that it’s actually helped me. (And I apologize to all those people I have ever made fun of for using the machine).
Much to my surprise, if used correctly, the elliptical is a full body work out machine. It not only works the core, but arms and legs (specifically, the latissimus dorsi, deltoids, triceps, biceps, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves get worked. – from Livestrong.com) If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking what the heck muscles are they? Check out the diagram below. Essentially, you use glutes and hamstrings to run, so working them on the elliptical helps.
In my case, I recently ran a 5k after weeks of not running at all. Of course, I was apprehensive because I had only been spending time on the machines (despite being told it would be a waste)… However, I totally kicked that 5k where it hurt. My time was 26:29 – a personal best! I could tell my run was different because my legs actually felt stronger; and at the point in the run where I’d generally start to feel tired, I still felt great (it helped that I was listening to The Wanted). I had a burst of energy with 1km left and finished stronger than usual. After the run, I had that tinge of worry in my belly like “Oh crap I’m going to be sore tomorrow…” but I wasn’t. At all. I mean, stretching well helps (and I am guilty of not putting enough time into this either), but I know spending the hours I have on the elliptical working more than glutes and hamstrings has helped me with my running. Try it out. Let me know if you have a similar experience!