How to pick the best cardio machine
My standard answer to, “What cardio machines should I use?” used to be:
Any that you will do 🙂
My preference would be that the machine requires you to pick up your feet
I am not a big sitting down fan, so if you can avoid sitting down….
Most cardio machines are of the straight ahead variety- running or walking on the treadmill is a moving straight ahead direction sport, biking is a straight ahead sport, ellipticals are too, and step mills or Stairmasters fall into the straight ahead category as well.
Why is that problematic?
Well, straight ahead sports create strength in straight ahead sport muscles which get used every time you walk straight ahead. Which for most people, is all the time.
What muscles are those? Oh you know, the ole quad/calf/low back trifecta. Not the end of the world if you’re good about making sure antagonistic partner muscles are being engaged to balance out the trifecta, but problematic if you don’t.
Therefore, if you have an opportunity to check out any LATERAL movement machines, please try them!
I ran across one the other day at a hotel gym, and I notice at my gym- Club Sport Oregon -that it gets used less than some of the other cardio machines. I think most people aren’t sure how it works or it’s advantages, so here’s a quick video that explains why I like it!
Anything that allows you to move sideways is going to give you a better opportunity to engage lateral stabilizing muscles – aka the GLUTE!
For my straight ahead sporters, this is key, since the straight ahead nature of their sport (running, biking, etc) doesn’t necessarily allow for lateral muscles to engage. Give it a whirl if you stumble across one, and let me know in the comments below how you liked (or disliked!) it!