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  1. #1
    Message Board King Bluerain's Avatar
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    Different Cardio Machines Explained

    Good write up on this site of different Cardio Machines
    http://askthetrainer.com/best-cardio-machines.html

    Why are There So many Different Types of Cardio Machines ?

    Cardio Machines were first Developed for Training Purposes not Fat Burning Devices

    Cardio machine used to be predominantly used for training. Treadmills were used by people who couldn't get outside to run. Rowing machines were used by people who wanted to train their rowing ability without the inconvenience of getting to the river.

    People started to become overweight at an alarming rate and the fitness revolution happened in the 1980s. Cardio machines were designed to simulate daily physical activities which could be done in place on a machine.

    Later on in the 1990s elliptical machines were designed specifically for non impact exercise.

    Here are Cardio Machines which May be Best for Your Goals


    Treadmills

    Treadmills are for for the most basic impact exercise walking, jogging and running. Every quality treadmill has the ability to change the speed and incline (level of hill). Treadmills usually have safety features such as an auto stop switch and side handles to make sure you don't kill yourself.

    Another feature of the best treadmills is a remote heart rate monitor. It is not convenient to put your hands on the hand heart rate monitors when you running if you are serious about your exercise intensity.

    The best treadmills allow you to put a strap around your sternum which will send your heart rate to the treadmill by remote.

    Exercise Tip: If you do not like running walking on the treadmill can be just as effective for burning calories, fat and cardiovascular effect. The key is to set the treadmill at a significant incline. Working against gravity will increase difficulty and caloric expenditure.

    Do not pull on the handles when you have an incline.. If you grab the handles it completely defeats the purpose of the incline. The calories burned meter on the machine will not be accurate also. If you have to hold on the for dear life you should probably slow down the machine.

    Stairmasters

    Stairmaster is actually a brand of stair stepper machines which predominantly known as Stairmasters now. The motion of a Stairmaster is similar to climbing up steps, but your body weight is actually pushing the steps down. If the difficulty of the Stairmaster is increased, the steps will fall faster which will cause you to step faster.

    On a Stairmaster your are working directly against gravity and your body weight. Any time a cardio exercise has a vertical component it will be more difficult than horizontal only activities.

    Stairmasters have been known to be hard on the knees. If you have any major muscle imbalances and posture problems the Stairmaster is probably not your best cardio machine.

    Exercise Tips: Like most of the best cardio machines it is better for you to not hold onto the handles for dear life. The handles are for balance. If you need to support your body weight with the Stairmaster you should lower the intensity level.

    To get the most effective workout on a Stairmaster use an interval program. Which most cardio exercises on machines, the interval programs will allow you to burn the most calories a shorter amount of time.

    Interval programs are great because they work you aerobic and anaerobic systems together which has a significant effect on your metabolism.

    Elliptical Trainers

    Elliptical machines are famous for non impact exercise. Non impact exercise means there is minimal compressive forces on your bones and joints.

    There are 2 main varieties of elliptical machines. One variety has handles which allow upper and lower body concurrent push-pull movement. The intensity is increased by adding resistance.

    The other variety does not have handles and usually allows the incline level of the foot rests to be adjusted as well as resistance.

    Exercise Tips: Do not make the elliptical machine your only source of cardio. If you perform only non impact exercise your bone mass and strength could suffer in the long term.

    To get the best workout on an elliptical machine with handles, set the resistance high so you have to use your arms as well as your legs.

    Rowing Machines

    The rowing machine is the most underrated cardio machine in the gym. Most people do not understand the correct way to use rowing machines.

    Rowing machines are obviously the best cardio machines for simulating rowing but they are great for cardio as well if you know how to use them.

    Rowing machines are not meant to be a resistance exercise. When people improperly use them they are usually pull very hard with their arms and have bad form.

    The difference between rowing machines and all other cardio machines is you completely control how intense your session will be. The faster you go, the more intense your cardio workout will be.

    This is why rowing machines are not the most popular cardio machine, you must have motivation to get the full benefit from rowing machines.

    Exercise Tips: To get full cardio benefit of the rowing machine you should use one of the programs which is built on the little screen. These programs will show you intervals which allow you to pace yourself so you don't get burned out too quickly.

    Stepmills

    Stepmills or Stairmills are like the escalators from hell. It is just like you are stepping up your local stadium steps, except they are never ending.

    Stepmills are not for the beginner. Even at very low settings Stepmills get your heart rate up very quickly. When you increase the difficulty level, the escalator goes faster.

    Something else to take note of is the steps are pretty narrow. If you have feet over size 12 it may be awkward to exercise on the Stepmill which is definitely one of the best cardio machines to get your heart rate up and keep it up.

    Exercise Tips: Do not support your entire body weight with the handles. You should hold them for safety reasons but they are not to support your body weight which takes away from the exercise's effects.

    You can also step up sideways both ways on Stepmills. This is a great way to help functionally strengthen your legs stabilization mechanism, inner and outer thighs. Do not try this if you have any ligament problems in your knees.




    ................
    Last edited by Bluerain; 02-21-2009 at 12:23 PM.
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  2. #2
    Message Board King Bluerain's Avatar
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    Versa Climbers

    The Versa climber is one of the best cardio machines you have never heard of. If you do have a Versa climber in your local gym it is one of the least popular cardio machines and is probably collecting dust.

    The Versa climber is such a good cardio machine because you are climbing vertically which is directly against gravity. You also use your upper and lower body equally, which increases heart rate quickly.

    To increase the difficulty of the versa climber you can add more resistance. When you add more resistance you can push and pull which will not only work your muscles but give you a tremendous cardio workout.

    Exercise Tip: The versa climber is a tremendous cardio machine to use for interval training. At a decent intensity level, the Versa Climber can be tough even for 5 minutes.

    It is possibly the best cardio workout to alternate a few minutes on the Versa climber with a couple minutes on a stationary bike or any other cardio machine you can make a quick transition to.

    Tread Climbers

    The treadclimber is the newest cardio machine to hit the market. Of course there was immediate claims of it being the "best cardio Exercise." The treadclimber is an awkward combination of a Stairmaster and treadmill.

    This cardio machine has independent treadmills which rise and lower every time your foot strikes. There is no running on the tread climber only walking which makes it a comfortable way to burn calories if you are significantly overweight.

    Exercise Tips: The up and down motion of each independent treadmill is not controlled by the machine but rather the strikes of your foot. Unless you want a wild, unproductive cardio workout make sure you plant each foot evenly and don't stomp.

    Like most cardio machines you should not support the majority of your body weight on the handles. Because of the awkwardness make sure you hold to the handles when you first try the tread climber.


    Stationary Bikes

    There are probably a million different models of stationary bikes. Stationary bikes are upright with no back rest. Every gym in the world has a few stationary bikes.

    The way to increase the intensity of a stationary bike is to increase the resistance of the pedals. Most stationary bikes have many different programs.

    In some programs increase the resistance on preset intervals and some depend on your heart rate. The programs which use your heart rate increase the resistance to keep you at your target heart rate. The machine usually determines your target heart rate for you from the information which you enter in before you start the program.

    Exercise Tip: Make sure you sit upright and do not slouch when using the stationary bike. If you work a job or live a lifestyle where you sit for many hours during the day, you should probably not use the stationary bike and use a standing machine.

    Your hip flexors are most likely tight which would cause posture problems if you overdo work on the stationary bike.



    Recumbent Stationary Bikes

    Recumbent bikes are the lazy person's favorite cardio machine.

    If you make the trek to your local gym you will definitely see a few people read a magazine while they watch TV and talk on their cell phone on a recumbent bike.

    This does not have to be the case. Like any of the best cardio machines you can elevate your heart rate significantly on the recumbent bike but you have to have some kind of motivation.

    Exercise Tips: If you want to get the best cardio workout on a recumbent bike use one of the hill profiles. These are interval programs which raise the resistance for intervals.

    At the top of some hills you will want to quit because your legs burn so bad, but just as you are ready to quit, the interval will be over and you will be coasting again.

    Make sure you set up the distance to the pedals properly. Your legs should come to almost full extension but not locked. If the pedals are too close you will most likely burn out your leg muscles more than increase your heart rate.


    Arc Trainers

    The arc trainer is another non-impact cardio machine. They are the newest type of cardio machine in your local gym and are probably most popular.

    You step on two platforms and basically swing your legs back and forth in a similar fashion to the gazelle freestyle which has been a top selling home workout machine for years.

    The adjustable resistance as well as the speed which you choose to swing your legs back and forth in the scissor-like motion adjusts the intensity of your cardio workout.

    Exercise Tips: Non-impact machines are the best cardio machines for people with chronic joint problems. The arc trainer can get your heart rate up effectively without putting too much stress on your legs.

    Don't let the non-impact style cardio machine sabotage your results though. Make sure you work hard and keep your heart rate up higher than your target zone. If you are free of joint problems, make sure you use forms of impact exercise such as jogging to keep your bones strong and your bone mass at optimal levels.



    Hand Ergometers

    Hand ergometers or hand bikes are not anybody's favorite cardio machines. When you are forced to use a hand ergometer it usually means you either have a broken leg, sprained ankle, surgically repaired knee or are bound to a wheel chair.

    Hand ergometers can actually get your heart rate up faster than leg cardio machines because your arms are closer to your heart than your legs.

    Hand ergometers have been used often in research about heart rate response among other things.

    Exercise Tip: Think happy thoughts. The hand bike is not very fun and can be quite boring. Very few people choose to use the hand bike as a form of cardio.
    Last edited by Bluerain; 02-21-2009 at 10:37 AM.
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  3. #3
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    good write up for the newbs brah. repped++ [IMG]*****://mysmilecity.com/images/34/1234484325/yellsign.gif[/IMG]
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  4. #4
    Frackin shoulder. PullBig's Avatar
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    What are those continuose rock wall things? And my spinner? Great post.
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  5. #5
    Message Board King Bluerain's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PullBig View Post
    What are those continuose rock wall things? And my spinner? Great post.

    I lifted the info from the website I posted just so everyone knows...Good to have it all in one spot.

    Yes the Rock climbing wall and spinner should be added.. I'll try and find a good write up on these 2 you mentioned with pics when I get a chance. If anyone else finds a good write just post it and I'll edit post to include them.
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    Registered User dolson27's Avatar
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    Do I smell sticky?? Well, I smell something. Time to change the baby.


    MODs, looks like a good one.
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    Registered User dolson27's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PullBig View Post
    What are those continuose rock wall things? And my spinner? Great post.
    I think they are just called rock climbing machines? I don't know any other names for them.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by dolson27 View Post
    Do I smell sticky?? Well, I smell something. Time to change the baby.


    MODs, looks like a good one.
    I smell the Official/Unofficial FAQ/Guide to Cardio Gear......Sticky!
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    Trying to get back on that horse.....again.
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    Why is it bad to use the rowing machine for resistance exercise? Would really like to know, thanks!
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    The resistance on a rowing machine is not sufficient for a muscle growth, this being the point of resistasnce exercise. Using proper form will not place much resistanc on any one of you muscles, and using poor form will kill your back and joints before your muscles grow. In short it is a cardio machine not a weight machine.
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  11. #11
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    The resistance on a rowing machine is not sufficient for a muscle growth, this being the point of resistasnce exercise. Using proper form will not place much resistanc on any one of you muscles, and using poor form will kill your back and joints before your muscles grow. In short it is a cardio machine not a weight machine.
    This.
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    Concept2 rower is by far the best cardio equipment I've ever used.
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    Originally Posted by HardKore79 View Post
    Concept2 rower is by far the best cardio equipment I've ever used.
    yes.

    nice thread blue!
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    Originally Posted by HardKore79 View Post
    Concept2 rower is by far the best cardio equipment I've ever used.

    agreed!

    my gym has 2 and they are without fail always free..even if the gym is super packed!
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    good post.
    im wanting to start building my own gym in the house and posts like this make it easier
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    The versa climber looks promising for home gyms because it appears to have a small footprint. Looks like something you could stuff into a corner and still use.
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    The resistance on a rowing machine is not sufficient for a muscle growth, this being the point of resistasnce exercise. Using proper form will not place much resistanc on any one of you muscles, and using poor form will kill your back and joints before your muscles grow. In short it is a cardio machine not a weight machine.
    Apologies perhaps I didnt make my question clear enough. I do not want muscle 'growth' per se, I was more curious to know if this cardio machine will preserve more muscle than say the treadmill due to resistance placed upon the upper body muscles. Thanks
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    Originally Posted by cndGuy View Post
    The versa climber looks promising for home gyms because it appears to have a small footprint. Looks like something you could stuff into a corner and still use.
    I've thought that same thing. I used one for a while when I went to a gym. I didn't like it though because when you are using it you can't look at anything around you, you are stuck staring at the machine with your back too the room. That made me uncomfortable.
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    Originally Posted by animalfan View Post
    yes.

    nice thread blue!
    Having never used a rower, can you explain why? I've seen a few on craigslist, and I'd like a decent cardio piece that isn't a treadmill.
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    Originally Posted by rpkelly View Post
    Having never used a rower, can you explain why? I've seen a few on craigslist, and I'd like a decent cardio piece that isn't a treadmill.
    i just feel like i worked when i am done rowing. i can feel it through my whole body, instead of just my legs like after a treadmill or bike. these are really the only 3 cardio pieces i've used. the rower is the only cardio equipment i can use without getting too bored. that's the main reason for me. i don't really like to run, so if i'm on a treadmill i am walking and getting bored. i enjoyed my bike, but eventually quit using it because i was getting bored.


    that said, i probably should use my rower more than i do.
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    Originally Posted by Wildtim View Post
    I've thought that same thing. I used one for a while when I went to a gym. I didn't like it though because when you are using it you can't look at anything around you, you are stuck staring at the machine with your back too the room. That made me uncomfortable.
    Too funny. I started to edit my original post after thinking about the limited view. I aborted the edit however when I considered that a person could just wear an iPod and zone out while doing endurance cardio or use the Versa Climber solely for HIIT cardio. I don't know about you, but when I'm doing HIIT, I'm either focusing on giving an all out effort or on trying to get enough air back into my lungs for the next interval. View be damned.
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    I hate having my back to the room. Call me paranoid but when there is a big clang or any other loud noise I have to look. I don't wear an I-pod (or in my public gym days Walkman) for the same reason. One of many rasons I like working out at home.

    I also tend towards steady state cardio work. Low int long duration for fat burning, or moderate intensity for heart health. I use a bike and watch movies at home now.
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    I found some information on the net regarding the Concept 2 rowing machines. They require 8' x 2' when assembled, but a 9' x 4' area while in use. That's a lot of real estate to give up in the average home gym for one piece of cardio equipment.

    Last weekend, I tried jumping rope for the first time in 30 years. I think that might be one of the most overlooked, best value for the money pieces of cardio equipment out there!
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    Originally Posted by cndGuy View Post
    I found some information on the net regarding the Concept 2 rowing machines. They require 8' x 2' when assembled, but a 9' x 4' area while in use. That's a lot of real estate to give up in the average home gym for one piece of cardio equipment.

    Last weekend, I tried jumping rope for the first time in 30 years. I think that might be one of the most overlooked, best value for the money pieces of cardio equipment out there!
    You must have missed that part where it says that it stands up or breaks down in two pieces for away storage!
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    Originally Posted by cndGuy View Post
    I found some information on the net regarding the Concept 2 rowing machines. They require 8' x 2' when assembled, but a 9' x 4' area while in use. That's a lot of real estate to give up in the average home gym for one piece of cardio equipment.

    Last weekend, I tried jumping rope for the first time in 30 years. I think that might be one of the most overlooked, best value for the money pieces of cardio equipment out there!
    like hardkore said, it comes apart for storage. i usually leave mine alone, but if i need the extra room i take it apart and stand it up.

    jumping rope is great, too, i don't do it enough. that is the only other cardio i do in my gym. pulling a sled is awesome, too, when it's nice outside. i am not dedicated enough to do it in the rain/snow/freezing weather.
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    Originally Posted by HardKore79 View Post
    You must have missed that part where it says that it stands up or breaks down in two pieces for away storage!
    I saw photo's of them being stored folded up. Is it quick and easy to do - pull one pin and fold up kinda thing? The whole unit weighs something like 65 pounds so shuffling it into the middle of the room doesn't sound any worse than moving benches around, but I wouldn't want to fart around too much with setting it up and tearing it down every time I wanted to use it.
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    Originally Posted by cndGuy View Post
    I saw photo's of them being stored folded up. Is it quick and easy to do - pull one pin and fold up kinda thing? The whole unit weighs something like 65 pounds so shuffling it into the middle of the room doesn't sound any worse than moving benches around, but I wouldn't want to fart around too much with setting it up and tearing it down every time I wanted to use it.
    Its got wheels also. And yes it is just a pin. The unit stands up also without breaking it down.
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