Elliptical exercise machines are available for home and commercial use to provide low-impact workouts. While on an elliptical, you use the pedals to make an elliptical pattern with your feet while holding onto the attached ski poles. Budget models typically offer manual resistance to control the difficulty of your workout.
Basics on a Budget
According to Consumer Reports, budget ellipticals typically cost less than $1,000 and include shorter warranty coverage. They have less stability than more expensive models and a limited number of features. Manual elliptical machines typically do not require an outlet to operate. Instead, you can hop on to start using the exercise machine instantly. If the model has a display console to track calories and time spent exercising, it may require batteries to operate.
Knobs and Brackets
To operate a manual elliptical machine, you will have to turn an attached knob. As you turn the knob, a bracket moves a magnet closer to the flywheel to increase your resistance level. If you turn the knob in the opposite direction, resistance decreases. The bracket that moves the magnet toward the flywheel is bolted at one end of the elliptical’s frame. The tension cable at the end of the bracket is used to adjust the resistance level.
Motorized brake resistance systems work in a similar manner to manual resistance systems on elliptical trainers. However, instead of rotating a knob to control the resistance level, you press a button and it moves the magnets closer to or farther from the flywheel. Since this design has more mechanical parts than the manual designs, they tend to cost more and are more difficult to repair.
Care and Safety
When you are through with your elliptical workout, wipe the machine down with a dry towel. If you detect squealing noises, you can apply a dry silicon to the squeaky area -- never use a wet silicon product, though. Follow all safety guidelines as outlined in your owner's manual. Though your elliptical is not motorized, it can still pose safety hazards if not used properly. Always keep children away from your elliptical.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.