%PM, %27 %825 %2016 %13:%Jan

A New Way to GO

Written by Betsy Graney PT, DPT
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eliptigoIs pain keeping you from running or walking?  Does riding a bicycle hurt your back or give you ‘saddle sore’? Are you bored on the cardio machines at the gym or at home? Are you looking to improve your time in your next race? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the ElliptiGO may be the tool for you.

What is it:  Think bicycle plus elliptical machine.  The ElliptiGO was invented in Southern California and came to the market around 2010.  It has the familiar bicycle components (handlebars for steering, hand brakes, gears, two wheels) with a stride similar to the elliptical machine.  The stride is very comfortable and smooth.  It is slightly longer and narrower than the average indoor machine to match your running stride better. The handle bars and stride length can be adjusted to accommodate heights of 5’ 0” to 6'8". 

What the research says:

A recent research study by Rendler and colleagues found that workouts on ElliptiGO improve cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in line with fitness industry standards and American College of Sports Medicine guidelines.  (You can read the full article here)

ElliptiGO riding expends 33% more energy compared to cycling at the same speed.

ElliptiGO also conducted many case studies with their elite athletes that you can check out.

Who uses it?

The ElliptiGO is a useful tool for all runners and fitness enthusiasts.  Elite runners are using it to supplement their training and achieve their goals.  Former runners who are unable to run due to pain use it to get the ‘runner’s high’ and build fitness without pain.  Injured runners use it in their rehabilitation to keep fit while allowing their injuries to heal.

If you do not have pain, the ElliptiGO can supplement your training to improve your cardiovascular fitness without the impact that running puts on your body.  Recovery is an important part of training.  You can add additional training time without putting excessive stress on your body.  My friend Tina Muir, an elite marathon runner, posted a blog about the benefits of cross training for runners.  You can check it out here.

betsy eliptigoAs a sponsored athlete, I use the ElliptiGO 1-3 times a week during my training for track and road races.  It allows me extra training time, without as much stress to my tendons and joints.  It helped me to reach the final of the USA outdoor track and field championships in the 3000m steeplechase this summer.   I’m currently rehabilitating and Achilles tendon injury and use the ElliptiGO 3-5 days per week along with other forms of cross training (cycling, swimming, aqua jogging) to help my injury heal and allow me to return to running stronger.  In the winter, I use a stationary trainer when it is impossible to ride outside due to the snow, ice and freezing temperatures.

Why I love it:

  • It is FUN.  I genuinely enjoy riding it around.  I used to dread my time in the gym on my off-days from running, but I look forward to ElliptiGO days.
  • It’s a great workout that gives you the feeling of running.  You go faster and farther than you could if you were running.
  • It lets you stand up.  You can see your surroundings better than on a bicycle.  Because of this posture, your back, neck and shoulders are happier. You use your core muscles and can feel them working.
  • You get lots of questions and stares while you ride.  People, especially kids, are curious what kind of contraption you’re standing on.
  • There’s a great online community.  Check out groups on facebook and strava for support, motivation, ideas and group rides.  The ElliptiGO support team is always available if you have questions or problems. They truly love their product and are passionate about helping others enjoy it as well.

Similarly to bicycling on the road, make sure you put safety first.  If you have difficulty balancing, check in with your doctor or physical therapist to make sure it would be safe for you to ride.  Remember to wear a helmet, follow the rules of the road, and stay on pavement.  Get a lesson from a trained person on riding techniques and maintenance.  PTA Amy Pisz wrote a great blog post about bicycle safety, so check that out if you haven’t already.

Links to more resources:

ElliptiGO website: http://www.elliptigo.com/   Training plans can be found here: http://www.elliptigo.com/Train

American Home Fitness (Local retailer): http://www.americanhomefitness.com/

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