Boy have I got some cool insights, tips and tricks to share with you in this post about cardio machines, lets dive straight in…
Too Many Machines that look like Transformers…
When you walk into a commercial gym (pat on the back by the way for even turning up!) your surrounded by machines, you’ve got this gargantuan looking thing in the corner that looks like something out of the transformers movie…
You’ve got these fancy vibrating plates that rumble like an earthquake, army ropes, tractor tyre’s, cardio machines, the free weights area – full of burly men grunting and throwing weights around like some Soviet powerlifter!
It’s hard to keep up. A new machine pops up every week! (well it does in my gym!)
For the novice to intermediate gym goer these new gimmicks can haze you like a kid in the toy shop…there’s just too many toys to play with!
Questions pop up at the speed of light…
- What machine should I use?
- What does this machine do?
- How long should I do it for?
- How fast should I go?
- What resistance should I use?
Ahh! confused.com! Don’t worry though because i’m going to help you gain some clarity…
Cardiovascular Fitness in a Nutshell…
“The capacity of the cardiovascular system (heart, lungs and vessels) to efficiently supply oxygenated blood to working muscles, as well as the muscles to use the oxygen delivered by the blood supply as a source of energy for movement (1)”
In other words, the definition of cardiovascular fitness is ‘how well and efficiently your blood circulates through your body’
Today were going to keep it SIMPLE and focus solely on cardio machines (I’ll write a another article on the best ‘weight machines’ – so stayed tuned). Cardio can be super effective, boosting health, fitness and well being, not to mention shedding layers of body fat and re-shaping your body. Let’s take a look at some popular machines…
Also known as ‘the Deadmill’ (Joe Wicks) – haha this tickles me!
The moving conveyor belt… that surges blood around your body faster than a McLaren F1, forces sweat to leak from every pore, and largely obliterates your joints! Yep I said it… the ‘deadmill’ will destroy your joints more than any other cardio machine, especially if your carrying a few extra pounds of weight (the heavier you are the more impact).
If you have any of the following: flat feet, dodgy knees, a bad back, arthritis, hip pain… there’s a high likelihood that the treadmill will exacerbate these issues. It’s a bit like repeatedly banging a stick against a wall… sooner or later something is going to break (stole this one from Phil Learney! thanks Phil!).
If you do run…
Better to run on grass than on concrete, better still to run on a treadmill – as the surface is more consistent, and better yet still would be to use a Woodway Curve treadmill as the design promotes better running technique and dampens impact.
I’m not saying stay clear of treadmills but be aware of the trade offs. If you want to be a runner then it’s pretty essential to run right? however if your goal is fat loss/body recomposition you’d largely be better off using lower impact machines…
You don’t have to be a 5 gold medal Olympian like ‘Steve Redgrave’ (Google him – he’s a beast!) to benefit from rowing. Rowing machines are great because they pretty much work the entire body (back, legs, arms). It’s also a low impact activity which is more forgiving on the joints – Top 10 Benefits of Using a Rowing Machine
Great for increasing circulation around your entire body as your working both the arm and leg muscles – which increases full body blood flow, helping to mobilise fat from both the upper and lower body more efficiently – 6 Reasons You Should Exercise with a Cross Trainer
A great piece of kit for sculpting the legs (thighs, bum and calves). Low impact. Steppers burn a significant number of calories. If you are overweight and you use a stepper on a regular basis, you can reduce your weight and lower your risk factors for diseases. A 180 lb. person can burn more than 730 calories with 60 minutes of stepping.
Bradley Wiggins in the gym! Cycling is another fantastic way to bolster cardiovascular fitness. Need I say again… it’s low impact, sculpts the legs and provides you with a post workout surge of endorphins that leaves you feeling on top of the world. Try my 30km challenge (30k in 60 minutes on resistance level 6) – It’s brutal, let me know when you complete it!
The best cardio machine EVER…
So what is the best cardio machine? well that depends largely on your goal and level of fitness.
Come on Nick! give us your opinion?
NO1# The cross trainer is the best machine in my opinion, due to it’s low impact nature and mobilisation of upper and lower body fuel to maximise fat loss results. I also find it’s very easy to get into a rhythm. The rowing machine comes in at a close 2nd, and 3rd place is the fitness bike.
We know cardio can be used as a tool to burn fat and get fit but what type of cardio you do, how long you do it for and what machine you pick will depend on what your looking to achieve.
To be honest all of the cardio machines mentioned in this post can be used to great effect, the most important thing is to turn up and train regularly (at least 4x per week) and your cardio will improve. For variety, and to spice up your workouts you could use a mixture of machines just make sure to track your workouts and ensure you keep challenging yourself.
Cardio can be short and intense (HIIT) or done slowly and for a longer period (LISS) – click here to learn more about HIIT & LISS + Try some of my FREE cardio workouts
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