Ellipticals are stationary machines that simulate running or walking, and they are low-impact alternatives to jogging and treadmills if used properly. Bad posture while on the elliptical will prevent you from getting the full benefit of your workout, and possibly cause pain and stiffness later. Maintaining proper posture will help you avoid injury while still getting a rewarding workout.
Back and Spine
Maintain proper alignment while using the elliptical by keeping your spine in a neutral stance, with your shoulders pulled back and your head held high. Keep your chin straight, abdominals tight and arms relaxed. Standing up straight may feel awkward at first, but after enough repetitions it should feel more natural, as it provides the best support for the body. Slouching or crouching over may feel better initially, but if your body is out of alignment, you will not get the full benefit of the workout.
Hands and Arms
Some ellipticals have arm handles that you slide back and forth in a motion resembling cross country skiing, while others have stationary rails to help you maintain your balance. Grip the handles lightly for balance while allowing your legs to do most of the work. Pull both of your shoulders down and back as you grip the handles, and check that your shoulders and hips are still facing the front. Do not lean forward or grip the handles too tightly.
For a better workout on your trunk and legs, drop your hands to your sides. This will work out your core muscles as you strive to maintain balance while pedaling.
Place your feet on the pedals, lining up the insides of your feet with the inside edges of the pedals. Keep your hips aligned to the front for best results.
Working out effectively on an elliptical machine requires a simultaneous movement of your arms and legs. Adjust the tension setting to keep your movements smooth and fluid. If your body starts to bounce, increase the machine's resistance setting.
Todd Maternowski began writing in 1996 as one of the co-founders of "The Chicago Criterion." He joined the local online news revolutionaries at Pegasus News in 2006, where he continues to work to this day. He studied religion at the University of Chicago.