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My theory on the arm things on ellipticals..

So I've had my new elliptical for a little over a month..and after using it's included chest strap HRM and watching what my HR does when I alter my workout (incline, resistance, speed, etc etc), I've come to the conclusion that the arm things on ellipticals are mostly there to help raise your heart rate / stimulate blood flow..

Unless you're actively fighting them by pulling and pushing in the opposite direction of the way their moving, I don't really see any other use for them..

They don't require much muscle at all to hold on to them, and my arms have never gotten tired by holding them.. but I have noticed my HR will drop a couple of bpm when I let them go, and it'll go back up when I grab back on. Now this is w/all other factors being as constant as possible.. but yep..that's my theory..

What's yours??


  • shovav91
    shovav91 Posts: 2,335 Member
    That is exactly why they're there! The more muscles you're using, the more calories you will burn. :D
  • jamja
    jamja Posts: 190
    ^^ agree
  • koosdel
    koosdel Posts: 3,317 Member
  • Dave198lbs
    Dave198lbs Posts: 8,810 Member
    moving is better than not moving
  • ajbeans
    ajbeans Posts: 2,857 Member
    They're also to keep you from falling over. There aren't many (if any) situations in life where you move your legs like that without moving, so it's hard to keep your balance.
  • CMmrsfloyd
    CMmrsfloyd Posts: 2,383 Member
    Yep keeping your arms up and moving helps get your heartrate up. That's why I do punches and various other arm movements with small weights when I'm on the treadmill. More work = better calorie burn. :-)
  • liveinthemix
    liveinthemix Posts: 360 Member
    Oh yes.. the balance!! That too..
  • chyloet
    chyloet Posts: 196 Member
    I agree. I often push and pull on the handles accordingly using my arm muscles INSTEAD of focusing on my leg muscles to create the movement of the foot pedals.(Did the way I worded that make sense?) Anyhow, that's my 2cents for what it's worth ( probably about 2 cents.?) lol!
  • slacker80
    slacker80 Posts: 235 Member
    Hmm..I never even thought about it, but it does give me a great warmup before hitting the weights.
  • mznisaelaine
    mznisaelaine Posts: 2,262 Member
    I do like the arm things so I use an elliptical without it... But I do pump my arms when doing it...
  • shoshi68
    shoshi68 Posts: 407 Member
    I find pumping the arms makes it easier for my legs when I am working at high resistance. After such a workout, I feel it in my shoulders and chest. Love the elliptical - so much easier on my bad knee.
  • gtwin
    gtwin Posts: 290 Member
    I've never liked using those things....I feel like such a spazz if I'm doing speed intervals and grabbing them. The only time I don't feel like an idiot using them is if I'm on the highest incline and intensity setting where I'm at a normal pace.
  • shivaslives
    shivaslives Posts: 279 Member
    It definitely helps with coordination and balance and keeping the BPM up. However, if you use a random program or crank up the resistance for any reason, you will be glad that you have the arms to help you power through that interval. You can get an excellent upper body workout them or if you focus on the arms for resistance. I've had both types of ellipticals (with and without arm movement) and I'd take the "with" everytime.
  • ashnm88
    ashnm88 Posts: 748
    For proper use of the elliptical your suppose to use the arms that move. It was on CityNews (Toronto news station) this past week. Talking about proper use of exercise machines. If your not doing the full exercise as in using the moving arms your not getting the benefit of the workout. Also helps your posture, which is important when exercising.
  • AmyG1982
    AmyG1982 Posts: 1,040 Member
    I read an article the other day that said using the arm things on any machines makes it so you don't engage yoru core muscles as much and can actually be worse for your work out... even if its the arms that move... just something to think about...

    Ha! Finally found the link
  • katatak1
    katatak1 Posts: 261 Member
    You know, it's funny- I use the arm things in an odd way and it actually gives my heart rate a pretty good jump. My toes get numb on the elliptical (my physical therapist says that's a pretty normal complaint, and nothing to worry about), so I have to shake them to make the numbness go away. Instead of stopping and "pausing," I just lift my foot up and work the arm parts really, really hard. I can usually keep the same pace without stopping my workout. Plus, it boosts my bpm by about 4 or 5 beats :)