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Weight Loss
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Elliptical moving arm bars - use them or not?

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I usually hold on to nothing when I'm on the elliptical and do a jogging motion (using my core muscles to balance I guess?). 

Do you burn more calories using the moving bars or holding nothing?  Anyone know?

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using the bars, actually if you are not holding them the burn is totally off because they are factored in...

I never use them and I feel like I get a better workout because of it. It slows me down to use them.

If you move your arms as if you were running you should burn what your machine suggests. If you don't you will be burning less, banna-anna is correct it is factored in to the calculations. At the end of the day simply getting on your machine is what actually does the real work so if you get on it and not using the arms makes you want to do it again then leave them. Whatever works for you.

Most people like ellipticals because of the upperbody advantage (aside from the low impact). I use a bike and I have to say the difference is very noticable.

Tcole03 point is very valid, if you are slower using the arms then I would guess you are better off not to but all of this is my experience/best guess. I am not an expert.

I never liked to use them..I hated them for some reason. Not sure if it slowed me down or just annoyed me. Sometimes too, I felt my heartrate increased too fast for my liking with them since it does add even more of a cardio effect.

Back when I was in the gym every single week day, I used the machine for 30-40 minutes, and definitely had great results even without the arm bar.

I think you just have to do whatever works for you, but the calories burned at the end may not be accurate without the bars. If your goal is to do cardio x minutes each time, then it shouldn't matter..if your goal is the calories burned, then I suppose you could spend a few extra minutes with weights to make up for the swinging bar things.

Careful, too..those things will whack you if you don't pay attention lol

Original Post by benwells98:

Most people like ellipticals because of the upperbody advantage (aside from the low impact). I use a bike and I have to say the difference is very noticable.



That's how I feel.  Arm muscles ftw!

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Thanks for all your responses :)

Well, my goal for the elliptical was to burn calories and to build endurance so I can go run outside in the summer (I tried running on pavement and I could only go for like 15 seconds before I completely lost my breath - lol)

I'll just try doing my next workout entirely with the bars and see how I feel physically.

One more opinion here!

I usually don't hold the handles and pump my arms along with it in the jogging motion - I am just too short to comfortably hold on to those bars (I believe made for taller people!) for an entire workout.

BUT - I will use the handles if I want to push or pull and use my arm muscles for a little variation in the cardio movement.

I think you're fine either way - but just make sure that you don't hang off the stationary handles. Watching people with that kind of bad form on cardio machines makes me so angry!!!!

7 Replies