No doubt you will start by asking me why you would need a cardio machine. And the question is not useless because this subject is often debated by bodybuilding enthusiasts.
First, you should know that a home gym machine dedicated to cardio can help you:
- Burn your fat;
- Gain muscle.
In general, the first point does not shock anyone, since most people do cardio to lose weight. But few people realize that doing cardio at home can also help build muscle. You will know more after reading this article.
But let’s get straight to the heart of the matter…
Table of Contents
- Which home gym machine to choose for cardio?
- Our articles on cardio equipment
- Things to check before investing in a sports device
- What is the best home gym machine?
- A smartwatch to track your progress
- Why do cardio in addition to strength training?
- Questions to ask yourself before buying cardio equipment
- Conclusion on home cardio equipment
Which home gym machine to choose for cardio?
To break the suspense right away, you should know that the best home gym equipment for cardio training is according to most experts:
And even if it is not a sports machine, I add to this list the importance of equipping yourself with a connected fitness watch. You will see later that this is a real additional motivating factor, a bit like having a coach available 24 hours a day.
Our articles on cardio equipment
For more on cardio equipment, here are some other blog posts to check out:
Things to check before investing in a sports device
With so much equipment available, choosing the right machine can seem like a daunting task. Understanding the benefits offered by each piece of equipment can help you choose the option that best suits your fitness goals.
If you have a medical history or haven't exercised in a long time, it's also important to have a conversation with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine. This will help you determine a personalized workout program that's right for you.
What is the best home gym machine?
Here I present to you the most used cardio training equipment in the world, whether indoors or at home. I want to clarify that the order in which they are classified has nothing to do with a value judgment. Each of them can help you reach your goals, although I personally prefer the elliptical trainer and the stepper climber.
This machine is fantastic for doing a full-body session because it works 86 % of muscles in a single movement! You can burn up to 700 calories in an hour.
If you want an effective workout for your cardiovascular system, look no further than the home rower. It takes coordinated upper and lower body effort, as well as good muscular and aerobic endurance to string together the rowing strokes (so to speak).
Plus, it's low impact, so you get the same cardiovascular benefits of running, but without straining your joints.
During your session, you will have worked the following muscles:
- Hamstrings (back of thighs)
- Abdominal strap
As it is a rowing movement, it is obvious that the rower works the back muscles more than any other muscle group. And as you know, you need a strong back.
For me, the weak point of the rowing machine compared to the elliptical trainer or the climber is the lack of solicitation of the pectorals and triceps... and its somewhat off-putting side if it is not equipped with a resistance program variable.
NOTE : You have to perform the movement correctly to get the most out of it. Start with a low resistance to get used to.
How to start with a rowing machine
You can alternate 30 seconds of effort with 30 seconds of rest. Thus, you will do 15 minutes of exercise in half an hour, or 30 sets in total.
You may not have much respect for the elliptical section of your gym, but that's a mistake. If you choose a suitable program, you can burn pounds of fat on this device… and tone your muscles with a suitable program.
Like rowers, ellipticals have low impact on the ankle and knee joints as well as the back. They are even more recommendable than the rower if you have weak lumbar muscles.
The muscles worked are also the same as on the rower, with the difference that the elliptical trainer will solicit the triceps if you use significant resistance. You can absolutely force with the arms at the same time as with the legs in a movement of pulling / pushing on the handles. But to get there, you absolutely have to choose a high quality home gym equipment.
Read my comparison of the best elliptical trainers of the year if you are really looking for a quality model.
How to do cardio with an elliptical trainer
To optimize calorie burn, use the programs included on most modern ellipticals. These are often designed to intensify weight loss, using intervals to automatically change resistance level, speed and stride length.
NOTE : By also pedaling in reverse, you can increase muscular work and optimize calorie expenditure.
Here are also some good models available at Amazon right now:
Do you know why trainers love this home gym machine?
This is because you can't cheat once you're on it. You have to get to work and climb to the top of the mountain 😉
Although this cardio machine may look like an instrument of torture, it is endorsed by many trainers and celebrities whose names I will withhold. Which makes sense given that this home gym machine works the whole body with particular emphasis on the legs and trunk.
How to start cardio training on a climber
Start with 10 sets of 20 seconds each with a 20-30 second rest in between. Then, after a two to three minute break, repeat for another eight to ten sets. Later, the easiest way to increase the difficulty is to simply increase the resistance.
The prices of stepper-climbers hurt the wallet
The problem is that prices soar quickly for this home cardio machine when you go upmarket. The reason is that it is very technical material as you can see in this video on the Sole CC81 :
Exercise bike or Spin bike
The exercise bike is a very popular home sports machine to promote weight loss. Indeed, it allows particularly intense exercises… provided you pay the price.
No more old exercise bikes with a simple rope belt to brake the wheel with more or less efficiency. The new models are more technical and connected for crazy sessions... but also more expensive.
Why Coaches Love It: The heart works hard, especially with all the spinning class available! But it will also give your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings a winning workout. And like every homemade sports device in this article, the bike does not stress the joints.
The first cardio sessions on a spin bike
Go to YouTube and type in “spinning for beginners” or “spinning for beginners” if English doesn't put you off. Try some beginner workouts and progress slowly. Look for 25-30 minute sessions. You can also choose standard workouts and just follow it with low resistance so you don't burn out.
If you want to take it to the next level, start taking intermediate or advanced classes which are longer and more intense. You will find sessions of 45 minutes for example.
Why use a spin bike rather than a real bike outdoors?
While an outdoor bike ride can be great exercise, cycling on a home gym machine like an exercise bike or spin bike gives you more control over your pace and level of difficulty.
NOTE : To burn more calories, vary the intensity with interval training or HIIT. Alternating periods of high resistance pedaling with fast low resistance pedaling triggers a natural phenomenon called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. This allows the body to continue burning calories for 48-72 hours.
Several studies have found this device to be the most effective for weight loss.
Why Trainers Love It: You can walk, jog, sprint, and even increase the incline for hill running, making this a super effective piece of equipment for all types of cardio conditioning.
Personally, I'm not a fan of this homemade sports machine because the upper body is not used. But for someone who wants to burn fat, this is the best choice!
What I like, however, is that the sports mat forces you to stand. This is a strong point because 90 % of the population sits all day, and therefore this makes it possible to reverse this trend.
Another advantage is that this cardio device allows you to get back into condition very gently, for example by just walking. The other machines in the list do not offer this possibility. From the outset, they require a greater physical investment.
The first sessions on a treadmill
Start with 30 minutes of walking or jogging with an incline of 1 or 2 %.
If you want to increase the difficulty, just change the incline and speed. To make your session more motivating, change something every minute. For example, you can alternate one minute of sprinting and one minute of walking. Other times you can incline the treadmill to 10 % and alternate between jogging and walking each minute.
NOTE : A treadmill must be of very good quality to be truly effective. The best home gyms in this category are unfortunately quite expensive and take up space if they are not foldable. But cheap devices will quickly make you regret your money and will often be too short.
A smartwatch to track your progress
Today's sedentary lifestyle is referred to by researchers as an obesogenic environment. From cheap industrial foods that are too high in calories or sugar, to urban development that doesn't encourage people to walk, everything is done to make us fat.
However, fitness smartwatches can help you in the fight against the extra pounds. Indeed, as a sports coach would do, they encourage you to move your behind. Many trackers detect your inactivity for long periods of time and let you know it's time to get some physical activity.
And it's not just a gimmick, because these messages work. In an interview with Wired magazine, Shelton Yuen, vice president of research at Fitbit, reported the results of a study of users who received at least 6 reminders to get up and move each day. They were therefore very sedentary people.
Well, after a few months of using a watch Fitbit, these notifications had decreased by about 40 %, suggesting that users had already changed their habits.
One thing is certain, a connected watch will help you gain regularity for your cardio-training sessions. Plus, they'll help you track and analyze your progress on your chosen home gym machine.
For more information, read the article on 10 best activity trackers of this year.
Why do cardio in addition to strength training?
And yet, adding it to your workouts can actually improve your performance.
Incorporating cardio into your strength program can not only improve your ability to lift heavier, but also promote your muscle development. That's what it says Trevor Thieme, a trainer specializing in strength development.
The reason for this is that the stronger and more efficient your cardiovascular system will become at delivering oxygen and nutrients to working muscles (and removing metabolic waste products from them). As a result, you'll be more powerful on each rep and able to get more done with greater resistance to fatigue. Also, your recovery will be faster between sets and exercises.
How to incorporate cardio sessions into your strength training program
You can either incorporate cardio into one or more of your weekly weight training sessions, or do it in between. If you decide to layer it with strength training, you can add intense sets at the end of the session, or combine the two by doing circuit training or high intensity interval training (HIIT).
For example, it is quite possible to keep moving between sets of bench press, for example to solicit the cardiovascular system. For example, you can get on your spin bike and do a 60-second sprint.
On the other hand, you will end your sessions on the kneecaps. So give yourself 48 hours to recover before your next workout.
These sessions will have the best long-term effects on your fitness and health. Cardio makes your heart stronger, lowers blood pressure and burns calories. But a study of mayo clinic (article in English) shows that regular cardiovascular activity can also reduce stress, improve sleep quality and reduce joint stiffness.
Questions to ask yourself before buying cardio equipment
When buying a sports machine for the home, you must first think about your goals and how this equipment will fit into your training program.
If you're looking to lose weight or simply improve your fitness, you'll need equipment that you can train on at different intensities. You must therefore think about the type of electronic console offered on the device of your choice.
Some useful questions to make the right choice
Check the following points carefully before buying a sports machine:
- Can this piece of equipment handle intervals for intensity and recovery without forcing you to stop along the way?
- Can it reach levels of intensity high enough for your current and future physical abilities?
- Will it support your weight in motion?
- Is it easy to adjust the workload (speed, incline, power, resistance)?
- Do you like this mode of exercise enough to devote time to it several times a week?
This last question is important. For example, if you hate riding a bike because it hurts your behind, don't go on this type of equipment.
Check the quality of the material and the guarantee offered
After choosing the equipment that suits you best, the quality is the most important factor. You must ensure that the equipment will last over time and that it offers a sufficient warranty period.
This is all the more important as the investment is quite large. You will find sports equipment with a 5-year warranty, as is the case with Sportstech.
Conclusion on home cardio equipment
At the risk of rambling, I want to emphasize the importance of the quality of the machine you want to buy.
Remember this advice: Don't buy anything rather than investing in a cardio machine that will squeal or break after a few weeks of use.
Choose equipment that you like and meets the conditions you need to achieve your goals. To summarize this article, here is what I recommend:
- If your goal is only to lose weight or do cardio in addition to weight training, invest in a treadmill or a spin bike;
- If you are looking to tone all of your muscles in addition to reducing your fat reserves, buy an elliptical trainer, a stepper climber or a rowing machine.
And don't forget that you have to be regular to reap all the benefits of cardio training. Do it at least 3 times a week.
Leave a comment below to give your opinion on what you think is the best machine for working out at home or to ask your questions. THANK YOU !
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Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API