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Tips and Hints for using Cardio Vascular Machines

By Pete Griggs Personal Training in Surrey

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Dear Friend,

In this article I will be giving you some useful tips and hints for using cardio vascular (CV) machines.

I see a lot of people in the gym using incorrect technique on CV equipment, not only do you run the risk of injury but you also won’t be able to perform at you best, making it harder to yourself.

Before I begin I need to say that these tips and hints are not strict rules. Equipment varies from gym to gym and so do people, if you are unsure check with the instructors at your gym of email me

Ok lets get started with everybody’s favourite the Treadmill!


Tip 1. Elevation, not the U2 song but the hill you are running up.  Always have a little bit of elevation when running on a treadmill, it gives you something to run against.  When you run outside you have wind resistance pushing against you and this makes it harder for you to run. If you run into a strong head wind you’ll know it is very hard to run.  In the gym there is no wind, so to compensate for this set the elevation between 1-2.5. This will stop you from just bouncing along on the treadmill with nothing to push against.

Tip 2. Lift your arms and Keep you head high.  When running on the treadmill keep you forearms tucked in under your chest, don’t let them flop down by your hips, this is a more efficient way to run.  Keep your head high too don’t run along looking at your feet.  A lot of people look at their feet when they first get on the treadmill because they are worried about falling off and never get out of the habit, so relax your shoulders and look straight ahead.

Tip 3.  Stay light on you feet. You have probably heard someone running on the treadmill from the other side of the gym, why can you hear them? Because they are bashing their feet down on the treadmill BOOM BOOM BOOM!. Do this long enough and you will end up with sore ankles and knees.  Make sure when you are running on the treadmill that your feet hit the track very lightly, this may take a bit of practice but it will be worth it as you will be able to run longer.

Rowing Machine

Tip 1.  Keep you back Straight.  I’ve seen so many people on the rowing machine all hunched over, this is bad for your back and will inhibit you breathing. Keep you back straight and lean back slightly, this will help you row faster.

Tip 2. Resistance and Stroke Rate. A lot of people get on the rowing machine and think “Yeah I’m tough” and stick it on full resistance.  A better way to do it is to drop the resistance by one or two and increase the stoke rate (how fast you are going back and forward).  Most rowers will display your stoke rate, ask an instructor if your not sure where it is displayed. Find out what rate you normally row at then add 4 to it. If you normally row and 25-26 Strokes per Minute try keeping the stroke rate above 30. Dropping the resistance and increasing the stoke rate is a good way to improve you cardio fitness.


Tip 1. Have the ball of your foot on the pedal.  When setting up the bike adjust the toe straps so that the ball of your foot (big lump behind your big toe) is in the centre of the pedal. This is the optimum position for your calf muscles to generate the most amount of force when cycling.

Tip 2. Make you legs go in circles.  You can use the toe straps on bike to lift the pedal, when one foot is pushing down get the other one to lift up. Try and imagine your feet going in circles when you are pedalling rather than just pushing down. This will help you pedal faster.

Cross Trainer

Tip 1. Stand tall.  This is another machine that people have a habit of hunching over on, keep you head high and you back straight at all times to avoid and injuries.

Tip 2. Arm height. If the cross trainers in your gym have bars for your arms to push and pull on make sure you hold them just below the height of the top of your shoulder.  If you hold them too high then the machine will pull you out of position all the time, too low and your arms won’t be able to push and pull properly.


Tip 1.  Hold on lightly with your hands.  A lot of people when using the stepper rest all their weight on the arms. Make sure you hold on lightly with you hands and let your legs take the weight of your body. Take the resistance level down if you can’t hold on lightly as you probably have it too high.

If you relate to what I am saying and feel you need help in this area why not book a personal training session with me to get you started the right way.  I can explain to you how to apply these principles to your workouts and get you using them properly to benefit you.  Personal training in London and Surrey with me will help you achieve your goals of weight loss and fitness.

To book a session or for comments and questions call or email me:


Phone: 07947 049889

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Until next time keep training and keep Improving!

Pete Griggs

Ps don’t forget to tell you friends!

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Please Read Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the above articles are those of the authors and theirs alone. Information in the articles is not to be taken as medical advice, please consult you doctor before undertaking any type of exercise programme especially if you have any medical conditions.

Personal Training in London Pete Griggs
Personal Training in London Pete Griggs
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