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Holding Onto Handles of Cardio Equipment Significantly Decreases Calories Burned

Another Reason to Let Go

I don't need to tell you that I am pro cardio, and using cardio machines at the gym is a great way to get your heart rate up. However, you really need to avoid holding on to those handles. Not only is it bad for your posture and body mechanics since people tend to slouch when they use the handles, but hanging onto the rails actually reduces the total number of calories burned by 40 to 50 percent.

This is true for the treadmill as well as the stair-stepper. By not supporting yourself using the handles you are forcing your body to expend more energy and burn more calories. You are also forcing your core to work and support you as you move on the machine.

So let go! Or at least alternate every minute or two while you become accustomed to not holding the rails. If you feel a little unsteady read this post: Why Feel The "Y": Core Concepts. It will help you connect to your center and help your balance as you exercise.


Join The Conversation
sparklestar sparklestar 9 years
Everybody hangs on to the stairmaster... it's like.. dangerous otherwise?
Arthur Arthur 9 years
forget letting go. just get off. put on some warm clothes and go outside! :)
AngelGrl135 AngelGrl135 9 years
great tip! i always hold on to the stair stepper, so letting go will be hard but ill try!!!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
So that's why people tell me to let go of the handle bars! Bad for the posture!
Tamma1387 Tamma1387 9 years
wow, 40 to 50 percent! I'll have to try it, I just hope I don't fall off the elliptical machine. wouldn't that be a sight!?
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i always thought that i was burning more when i was holding on while on the elliptical - it tones my arms more - so i hope that's not the case with that machine. the others - i can kind of understand it
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
I LET GO for the first time (first FULL time) on the stair master. I had to put the resistant level down to a 6! HA, but I felt it more all over my body. I LOVED it because it was true to life. You have to stabalize and use every muscle...fantastic. Although, it was REALLY difficult.
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
I can't let go.
gumdrops334 gumdrops334 9 years
I never hold on when I'm on the treadmill, but I can't let go on an elliptical. If I do, I feel like I'm going to fall off!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
The guys at the gym always amde fun of my when I held on so I never do!
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
i wudnt think it'd b true for elliptical and arc trainer 'cos there u r movin ur hands and burnin more calories than u wud otherwise
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
thts great info...i'll have to learn to let go :)
millarci millarci 9 years
Is this true for the elliptical and arc trainer?!? eek!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I watched the Biggest Loser marathon over the weekend and I remember Jillian mentioning this and screaming at people to let go. Ha.
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