When you’re rollerblading, your legs are cycling forward and back with your feet briefly leaving the floor as your foot shoots forward. As a result, you’re given a cardiovascular workout without placing significant impact stress on your joints. There are a number of pieces of exercise equipment that simulate rollerblading, including the skate machine, which most-closely resembles rollerblading. In addition, the elliptical machine, the ski machine and the Wave unit share similarities to rollerblading.
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A Look at Rollerblading
Although your hips and legs take on most of the workload, muscles throughout the body are involved when you’re rollerblading. Your legs cycle forward and then back and slightly out to the sides repeatedly. At the same time, your arms swing forward and back. Your glutes are responsible for driving your legs back and then your legs come forward again due to activation of your hip flexors. Your quadriceps and hamstrings are responsible for the slight bend and extension at your knees that occurs with each stride. Your shoulder muscles control your arm swings.
The main piece of exercise equipment that is similar to rollerblading is the cardiovascular skate machine, which is designed specifically to simulate rollerblading. Instead of your legs gliding forward and back, your feet, set upon pedals, push side-to-side like they do when you’re skating. Unlike the other pieces of exercise equipment, on the skate machine, each pedal moves independently. You push off your trailing foot, which is the technique used when rollerblading. While there are handles provided to better simulate rollerblading, keep your hands free and swing your arms side-to-side as you would when skating. You can increase the resistance placed on the pedals or skate faster to increase the intensity of your workout.
Most gyms have a variety of elliptical machines, including some that involve holding stationary handles while your legs cycle and others that feature moving handles that slide forward and back. When you’re exercising on an elliptical machine, your legs drive forward and back, which is similar to how they move when you’re rollerblading. The pedals move in the shape of an ellipse, so as they travel forward, they also rise slightly. As they travel back, the simultaneously lower. As a result, your knee joints flex and extend with each cycle while your feet never lose contact with the pedals. When rollerblading, your arms swing forward and backward, so the elliptical machine with the moving handles better simulates rollerblading than the one with the stationary handles. Increasing the resistance and the incline on the elliptical machine can simulate rollerblading up an inclined street.
The ski machine more closely mimics cross-country skiing, but movements at the legs and arms are also similar to rollerblading. With your feet strapped into the pedals, your legs glide directly forward and backward. Unlike the elliptical machine, the pedals remain on a completely flat surface. As a result, there is very little flexion at the knees that occurs. As your feet glide, your arms remain straight and simultaneously swing forward and backward.
Although not as common as the elliptical machine, the Wave machine is similar in that it features pedals that your legs propel forward and backward. The Wave is even more similar to rollerblading, however, because when your feet press backward they also slide slightly outward. This movement at the feet simulates how your feet slide back and out when you’re rollerblading. You can hold onto the stationary handle bars of the Wave unit or keep your hands feet so you can swing your arms like you would when rollerblading.