Posted by: Noleen | 2010-07-30

Is it OK to Krank?

Hi Fitness Doc

I cannot tell you how much I value your articles and the advice you give - so thank you very much! You make so much sense all the time.
There is a new piece of equipment in the gym I use called a Krankcycle. My cardio sessions of 45 mins 4x per week consist of 20 mins walking on the treadmill at a 1,5% incline, 10 mins cycling, 10 mins eliptical trainer. I make sure I''m warm enough to move at a moderate intensity so that I don''t " waste"  my cardio time. I also like to mix things up. Sometimes I do a 5 minute session on the arm ergometer just to " rest"  my legs before I move to the next machine. I''m now thinking of using the Krankcycle and have read quite a bit about it. Obviously, most reports are good and this always makes me sceptical. What do you think of this machine as an addition to what I already do? Is it safe? Can it hurt one''s back or shoulders? I am about 30kgs overwweight, insulin resistant and really struggle to lose even 500g! I always look for new ways to spice up my cardion so that I don''t get bored. Your advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks again! - Noleen

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Noleen

I've not seen this machine - I looked it up online and of course, as you say, there's a lot of marketing material about it and that's always dodgy to believe!

The principle behind the machine is pretty explanatory though. it's just an arm cycle, nothing revolutionary (though the variety is obviously good), and it's another tool that possibly helps people get more from their training.

Injury risks? Of course, but none that jump out as a huge possibility. Overuse will always increase risk of injury and the shoulders are "risky" because it's not a super stable joint. You'd have to be careful about how you start, because if you go straight in and overdo it, then you can cause inflammation and overuse injury. However, if you're sensible, as you will have been when you started other exercises like walking, then your body will adapt and you'll get stronger. The trick is to figure out what you can handle early and then not cross that invisible line.

I'd say that 10 minutes to begin with will be safe, provided it is at a level you can manage. Yu're experienced enough to know how exercise is meant to "feel" and so you will be able to gauge how hard to go. Limit this intensity to 10 minutes, maybe twice in the first few weeks and you'll be OK, I believe.

I wouldn't make the machine the focus of your training, because when you use small muscle groups like the arms, the overall energy use is lower than if you use leg muscles when you cycle or run. So for weight loss, 10 minutes of running or cycling beats 10 minutes on the Krankcycle. But for variety, it's worth a try, and it's easy to stop doing if you either don't feel it's working or you don't enjoy it.

Good luck

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