Safety Considerations for Introducing the EFX® to Active Aging Clients
The EFX® has long been a great option for exercisers looking for a lower impact alternative to the treadmill. With the new Converging CrossRamp® technology, Precor has introduced an entirely new element that contributes to the ease and comfort of use for exercisers of all ages and ability levels. Beyond this feature is a wide range of additional components that provide a feeling of security for the exerciser from entering the EFX to operating it through a workout. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you to establish a safe training environment when working with older adults on the EFX:
Take Advantage of the Converging CrossRamp
The CrossRamp automatically returns to its lowest level at the end of each workout, moving from top to bottom in less than 40 seconds. This allows each user to enter and exit the unit safely and comfortably without hesitation. Prior to entering the EFX, make sure that your clients are comfortable with the step-up height by testing their range of motion using the 2-Minute Step Test guidelines. A good rule of thumb is to be sure that your older adult clients are comfortable lifting each leg with a bent knee above the mid-point of the opposite shin with or without upper body support. Additionally, the ability to transfer weight laterally with confidence will play a large roll in entering the EFX. If your client is not ready after your evaluation, refer to the “Preparing your Older Adult Clients for Upright Cardio Training” program for tips in building strength, stability, and range of motion prior to introducing them to the EFX.
Using the Open Access Pedals
Entering the EFX has never been more comfortable with the lateral pedal opening. This has eliminated the need for the exerciser to step over a raised edge on the pedals and has provided added confidence in user stability when stepping on and off. Individuals with limited range of motion will certainly appreciate this feature. Be sure to introduce your older clients to the EFX by allowing them to hold onto the stationary grip while performing movements such as single leg toe taps on the open pedal, progressing to single leg step ups before fully entering the unit. This will provide your client with added confidence that they have the strength and range of motion to enter the unit safely.
Hold the Rodeo Grip
Working with your client to locate the most appropriate grip placement is key to winning their confidence and ensuring positive body awareness when using the EFX. You will likely want to begin by having your client grip the stationary handles while slowly pedaling. This will allow your client to get comfortable with the movement pattern and the converging pedal motion while providing upper body stability through the stationary grip. You will want to progress your client to using the moving handles when he or she feels completely balanced and comfortable with their core strength and ability to move without a constant and stable touch point.
Rikli RE, Jones CJ (1999). Functional fitness normative scores for community residing older adults ages 60-94. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 7, 160-179.