Last Updated on November 4, 2021 by Jeff
Elliptical machines have the potential to mix up your workout routine. They become especially handy when you’ve been doing the same thing repeatedly and looking to change things up to challenge yourself or defeat your boredom.
Elliptical trainers have the ability to give you variable resistance levels. Unlike treadmills, they have versatility in giving you adjustable inclines, speeds, and resistance levels that target your entire body, including your arms and core. You can therefore use this excellent machine for a multitude of workout routines.
So, if you’ve been doing the same thing on your elliptical for a while, consider the routines suggested below to spice things up or combine them with your other workouts to have the maximum benefit from your machine.
Feel the Burn
You might have invested in an elliptical machine, which we think is super convenient and can encourage you to keep fit. Some popular models include the Exerpeutic Aero Air elliptical, the Exerpeutic elliptical, and the Sole Fitness E35 elliptical machine, all of which give you a range of workouts that help you change up your routine.
But if you want to feel that burn and maximize your workout, check out the tips below.
20 Minute HIIT Routines
High-intensity interval training has become the proven means by which both calories and muscles simultaneously achieve maximum benefit. In short bursts of 20 minutes, your body can work its hardest and then have a rest period for a few minutes between sets.
- Begin by pedaling at a warm-up pace, setting your elliptical to light resistance mode. Do this for about 5 minutes, after which, set the resistance to the highest level you can sustain without messing up your posture.
- Keep at this level of resistance for about 40 seconds, bearing in mind this is your high interval workout period, so you should try and give it your best effort.
- After 40 seconds, lower the resistance level slightly and start pedaling as fast as you can, focusing on speed in this round of 40 seconds.
- Alternate between high resistance and speed for the whole 20 minutes, and then have a relaxing cool-down, making sure to stretch out your hamstrings to avoid aches later on.
- Once you get used to this routine, you can incorporate incline into the workout and resistance to give you more of a challenge.
You can adapt the above 20-minute interval to any number of minutes that you feel you can sustain. However, it’s recommended to take a HIIT between 10-40 minutes.
One thing to bear in mind is that if you get tired and can’t sustain the set level of resistance and feel breathless, you should decrease resistance.
Interval training is meant to get you out of your comfort zone to try and get you working harder for short bursts of time. So, wire your brain to think about giving it your best shot for those 40 seconds and look forward to your 10-second break. If you’re breathing hard, then take some extra time to recover.
Tone & Build
One of the main fitness goals you can achieve with an elliptical machine is toning and building muscles. Using the resistance and incline settings while using the handlebars, you can incorporate compound movements to build muscle everywhere.
Choose between a total body workout that focuses on either the upper or lower body.
For your lower body muscle toning, such as your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, set the elliptical to a high incline and gradually add resistance.
Performing a Tone & Build Workout
As suggested before, begin with a 5-minute warm-up with no resistance and slowly increase the incline while increasing resistance. Use the stationary handlebars so that you’re targeting the lower body.
Remember, you shouldn’t be on a level where you can’t move your feet at all, nor at a level where you’re moving your feet easily. There needs to be some level of challenge without jeopardizing your form.
For your upper body muscle toning, you want to set your elliptical machine with an incline and resistance combo, making sure to lay more focus on resistance. The key thing for the upper body is, of course, using the moving handlebars and setting the resistance to the highest level you can tolerate.
Focus on pushing and pulling the handlebars more than using the momentum that your legs provide. It’ll isolate the muscles in your arms and upper back, targeting and toning them to give them the perfect workout they need.
Cardio & Endurance
You can use your elliptical machine to strengthen your heart and pump oxygenated blood around your body. Ellipticals can provide the same cardio benefits as a treadmill but without posing risk to your knee joints.
For those who want to improve their heart health and not risk their joints, especially important to those who are more elderly, the elliptical machine can be the ideal workout for you.
A 30-minute endurance workout will help you attain the maximum benefits for your heart and improve your stamina. This workout consists of 3 sets of sprints, focusing more on your legs than your arms.
Performing an Endurance Workout
Begin with the usual 5-minute warm-up with little resistance and no incline. Then, start increasing your resistance gradually but maintain a light level so that you can move at a running pace. You should use the moving handlebars to move your arms in a motion as if you’re running.
Your legs and arms moving together can help sustain a strong balance and tone your upper body, all while focusing on speed. If you wish to challenge yourself and improve stamina and cardiovascular health, you can start adding some incline.
Summary of Elliptical Training
The below 5 pointers sum up the above elliptical machine workouts to keep your exercise routine fresh and challenging:
- Work in intervals of high intensity of about 10-30 minutes. Push yourself to work hard for 40-60 seconds, and then break for 10 seconds. Keep it going till you complete your 10-30 minutes.
- Increase and vary your incline so that you work out your lower body muscles.
- Adding resistance will push you to put in more effort, thus building and toning muscles in your upper and lower body.
- Improve your endurance by performing sets of sprints. Change directions when performing sprints by pedaling forwards or backward.
- Use the handles to benefit from an overall body workout.
Elliptical trainers have many potential benefits for your fitness and can easily be incorporated into your workout routine. Elliptical machines such as the Proform Elliptical Bike and the NordicTrack c 7.5 Elliptical can help you achieve your fitness goals.
The number of calories you burn and the return you gain on your muscles is dependent on the resistance levels you train with and the incline levels you set. This is why it’s essential to incorporate some resistance to not miss out on the machine’s potential.
Maximize the benefits elliptical trainers offer by combining resistance, incline, and speed workouts, in intervals of time. Remember that if you’re a newbie, start slow and don’t get pressured into doing too much. Set realistic goals so that you can sustain a healthy practice well into the future.