elliptical win HIITThe elliptical machine is a cardio staple and a mainstay of many workout routines, including HIIT workouts – and for good reason. This versatile machine offers a great full body workout without jarring the joints. But if you have been slugging it out at the gym for more than a couple of weeks there is a good chance you are not getting the full benefits of your sweat sessions. If you have been performing the same routine for several sessions it’s time to jump start your body by changing up your workout. If you perform the same routine day in day out your body will become accustomed to this stress and you will likely find yourself at a plateau. Try adding one or all of these elliptical trainer workouts to freshen up your routine and make strides towards your goals.  (If you’re looking for a machine for home use, you can find our elliptical reviews here.)

All of these workouts will use rate of preceded exertion (RPE), based on a scale from 1-10. 1 being very easy, an effort you could sustain indefinitely, 10 being an all-out effort that you can only sustain for a very short period of time.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workout

If you don’t already included HIIT workouts in your routine get ready for some amazing results. These challenging sessions scorch fat, build muscle and cardiovascular fitness, and burn more calories than steady state cardio sessions. As an added bonus they accomplish all this in a fraction of the time.

Important:  If you choose to include HIIT sessions in your routine make sure you give your body adequate time to repair before going into another HIIT workout. Unless you are overly sore or fatigued then one day of rest, aerobic cardio, or cross training should give your body the time it needs to repair between HIIT sessions.  And, of course, be sure to talk to your physician before starting any new exercise regimen.  The goal is to improve not hurt ourselves!

Warm up:

  • 5-10 minutes (RPE 2-3)

Main set:

  • 4X 30 second intervals (RPE 9-10) with 2 minutes recovery (RPE 2-3) between intervals

Cool down:

  • 5-10minutes (RPE 2-3)

As your fitness improves you can add more intervals, reduce the length of your recovery periods, or change the lengths of both.

Elliptical Hill Workout

Maybe there are no hills where you live, or the weather has driven you indoors.  Whatever the story, there is no reason to miss out on the strength benefits this type of session has to offer. Doing this workout on the elliptical has the added benefit of targeting your arms while you are climbing to the summit, just remember to push and pull those handles with the same effort you are putting into your legs.

Warm up:

  • 5-10 minutes (RPE 2-3)

Main set:

  • 1 minute at an incline that puts you at a RPE 7
  • 1 minute at a flat incline (RPE 2-3)
  • 1 minute at an incline that puts you at an RPE 8
  • 1 minute at a flat incline (RPE 2-3)
  • 1 minute at an incline that puts you at a RPE 9
  • 1 minute at a flat incline (RPE 2-3)
  • 1 minute at an incline that puts you at a RPE 10
  • 1 minute at a flat incline (RPE 2-3)
  • 1 minute at an incline that puts you at a RPE 9
  • 1 minute at a flat incline (RPE 2-3)
  • 1 minute at an incline that puts you at an RPE 8
  • 1 minute at a flat incline (RPE 2-3)
  • 1 minute at an incline that puts you at a RPE 7

Cool down:

  • 5-10 minutes (RPE 2-3)

Fat Burning Elliptical Workout

While HIIT and hill workouts build muscle that turn you into a more efficient fat burning machine, doing a fat burning-focused session trains your metabolic pathways to better utilize fat for fuel during exercise. These sessions need to be done in a fasted state, which means first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The only thing you should take in before or during this session is water. You need to spend at least 60 minutes in a fat burning workout to stimulate the physiological changes that will burn more fat for fuel. This session will feel very easy early in the session. As you use up the glycogen stores in your muscles and begin to rely more on fat for fuel these sessions will begin to feel more challenging, you may even feel a little nauseated.  This is normal. Fat burning workouts should only be done once a week.

Warm up:

  • 5-10 minutes (RPE 2-3)

Main set:

  • 40-70minutes at an easy effort (RPE 3-4)

Cool down:

  • 5-10minutes (RPE 2-3)

Wrap Up

The elliptical is a great machine for tackling your fitness goals.  That said, if you’re trying to turn into the Hulk, you’re going to have to lift some weights of course.  But most people are really just trying to lose some weight, tone their bodies, or just gain some energy.  Remember, for maximum benefits it’s important to continually mix up your exercise regimen. The elliptical can get you there with one of the above, or try adding them all to your workout routine to keep your body guessing and to avoid the plateau.

 

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